About us at Synthetic Molecular Chemistry
SMC represents cultures and nations from all over the world. We utilize our sigificant diversity in scientific know-how to achieve greater results as a team. A nice side product of this diversity is that we have ever-tastier fika! Interested in joining SMC?
Research leaders within Synthetic Molecular Chemistry
Researcher, Group Leader
Stefano Crespi is an independent group leader in the SMC program. He obtained his PhD in 2017 in Pavia (Italy). He worked as a postdoctoral researcher in the groups of Maurizio Fagnoni (Pavia, IT), Burkhard König (Regensburg, DE) and Ben Feringa (Groningen, NL), the latter as an MSCA-IF fellow. His research interests focus on the elucidation of (photo)chemical reaction mechanisms via spectroscopic and computational means and on the development of novel photochemically-driven motors and switches. Outside the university, he is a sci-fi enthusiast, an aspiring boulderer and an unrepentant guitar player.
Senior Lecturer/Associate Professor, Group Leader
Andreas Orthaber was born in 1979. He received his undergraduate education from Karl-Franzens Universität Graz (Austria) and obtained a Ph.D. under the supervision of Prof. R. Pietschnig (Dept. Inorg. Chem. KFU Graz). After postdoctoral studies with Prof. O. Kunert (Dept. Pharm. Chem., KFU Graz) and Prof. S. Ott (Uppsala University, Sweden) he started his independent work, in 2014. Since 2019, he is a Senior Lecturer in synthetic molecular chemistry at Uppsala University.
Senior Lecturer/Associate Professor, Group Leader
Henrik Ottosson received his PhD in 1996 (University of Gothenburg, Sweden) on quantum chemical methods for NMR chemical shift calculations applied to silylium cations in condensed phases. As a postdoctoral fellow in the group of Prof. Josef Michl (University of Colorado at Boulder, USA) he explored σ-conjugated oligosilanes, both spectroscopically and computationally. He started his independent group at Uppsala University in autumn 2000 on the chemistry of unsaturated organosilicon compounds, and became an Associate Professor in Physical Organic Chemistry in 2003. Since then, his research has shifted focus from main group chemistry to organic photochemistry, where he is an international leader within excited state (anti)aromaticity research, addressing both fundamental and applied aspects. Besides chemistry, he has a deep interest in urban science and coordinates the Urban Sustainability initiative, one of five cross-disciplinary university-wide research initiatives within Uppsala University Sustainability Initiatives.
Professor, Group Leader
Sascha Ott (born in Germany, 1973) studied chemistry as an undergraduate in Germany and Australia, and obtained his PhD in Chemistry at University College London, U.K., in 2002. Following postdoctoral work with Profs. Björn Åkermark and Licheng Sun at Stockholm University, Sweden, he moved to Uppsala University in 2004, and became Professor in Synthetic Molecular Chemistry at the Department of Chemistry – Ångström Laboratory in 2017. He is the recipient of a Consolidator Grant from the European Research Council (2015), the Göran Gustafsson Prize for younger researchers (2010), and the Lilly och Sven Thuréus Prize from the Royal Society of Sciences Uppsala (2017). Research in the group is centered on different topics at the interface of organic chemistry and molecular inorganic chemistry. These include works on low-coordinate and low-valent phosphorus in an organic chemistry context, and the development of molecular redox catalysts of energy relevance, more recently in the confinements of MOFs.
Senior Lecturer/Associate Professor, Group Leader
Anders Thapper did his PhD in Inorganic Chemistry at Lund University, Sweden in 2001. After a first postdoctoral stay at Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal with Professor José Moura he returned to Sweden during 2005 for a second postdoctoral stay at Uppsala University. In Uppsala he started out by studying Photosystem II together with Professor Stenbjörn Styring but over time got more involved in artificial photosynthesis and manganese and cobalt based catalyst for water oxidation. Since May 2007 he is employed as a researcher at the Department Chemistry - Ångström Laboratory in the Molecular Biomimetics program. His current scientific activity lies in the field of bioinorganic and biomimetic chemistry, studying metal complexes that are structural and/or functional models of metal containing enzymes. The research within artificial photosynthesis is focused on using transition metal complexes as catalysts for the oxidation of water to oxygen. The overall goal is to link these catalysts to photosensitizers to perform water oxidation driven by energy from the sun.
