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Department of Chemistry Felix Zelder

Functional Bioinorganic Chemistry



My laboratory focuses on the design, synthesis and application of new metal-complexes for solving important problems in chemistry, medicine and environmental sciences. Combining inorganic and organic chemistry, we strive for offering new concepts and tools in biomimetic chemistry and analytical sciences.

                                                The three topics of the group represent:

Biomimetic Chemistry
Analytical Chemistry
Medicinal Inorganic Chemistry

Biomimetic Chemistry

Understanding enzymatic reactivity on the molecular level is crucial for the future development of efficient green catalysts for difficult organic reactions such as C-H bond activation or CO2 reduction. Inspired by nature, my laboratory mimics structure and function of important cofactors such as vitamin B12 or F430. In this context, we were the first group that described a semi-synthetic approach toward B12-derivatives with other metals than cobalt.1 A nibalamin derivative has been synthesized that mimics structure and function of F430.2

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Analytical Chemistry

Analytical chemistry contributes significantly to the quality and improvement of modern life. My group develops innovative metal-complexes for detecting biologically important analytes in competitive media.3, 4 Our award-winning research has attracted international attention and a test kit for toxic cyanide detection has been commercialised.5 In 2015, the Zelder group introduced the “disassembly-based” approach6 for analyte detection.4 This concept was successfully applied for visualizing endogenous pyrophosphate, ATP and homocysteine in biological settings.4, 7

alanytical chemistry


Medicinal Inorganic Chemistry

Cancer and bacterial infections represent a big threat to modern society. Considering the significant rise of resistance to common antibiotic treatments, drugs with a new mode-of-action are urgently required. My laboratory develops antivitamin derivatives and bioconjugates as therapeutic agents.3


Antimetabolite activity and the inhibition of B12-dependent enzymes has been demonstrated.8-10 This research project with a medicinal orientation combines fundamental and applied research in the fields of organometallic chemistry and enzymology.