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Personal profile


"Creating molecular assemblies with life-like properties is not only of crucial importance to better understand the living cell, but also leads to the design of the next generation adaptive materials."

Research profile

Jan van Hest works at the cutting edge of (polymer) chemistry and biomedicine. He focuses on the design and synthesis of bio-inspired peptide-based materials and the development of conjugation methods for the preparation of biohybrid systems. The objective of his research is to construct smart compartments with life-like features, which develops along two main lines of research: nanomedicine and artificial cells and organelles.

The nanomedicine research line in particular concerns medicine transport systems and synthetic vaccines. Using a combination of techniques from polymer science to protein engineering, well-defined carriers and scaffolds are developed for application in e.g. cancer treatment, immunology and ophthalmology.

Van Hest is also active in the field of artificial and hybrid cells where he designs and constructs adaptive nano- and microcompartments that simulate living cells. His artificial nanoreactors can be incorporated as artificial organelles in living cells to complement or affect cellular processes.

Academic background

Jan van Hest obtained his PhD in macro-organic chemistry with professor Bert Meijer from Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) in 1996. He then worked as a postdoc researcher on protein engineering with professor David A. Tirrell at the University of Massachusetts. In 1997 van Hest started working at DSM (Geleen), first as a researcher and later as group head in the development of new material concepts. In 2000 Van Hest was appointed as full professor at Radboud University Nijmegen. As of September 2016 he holds the chair of Bio-organic Chemistry at TU/e. Over 30 PhD candidates have gained their doctorates under his supervision. He has published over 300 scientific articles (H-index 57) and is (co-)inventor of 17 patents and patent applications. Jan van Hest is also the joint founder of the start-ups Encapson, FutureChemistry, Noviosense and Noviotech.

Affiliated with

  • Gravitation program Functional Molecular Systems
  • ICMS
  • PTN (postgraduate education polymer technology the Netherlands)

Partners in (semi-)industry

  • Zoetis
  • GSK

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output 1992 2019

97 Citations (Scopus)

A virus-based biocatalyst

Carette, N., Engelkamp, H., Akpa, E., Pierre, S. J., Cameron, N. R., Christianen, P. C. M., Maan, J. C., Thies, J. C., Weberskirch, R., Rowan, A. E., Nolte, R. J. M., Michon, T. & van Hest, J. C. M., Apr 2007, In : Nature Nanotechnology. 2, 4, p. 226-229 4 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

296 Citations (Scopus)

Autonomous movement of platinum-loaded stomatocytes

Wilson, D. A., Nolte, R. J. M. & van Hest, J. C. M., Apr 2012, In : Nature Chemistry. 4, 4, p. 268-274 7 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

227 Citations (Scopus)

Cascade reactions in multicompartmentalized polymersomes

Peters, R. J. R. W., Marguet, M., Marais, S., Fraaije, M. W., van Hest, J. C. M. & Lecommandoux, S., 3 Jan 2014, In : Angewandte Chemie - International Edition. 53, 1, p. 146-150 5 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Adaptive polymeric assemblies for applications in biomimicry and nanomedicine

Altay, Y., Che, H., Cao, S., Abdelmohsen, L. & van Hest, J., 23 Oct 2019, In : Biomacromolecules. 20, 11, p. 4053-4064 12 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Open Access
Medical nanotechnology
Nanostructured materials
Self assembly
Intelligent networks
Complex networks

Adaptive polymersome nanoreactors

Che, H. & van Hest, J. C. M., 1 Sep 2019, In : ChemNanoMat. 5, 9, p. 1092-1109

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Open Access
Medical nanotechnology
Adaptive systems


Artificial endosymbiosis

Jan van Hest (Recipient), 2015

Recognition: ERCAdvancedScientific

synthetic biology
uptake mechanisms

Research Center for Functional Molecular Systems

Bert Meijer (Recipient), Jan van Hest (Recipient), Luc Brunsveld (Recipient), Rene Janssen (Recipient) & Rint Sijbesma (Recipient), 2013

Recognition: NWOGravitationScientific

selection procedure
Ministry of Education

Press / Media

Jan van Hest named the new scientific director of ICMS

Jan van Hest


1 item of media coverage

Press/Media: Expert Comment

Artificial life and nanomedicine

Jan van Hest


1 item of media coverage

Press/Media: Expert Comment

Van Hest appointed as head of new group Bio-organic Chemistry

Jan van Hest


1 item of media coverage

Press/Media: Expert Comment

TU/e appoints Jan van Hest as head of new research group

Jan van Hest


1 item of media coverage

Press/Media: Expert Comment

Researchers Create World’s First Eukaryotic Cell by using Polymer

Jan van Hest


1 item of media coverage

Press/Media: Expert Comment

Student theses

Development of reduction responsive polymersomes for controlled drug delivery

Author: Stam, R., 13 Nov 2018

Supervisor: Pijpers, I. (Supervisor 1), van Hest, J. (Supervisor 2), Brunsveld, L. (Supervisor 2) & Abdelmohsen, L. (Supervisor 2)

Student thesis: Master