Scientists within Synthetic Molecular Chemistry
Asif Ansari is from India. In 2014, he completed his Master's degree in physical chemistry from Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh, India. Afterwards, he began his PhD studies under the supervision of Prof. G. K. Lahiri at the Department of Chemistry, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Bombay, India. The main focus of his research was on the synthesis and characterization of redox-active multinuclear metal complexes and the exploration of intramolecular electronic couplings in mixed valence states. In November 2020 he joined Prof. H. W. Roesky as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Göttingen. There he was working on small molecular activation with low valent group 14 compounds. In June 2022 he continued his postdoctoral research with Dr. Andreas Orthaber at the University of Uppsala. His research focuses on radical chemistry of highly conjugated phosphaalkene compounds. He enjoys playing chess and cricket.
Rohan Bhimpuria is a Postdoctoral fellow in Prof. Eszter Borbas' group. He has done his masters and Ph.D. at the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER), S.A.S. Nagar, India. He has also worked with drug discovery CROs, Piramal discovery solutions ltd. and Albony Molecular Research Ltd. (AMRI) as a Senior Research scientist. His research interest focuses on exploring novel oxidation states of lanthanides by designing various lanthanide complexes.
Toma Bhowmick joined the Orthaber Group in November 2022 as a PhD student. She pursued her undergraduate studies as a chemistry major and her Master's in Physical Chemistry at the University of Dhaka, Bangladesh. In 2021, she completed her Master's in Inorganic Chemistry at Purdue University with a focus on materials science. Currently, she is working on the synthesis and the study of the optoelectronic properties of heteroquinoid molecules. When she is not working, she likes to cook, read fiction, and take a walk in the park.
Francesca Greenwell was born in 1997, in the United Kingdom. She obtained both her master’s degree (Oct 2018–2019) and PhD (Oct 2019–2023) under the supervision of Prof. Alex Cowan at the University of Liverpool. While her masters project focused on tungsten trioxide photoelectrodes for water oxidation, she moved to electrochemical CO2 reduction with molecular catalysts during her PhD. Here her work focused on modification of catalyst behavior through synthesis and electrolysis techniques as well as the integration of CO2 capture and utilization. In October 2023 Francesca moved to Uppsala, to join Prof. Sascha Ott as a post-doc researcher investigating MOFs for CO2 reduction on gas diffusion electrodes.
Wanja Gschwind joined the Ott lab in 2020 to pursue his PhD, investigating the potential of redox active MOFs as photoelectrochemical catalysts for hydrogen evolution and other purposes. Previous to that he conducted his master’s thesis at the University of Basel, Switzerland, in the field of antibiotics research. There he explored the metal dependent substrate promiscuity of the potential antibiotic target DapE. Besides that, Wanja is a bachata and salsa dance teacher. He also enjoys surfing, snowboarding, and hiking.
Guest PhD Student
Filippo Ingargiola obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry and Materials Chemistry at the University of Bologna in 2018, with a project about the synthesis and characterization of antimicrobial photodynamic therapy agents using proteins as carriers for novel photosensitizers. In 2021 he received his Master’s degree in Photochemistry and Molecular Materials, with a dissertation on the photochemical characterization of chemosensors for the detections of emerging pollutants. In the same year he was granted a PhD fellowship in “Nanoscience for medicine and environment”, under the supervision of Prof. Luca Prodi, for a project on water quality monitoring using luminescent and nanostructured chemosensors. In 2023 he came to Uppsala University, as a guest PhD student, to study the properties of luminescent lanthanides metal complexes for anion sensing in water, under the supervision of Prof. Eszter Borbas.
Amol Kumar is currently a PhD candidate in Prof. Sascha Ott's lab. His doctoral research focuses on developing redox-active MOF thin films and exploring new paths in organic catalysis. Prior to joining the Ott lab, Amol obtained his bachelor's and master's degree in chemistry from IISER Kolkata, India, where he did his master's project under the supervision of Dr. Biplab Maji on “Manganese catalyzed selective Alkylation exploring the transfer hydrogenation”.
