Group leader

Prof. Benjamin ELIAS

Benjamin ELIAS obtained a licence (2000) and Diplôme d’Etudes Approfondies - D.E.A. (2002) in chemical sciences (both Summa Cum Laude) from the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB). He did his Ph.D. at ULB (2000-2005) under the supervision of Prof. A. Kirsch-de Mesmaeker and Prof. C. Moucheron, in the field of photochemistry and coordination supramolecular chemistry (Ph.D. title: Synthesis and Photochemistry of Ruthenium(II) complexes : photoreactivity with biomolecules and intramolecular energy transfer). In parallel, he held a full position of teaching assistant (2000-2006) in organic chemistry of the Faculty of Sciences. Afterwards, he was appointed post-doctoral scholar (N.I.H. fellow) at the California Institute of Technology, USA under the supervision of Prof. J.K. Barton (2006-2008). He worked on DNA-mediated electron transport triggered by transition metal complexes and its subsequent role in biological processes, such as DNA mismatch detection and repair by base excision repair enzymes.

Since October 2008, he is holding a full professor position at the Université catholique de Louvain (UCLouvain). He is the P.I. of the Supramolecular Photochemistry and Organic Chemistry research lab within the Institute of Condensed matter and Nanosciences - Molecular Chemistry, Materials and Catalysis Division (IMCN/MOST). 

In terms of academic career, Benjamin ELIAS is in charge of 10 courses related to organic chemistry and general chemistry within the Faculty of Sciences, the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, the Louvain School of Engineering and the Faculty of Biological, Agricultural and Environmental Engineering.


Qualified researcher F.R.S.-FNRS


I received my B.S. (2008), M.S (2010) and Ph.D. in chemistry (2014) from the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB – Belgium) where I focused on the development of novel transition metal complexes for opto-electronic applications with Prof. C. Moucheron and Prof. A. Kirsch-De Mesmaeker. I then undertook post-doctoral research at X4C, a new start-up, where I worked with Prof. I. Jabin and Dr. A. Mattiuzzi on surface modification using calix[4]arene derivatives. At the end of 2015, I was awarded the Belgian American Educational Foundation (BAEF) fellowship, followed by the Bourse d’Excellence WBI.World (2016-2018) to undertake postdoctoral research with Prof. Gerald J. Meyer at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC). In April 2017, I joined the UNC Energy Frontier Research Center, the Alliance for Molecular PhotoElectrode Design for Solar Fuels (AMPED EFRC, directed by Pr. Thomas J. Meyer and Pr. Gerald J. Meyer), where I focused on the development of novel molecular photocatalysts and their use in the development of novel photoelectrodes that in turn can generate so-called “solar fuels”. In May 2019, I started a Chargé de Recherche position (FNRS) at the Université libre de Bruxelles where I work on energy related challenges. I hold a visiting scientist position at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (with Pr. Gerald J. Meyer) as well as at the Université Catholique de Louvain (UCLouvain) where I work on visible-light activated processes with the research team of Prof. Benjamin Elias. Outside of the lab, I enjoy sports (football, swimming, yoga, axe throwing), traveling, hiking, cooking, brewing and drinking beers!

                Note : Independent website coming soon ! 




Stéphanie WAUTIER


PhD Students


My name is Martin and I’m born and bred in Brabant wallon. I completed my master thesis in UCLouvain and more especially in Prof. B. Elias’s lab. I worked on ruthenium (II) complexes for targeting G-quadruplex in human cells. Since 2019, I have been working on my PhD thesis on quite a similar matter. Luckily, this year, I obtain a FRIA grant to continue working on my topics which are the design and study of iridium (III) and rhodium (III) complexes targeting and photo-oxidizing G-quadruplex DNA in cancer cells. When not in the lab, I play field-hockey and golf. I also enjoy hanging out at the bar with my friends all night long.


After completing my master thesis working on H2 photocatlytic production under the supervision of Prof. Benjamin Elias, I decided to continue my research in this topic by engaging myself in a PhD thesis as a teaching assistant at UCLouvain. My research consists in tuning the photochemical and electrochemical properties of Ir(III) complexes through the synthesis of new ancillary ligands. Depending on their properties, different applications such as H2 photoproduction, CO2 photoreduction, hydrohalic/water splitting and dye sensitized solar cells development can be explored. In my free time, I enjoy having a drink with friends, scuba-diving and playing football.


Native from the beautiful village of Chevetogne, I started my PhD thesis in chemistry in 2017 in the Elias group as a teaching assistant here at UCLouvain. Since, I have been working on the preparation and the study of new ruthenium (II) compounds with the aim of associating to DNA specific sites, namely DNA mismatches and G-quadruplex DNA that are more abundant in cancer cells. The powerful and highly sensitive photochemistry of ruthenium (II) complexes then allow to either photodetect the above-mentioned DNA specific sites or even to induce cancer cell death under blue light irradiation. Besides, my favorite hobbies are playing football, cycling and travelling.



Alexia RIPAK

I joined the Elias group in 2020 to achieve a master thesis quite different from the usual photochemical research field of the lab. In fact, my thesis was in accord with the global pandemic at the time and I participated in the development of a new Covid-19 treatment, in collaboration with Prof. Soumillion’s team. After that, I decided to come back to the original field of the Elias lab and to carry on with a doctoral thesis in photochemistry, which I started in 2021 after obtaining a FRIA grant. This project aims to develop and study new iron (III) complexes performing oxidation/reduction reactions under green-light photoexcitation. These redox reactions can therefore be used to damage DNA and induce cell death in cancerous cells. In my free time, I enjoy dancing, horse-riding and playing videogames.


I joined the Elias Lab in 2018 to carry out a master thesis in the field of hydrogen photoproduction. I worked on improving precursors of Ir-Co dyads already developed in the group. Very quickly, I took a liking to this research and decided to continue this adventure for a few years by doing a doctoral thesis. Since 2019, I have been developing new iridium (III) bis-terpyridine complexes capable of performing oxidation reactions like HX splitting with HER catalyst. For this purpose, I tune the photophysical and electrochemical properties to try to optimize the catalytic efficiency by modifying the ligand structures. Besides, I like to travel and in my free time, I do badminton, orienteering and escape games. I have also been very active in youth movements for many years.


Master and undergraduated students

Martin WODON