Roelfes Group

Welcome to the website of the Roelfes group! We are a highly interdisciplinary research group that is active in the field of biomolecular chemistry, which is at the interface between organic, bio-inorganic and biochemistry. There are 2 main research themes in the group: bio-inspired catalysis and chemical biology.

The bio-inspired catalysis group we use nature as a source of inspiration to develop new concepts in catalyis, with a particular focus on sustainable catalysis in water. Important research topics are DNA-based asymmetric catalysis, artificial metalloenzymes and catalysis in water.

In our chemical biology research we aim to develop novel tools for the study and manipulation of biological systems. The main research topics here are artificial allosteric biosystems and novel probes for the study of reactive oxygen species in living cells (in collaboration with the group of M.G. Rots at the university medical center)

Please visit the Research section for more details on currently ongoing projects.


March 2020
Gerard Roelfes was awarded an ERC advanced grant by the European Research Council.

March 2019
Ivana Drienovská wins the Dutch Catalysis Society thesis award for her PhD work carried out in our group. Congratulations Ivana!

November 2018
Congratulations to Liliana for successfully defending her PhD thesis!

November 2018
Dowine successfully defended her thesis on bio-orthogonal catalysis. Congratulations Dr. Dowine!

August 2018
Dowine wins the Chem Soc Rev poster prize at the EuCheMS meeting in Liverpool!

July 2018
Our recent paper on biological activity of N4Py complexes was one of the top 10 most downloaded papers in Inorganic Chemistry this month

March 2018
Dowine is runner-up in the "three-minutes thesis competion"! Well done and congratulations!

November 2017
Manuela successfully defended her PhD thesis. Congratulations!

September 2017
Clemens was awarded a Veni fellowship by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO)

June 2017
Congratulations to Ivana on the successful defense of her PhD thesis!

May 2017
Arjan successfully defended his PhD thesis. Congratulations Dr. Geersing!

February 2017
Clemens has been awarded a Marie Curie fellowship!

September 2016
Our paper on a new DNA-based catalyst for carbene transfer reactions is accepted by Angewandte Chemie. Congratulations Ana, Jens & Nathalie!

January 2016
Dowine has been selected by the Royal Dutch Academy of Science as one of the "Faces of Science". She will blog on her life and experience as PhD student in our group. See

May 2015
Gerard Roelfes is promoted to Full Professor

April 2015
Lara Villarino has been awarded a prize from the region of Galicia (Premios Provinciais a Investigacion 2014) for her thesis. Congratulations Lara!

February 2015
Jens successfully defended his thesis and was awarded his PhD

December 2014
Gerard Roelfes has been nominated for chemistry teacher of the year

November 2014
Our latest paper on artificial metalloenzymes is highlighted in "Chemistry World": and "Nature Chemistry":

20 June 2014
Jeffrey Bos succssfully defends his thesis and is now Dr. Bos

April 2014
Qian Li and Monique van der Wijst are featured in the "spotlight on our authors" section of ACS Chemical Biology. See:

January 2014
Ana Rioz is awarded the "Premios Extraordinarios de Doctorado 2011/2012" which is given for PhD theses in science for the academic year 2011-2012 at the University of Oviedo (Spain). Congratulations Ana!

27 January 2014
Gerard Roelfes is awarded a prestigious "vici" grant by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). See for more information:

6 December 2013
Lorina successfully defends her thesis. Congratulations Dr. Gjonaj!

June 2013
Manuela Bersellini wins the poster prize at the Aachen-Groningen Organic Chemistry Symposium (AGOCS 2013).

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