Jingguo Li obtained his BSc degree in Applied Chemistry from Henan University, and his MSc degree in Polymer Chemistry and Physics from the University of Science and Technology of China under the supervision of Prof. Gang Zou and Prof. Qijin Zhang. Afterwards, he worked with Prof. Jianping Xie and Prof. Neal Tai-Shung Chung as a Research Engineer in the National University of Singapore developing polymeric thin films for water purification applications, the project is financed by the Environment & Water Industry Programme Office (EWI) of the PUB. Then, he moved on to the University of Zurich for the PhD study under the supervision of Prof. Greta R. Patzke, focusing on understanding pristine hematite photoanodes and their modification with cocatalysts for water oxidation. After a short postdoc research stay in the same group, he joined the Ott lab in 2021 as a postdoc researcher, investigating redox-conductive MOFs and their applications.
Roman Yu. Peshkov joined Prof. Sascha Ott's group as a postdoc in 2022. Roman received his M.S. at Novosibirsk State University, Russia, and defended his Ph.D. thesis at Novosibirsk Institute of Organic Chemistry. His thesis and early research were dedicated to nucleophilic aromatic substitution and related problems, particularly the reactivity of anionic reduced forms (radical anions and dianions) of aromatic nitriles. After that, he spent two years on computational studies of spiroconjugated molecules. As a member of SMC, he joined a project on the reactivity of kinetically non-stabilized phosphaalkenes. Off the lab, he enjoys programming, playing the guitar, cooking, video and board games, Lego and Arduino.
Preethanuj Preethalayam is a native of Kerala, India. In 2006, he graduated from Government College Kasaragod, Kannur University, majoring in chemistry, and from the same university received his master’s degree in 2008. He obtained his PhD in synthetic organic chemistry at the University of Kerala under the supervision of Dr. K. V. Radhakrishnan (National Institute for Interdisciplinary Science and Technology, Thiruvanathapuram), in the area of transitional metal transformation of pentafulvene and diazanorbornenes. He worked as an assistant professor on contract at Payyanur College, Kannur University, Kerala. Soon after, he joined the group of Dr. Henrik Ottosson and is working in the area of singlet fission chromophores, triplet sensitizers and excited state aromaticity and antiaromaticity. He is also a fellow of the Indian Chemical Society (ICS), as well as a member of professional bodies like the American Chemical Society (ACS) and the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC). His areas of interests are synthetic organic chemistry, organometallic chemistry, catalysis, pentafulvenes, zirconium and titanium chemistry, singlet fission chromophores, and excited state aromaticity and antiaromaticity. Outside the university, he likes to spend time playing cricket, drawing and mobile photography.
Nathalie Proos Vedin
Originally from the south of Sweden, Nathalie Proos Vedin moved to Uppsala in 2012 for her undergraduate studies. After having earned her MSc degree in theoretical and computational chemistry, she joined the Ottosson group for her PhD studies. Her research focuses on the excited state (anti)aromaticity concept and photoreactivity. In her spare time, Nathalie enjoys dancing and reading fantasy novels. Additionally, colourful lights and ice cream are two things that make her unreasonably happy.
Matías Quindt is from Paraná, Argentina. In 2017, he obtained his M.Sc. in Chemistry from the National University of the Litoral, Santa Fe, Argentina. In 2022, he earned his Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry with funding from a doctoral scholarship from the Argentinean National Research Council (CONICET) under the supervision of Professor Dr. Sergio M. Bonesi at the University of Buenos Aires. His primary research focus was on the study of photochemical transformations in steroidal compounds in both homogeneous and heterogeneous media, with a special emphasis on the use of confined environments. In June 2023, he joined the Crespi lab as a postdoc with a grant from the Carl Trygger Foundation. His current research work centers on the study of photochemically triggered motion of molecular switches and motors inside bio-inspired cavities. Outside the lab, he enjoys exploring various forms of artistic expression, particularly poetry.
Jorn Steen was born in 1993 in the small village of Marrum, Friesland, The Netherlands. He obtained his MSc Chemistry degree at the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen. His research project, under the guidance of Prof. Wesley R. Browne, focused on the synthesis of electrochemically polymerisable photo- and redox-active compounds, as well as the deposition of these compounds onto electrodes as functional thin films and their characterisation by various spectroscopic and electrochemical techniques. Jorn then continued enjoying research in the Browne group and obtained his PhD in 2022 on redox and pH-induced molecular switching in solution and on surfaces – including a new and exciting redox-switchable spiropyran – as well as ventures into the influence of electrochemical measurements on the pH near electrode surfaces, and, for something completely different, manganese-catalysed oxidation catalysis. Currently, Jorn is a Wenner–Gren postdoctoral research fellow at Uppsala Universitet in the group of Dr. Stefano Crespi, where he is able to satisfy his curiosity towards excited and redox state reactivity of organic compounds using a mix of experimental and computational methods.
