Gilles was born in the French-speaking part of Switzerland in 1976. After completing his MSc. in Chemistry at the University of Neuchâtel in 2000, he crossed the “Swiss-German border” to work for one year, as a research chemist, at the multinational agro-pharmaceutical company Lonza Ltd (Visp, Switzerland) in the Research and Development Division. There, he developed more economical syntheses of drugs for industry.
Thereafter, Gilles decided to move back to Neuchâtel to undertake a PhD thesis in supramolecular/coordination chemistry with Prof. Helen Stoeckli-Evans (2001-2004). In collaboration with Dr. Jim Tucker from the University of Exeter (now at the University of Birmingham), he developed new ferrocenyl ligands capable of recognising the presence of biological molecules (amino acids, urea and barbiturate derivatives) and metallic cations by electrochemistry.
From 2004-2007, endowed with a Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) grant for prospective researchers, Gilles “crossed the oceans” to carry out a post-doc on bioinorganic chemistry with Prof. Leone Spiccia (Monash University, Melbourne, Australia). In collaboration with Prof. Alan M. Bond, he prepared metal complexes which can specifically sense the presence of DNA bases using electrochemistry. It is also in Australia that Gilles worked for the first time with the fascinating DNA analogue Peptide Nucleic Acid (PNA) and their metal derivatives.
In 2007, Gilles was awarded an Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellowship that he took at the Ruhr-University Bochum (Germany) in the group of Prof. Nils Metzler-Nolte (2007-2009). There, he notably worked on the preparation and bioevaluation of new metal-containing PNA bioconjugates for pharmaceutical and biosensing purposes.
At the beginning of 2010, Gilles was given the opportunity to come back to Switzerland to start his independent research at the Institute of Inorganic Chemistry (now Department of Chemistry) of the University in Zurich as a SNSF Ambizione fellow. A year later, in March 2011, Gilles became an assistant professor at the same institution endowed with a non-tenure track SNSF professorship. Gilles stayed about 5 years in Zurich, working mainly on the field of Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) and bioorganometallic chemistry.
In October 2016, Gilles joined Chimie ParisTech from the newly created Paris Sciences & Lettres (PSL) Research University thanks, among others, to an ERC Consolidator Grant and a PSL Chair of Excellence Program Grant. In Paris, the current research interests of Gilles and his group cover various fields of inorganic chemical biology and medicinal inorganic chemistry, thereby focusing in using metal complexes to modulate the properties of biomolecules.
AWARDS / FELLOWSHIPS
2016 Ernest Th. Jucker Prize from the Ernest Th. Jucker Foundation for research against cancer.
2016 PSL Chair of Excellence Program Grant.
2016 Top 10 Outstanding Reviewer for Chem. Sci. in 2016 – see this link.
2016 2016 J. Med. Chem Award for the highly cited Article of 2014.
2016 Thieme Chemistry Journal Award.
2015 ERC Consolidator Grant (2’000’000 €).
2015 Werner Prize from the Swiss Chemical Society for outstanding independent chemical research.
2015 Inclusion in the ACS Select Virtual List of one of the 20 Emerging Investigators in Bioinorganic Chemistry.
2014 Extension of a Swiss National Science Foundation Professorship (CHF 690’978.-).
2013 2013 J. Med. Chem Award for the highly cited Perspective of 2011.
2011 Swiss National Science Foundation Professorship (CHF 1’517’692.-).
2010 Rubitec Award for the best patent application at the Ruhr-University Bochum (Germany) in 2009.
2009 Swiss National Science Foundation Ambizione Research Fellowship (CHF 448’341.-).
2008 Extension of an Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellowship.
2007 Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellowship.
2004 Swiss National Science Foundation Fellowship for Prospective Researchers.
2004 Syngenta Award for the best PhD Thesis in Chemistry of the University of Neuchâtel in 2004 (Switzerland).
2000 Jean Landry Award of the University of Neuchâtel for Excellence in the MSc. Hons. in Chemistry (Switzerland).
2000 Jürg Engi Award of the University of Neuchâtel for the student with the best marks in organic chemistry (Switzerland).