Sylvestre Bonnet studies the (photo)chemistry of metal-based molecules in biological and biomimetic environment. By combining bioinorganic chemistry and photochemistry his group makes new light-activatable prodrugs for use as targeted anticancer agents with minimal side effects. Another part of the group studies how to assemble metal-based photosensitizers and catalysts to trap the sun energy into a solar fuel.
Sylvestre Bonnet is Full Professor in Bioinorganic Chemistry at Leiden University. He obtained his PhD in 2005 at the University of Strasbourg, France, in the group of Nobel Laureate Jean-Pierre Sauvage. He then moved to The Netherlands as a postdoc, where he successively worked in the groups of Gerard van Koten (Utrecht), Jan Reedijk (Leiden), and Antoinette Killian and Bert Klein Gebbink (Utrecht). Between 2009 and 2014 he completed a Tenure Track position in Inorganic Chemistry at Leiden University, where he was tenured in 2015 and became full professor in 2020. He obtained several prestigious grants, including a Starting Grant from the European Research Council (2013), and three young investigator grants (VENI 2008, VIDI 2012, VICI 2019) from the Dutch Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). Since 2015 he is Fellow of the Young Academy of Europe, and in 2017 he became YAE Board Member. His expertise lies at the crossing point between bioinorganic chemistry, photochemistry, and lipid membranes. His current research interests are anticancer photoactivated chemotherapy, supramolecular photocatalysis, and upconversion.
Date of birth: 23 May 1976
Current and previous research positions
2020 - now Full Professor in Bioinorganic chemistry, Leiden Institute of Chemistry, Leiden University, The Netherlands
2015 – 2020 Associate Professor in Inorganic Chemistry, Leiden Institute of Chemistry, Leiden University, the Netherlands
2009 – 2014 Tenure Track Assistant Professor, Leiden Institute of Chemistry, Leiden University, The Netherlands
2008 – 2009 Postdoctoral Researcher, Utrecht University, The Netherlands (Prof. B. Klein Gebbink and Prof. A. Killian)
2007 – 2008 Postdoctoral Researcher, Leiden University, The Netherlands (Prof. J. Reedijk)
2005 – 2007 Postdoctoral Researcher, Utrecht University, The Netherlands (Prof. G. van Koten)
2005 PhD, Faculty of Chemistry, University of Strasbourg, France, 27 September 2005
Thesis title: “Ru(terpy)(phen)(L)2+ complexes as a new tool towards light-controlled molecular machines”
Advisor: Prof. Dr. J.-P. Sauvage
2002 MSc in Chemistry, Faculty of Chemistry, University of Strasbourg, France
1999 Aggregation de sciences physiques, option chemistry
Grants, awards, recognitions
2019 NWO-CW Vidi Grant (k€ 1,500)
2015 Member of the Young Academy of Europe (board member since 2017)
2013 ERC Starting Grant (k€ 1,418)
2012 NWO-CW Vidi Grant (k€ 800)
Contribution to teaching and supervision
Teacher for two courses of the MSc Chemistry and Life Science and Technology programmes at Leiden University: Photochemistry and Metals and Life.
Currently supervises ~8-12 PhD students and 1-3 postdoctoral fellows.
Other current responsibilities
2016 - now Chairman of the programme committee of the Chemistry MSc programme at Leiden University (member of the committee since 2013)
2015 - now Elected member of the Faculty Council of the Faculty of Sciences of Leiden University
2015 - now Teaching Director of the HRSMC Excellence Master's programme “Sustainability: the molecular approach”
2019 - now Lorentz Center Chemistry board member
2019 - now Member of the NWO working group committee “Chemical conversion”
Publication record including five recent representative publications
Ca. 100 papers, 5 book chapters, 5 patents, >2800 citations.
Google Scholar profile: https://scholar.google.nl/citations?user=KsMjKMQAAAAJ&hl=en&oi=ao
- X.-Q. Zhou, M. Xiao, V. Ramu, J. Hilgendorf, X. Li, P. Papadopoulou, M. A. Siegler, A. Kros, W. Sun, S. Bonnet. The self-assembly of a cyclometalated palladium photosensitizer into proteins-stabilized nanorods triggered drug uptake in vitro and in vivo. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2020, DOI: 10.1021/jacs.0c01369.
- V. H. S. van Rixel, V. Ramu, A. B. Auyeung, N. Beztsinna, D. Y. Leger, S. T. Hilt, S. E. Le Dévédec, T. Yildiz, T. Betancourt, M. B. Gildner, T. W. Hudnall, V. Sol, B. Liagre, A. Kornienko, S. Bonnet. Photo-uncaging of a microtubule-targeted rigidin analogue in hypoxic cancer cells and in a xenograft mouse model. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2019, 141, 18444-18454
- V. H. S. van Rixel, A. Busemann, M. F. Wissingh, S. L. Hopkins, B. Siewert, C. van de Griend, M. A. Siegler, T. Marzo, F. Papi, M. Ferraroni, P. Gratteri, C. Bazzicalupi, L. Messori, S. Bonnet. Induction of a Four‐Way Junction Structure in the DNA Palindromic Hexanucleotide 5′‐d(CGTACG)‐3′ by a Mononuclear Platinum Complex. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2019, 131, 9478-9482
- L. N. Lameijer, C. van de Griend, S. L. Hopkins, A.-G. Volbeda, S. H. C. Askes, M. A. Siegler, S. Bonnet. Photochemical Resolution of a Thermally Inert Cyclometalated Ru(phbpy)(N−N)(Sulfoxide)+ Complex. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2019, 141, 352−362
- Why developing PhotoActivated Chemotherapy? S. Bonnet, Dalton Trans. 2018, 47, 10330-10343
- J.-A. Cuello-Garibo, M. S. Meijer, S. Bonnet. To cage or to be caged? The Cytotoxic Species in Ruthenium-Based PhotoActivated ChemoTherapy is Not Always the Metal. Chem. Commun, 2017, 53, 6768-6771
- Limburg B., Wermink S., Nielsen S. van, Kortlever R., Koper M.T.M., Bouwman E., Bonnet S.A., Kinetics of photocatalytic water oxidation at liposomes: membrane anchoring stabilizes the photosensitizer. ACS Catalysis 2016, 6, 5968-5977
- L. N. Lameijer, D. Ernst, S. L. Hopkins, M. S. Meijer, S. H. C. Askes, S. E. Le Dévédec, S. Bonnet. Efficient red light activated NAMPT inhibition in hypoxic cancer cells using water-soluble ruthenium complexes. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2017, 56,11549–11553
Presentations including five presentations at international conferences
>46 invited or keynote lectures at universities, institutes, and international conferences, and 22 oral communications at international conferences since 2010
2020 15th European Conference on Biological Inorganic Chemistry (EuroBIC15), Haskolabio at Hagatorg in Reykjavik, Iceland (plenary, online).
2019 Cyclometallated anticancer compounds in phototherapy: different colors, different isomers. 19th International Conference on Bioinorganic Chemistry (ICBIC19), Zurich, Switzerland (keynote).
2018 Tetrapyridyl metal complexes with new modes of action. 14th European BioInorganic Chemistry Conference, Birmingham, UK (keynote).
2017 Triplet-triplet annihilation upconversion in air. SHIFT2017 “Spectral Shaping for biomedical and energy applications” conference, Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain (keynote).
2016 Photocatalytic oxidation of water at the surface of liposomes. PERSPECT-H2O COST final scientific meeting, Milazzo, Italy (keynote).
No relevant ancillary activities