Nina F. Suremann
Nina F. Suremann was born 1996 in Switzerland. She received her bachelor's and master's degree in chemistry from the University of Zurich in 2018 and 2020, respectively. In 2019, she completed her master's project in the group of Prof. Roger Alberto at the University of Zurich. Her work focused on the development of a mixed-aromatic ring sandwich complex library, starting from a fulvene-benzene-type Rhenium complex and a variety of nucleophiles. In June 2020 she moved to Uppsala, Sweden, where she joined the group of Prof. Sascha Ott as a PhD student. Her current research concerns the investigation of photoelectrocatalytic applications of porphyrin-based MOFs on semiconductors for the reduction of carbon dioxide.
Erik Svensson Grape
Erik Svensson Grape acquired his Ph.D. degree in inorganic chemistry in 2022, after which he managed to secure funding for his postdoctoral project through the Swedish research council (VR). The project will be split between Uppsala University (Prof. Sascha Ott) and the University of Oregon, USA, with the group of Prof. Carl Brozek.
Emil Säbb is a Swedish Ph.D. student, originally hailing from the center of Dalarna, working under the joint supervision of Henrik Ottosson and Victor Gray since August 2023. He graduated with a master's degree in Physical Chemistry from Uppsala University in spring 2023. His research focuses on (anti)aromaticity and its applications in the designing of singlet fission chromophores for increased solar energy harvesting. Outside of the lab, he is a very enthusiastic cyclist and has participated in several long-distance races across Sweden, including Vätternrundan.
Monika Tomar is from Delhi, INDIA. She is pharmacist before chemist as she has earned a bachelor's degree in Pharmacy from DIPSAR and a master's degree in Process Chemistry from NIPER, Mohali, INDIA in 2018. She was involved in Radical Chemistry for the synthesis of quinazoline and azafluorenone. Furthermore, she worked for a year in "Integral Biosciences Pvt. Ltd" for the synthesis of anticancer drugs. She joined the Borbas group as a PhD student in September 2020. Currently, she is working on "Photocatalytic Reactions catalyzed by Lanthanide complexes".
She enjoys spending her spare time making art and crafts work, always ready to play volleyball and if you love F.R.I.E.N.D.S, she already likes you.
Thi Thuan Tran
Thi Thuan Tran is from Phu Yen, Vietnam. She earned her bachelor's degree from Ho Chi Minh City University of Education. After that, she continued with her master's education at Ecole Polytechnique, France with the focus on radical reaction under the supervision of Prof. Samir Zard and titanium-mediated cascade for the synthesis of substituted pyrrolidines from suitable thioamides with Dr. Yvan Six. She joined the Ott group as a PhD student in October 2020 and works in the field of new silicon-based reductive cross-coupling reaction of carbonyls. Outside the university, she enjoys cooking, reading books, and exploring the nature.
Sindhujaa Vajravel was born in India and graduated in Biotechnology. She moved to Hungary to obtain her Ph.D. at the University of Szeged (2018). In 2019, she joined the PhotoMicrobes research group at the University of Turku, Finland, as a postdoctoral researcher. In early 2022, she joined Henrik Ottosson's group in collaboration with the MicrobialChemistry groups of Pia Lindberg, Karin Stensjö, and Peter Lindblad. Her research focuses on the combined photobiological-photochemical generation of sustainable high-density fuels from CO2. She is the recipient of the Straub Young Scientist award for her Ph.D. research (2018) and the Elias-Tilandz prize for the best publication in BioCity Turku (2020). She also enjoys dancing, swimming, and hiking.
Jacob Jan van der Wal
Jacob van der Wal is a PhD student in Dr. Stefano Crespi’s group. He gained his MSc degree at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. During his studies, he worked as an active teaching assistant at the University of Groningen. Between his MSc and PhD studies, he worked full-time as a teaching and research assistant at the Chemistry department of the University of Groningen.