The group currently consists of 1 Professor, 2 CNRS research scientists, 6 postdoctoral fellows, 8 PhD students, 1 analytical technician and 1 administrative assistant.

CNRS Research Scientists (2)

IMG-20210401-WA0007 (2)

fr  Dr. David Leboeuf

After graduating from ESPCI with an engineering degree, David pursued his Ph.D. with Pr. Max Malacria at the Université Pierre et Marie Curie until December 2009, where he explored new cobalt-, rhodium-, and gold-catalyzed cyclizations. After two and half years of postdoctoral research at the University of Rochester with Pr. Alison Frontier studying Nazarov electrocyclizations and one year at the Institute of Chemical Research of Catalonia (ICIQ) with Pr. Antonio Echavarren developing new gold-catalysts, he was appointed by the CNRS as Chargé de Recherche (Assistant Professor) in 2013 at the Université Paris-Sud. In 2017, he became Associate Professor and joined our lab in November 2019 to further his burgeoning work on the use of hexafluoroisopropanol in synthesis. He was awarded the habilitation to direct research (HDR) in November 2020. Outside work, he is a huge fan of PSG and enjoys reading, travelling and a nice glass of gin. Click here for his personal homepage.


pl Dr. Kamila Muchowska

Kamila was born and raised in Gdansk, Poland and obtained her MSc Eng degree in Chemical Technology from Gdansk University of Technology in 2011. Shortly thereafter, she moved to Edinburgh, Scotland to pursue a PhD in physical organic chemistry with Dr Scott Cockroft and defended in September 2015. Kamila joined the Moran group as a postdoc in January 2016 to develop metabolism-like reactions potentially related to the origin of life. In October 2019, she joined the CNRS (French National Center for Scientific Research)  as an independent research scientist (chargé de recherche) associated with our lab and launched a project using her engineering background to create out-of-equilibrium prebiotic environments in flow. Outside work, she enjoys everything science-y, a good workout, training martial arts, listening to opera and experimenting with food, not necessarily at the same time. Click here for her personal homepage.

Postdoctoral Fellows (6)

ca Nicolas Zeidan (PhD 2020, Toronto)

Nicolas was born in Toronto, Canada and raised in the suburbs thereof. He obtained his PhD in July 2020 in the group of Mark Lautens at the University of Toronto studying palladium-catalyzed heterocycle synthesis and functionalization by aromatization and dearomatization. Nicolas joined the Moran group as a Marie Curie postdoc fellow in September 2020 to pursue the origin of life research program. Outside work, Nicolas likes video games (fall back career) and going to the gym.


fr Marie Vayer (PhD 2018, Paris-Saclay)

Marie was born in Angers (France) in 1993. After obtaining her MSc degree and magistère in 2015, she received an MRT fellowship to pursue a PhD in the group of Vincent Gandon and Christophe Bour at Université Paris-Saclay, working on the activation of C-C bonds with Lewis acids to access complex polycyclic structures and on the synthesis of tertiary ethylated amines. After obtaining her PhD in November 2018, she moved to Vienna as a postdoctoral associate in the group of Nuno Maulide to work on a collaborative project with Boehringer Ingelheim and to develop new methodologies using electrochemistry.  She joined our group in November 2020 to work on new synthetic methodologies. Outside work, she likes to travel, watch sports and enjoy a good meal.


fr Quentin Dherbassy (PhD 2017, Strasbourg)

Quentin received his PhD in 2017 in the group of Prof. Françoise Colobert, working alongside Dr. Joanna Wencel-Delord (CNRS, Strasbourg, France). His doctoral studies focused on the control of axial chirality by sulfoxide‐directed C−H activation. He joined the Procter Group (University of Manchester, UK) as a PDRA in 2018, focusing on borylative copper‐catalyzed asymmetric multicomponent reactions. He then joined our group in December 2020, where he is working with Dr. Kamila Muchowska on the prebiotic origins and functions of biological cofactors. Outside of work, he enjoys music and concerts, cinema, sports as well as hanging out with friends.


de Robert Mayer (PhD 2020, LMU Munich)

Robert was born and raised in Kempten, Germany. He studied chemistry at the University of Munich, where he joined the laboratory of Herbert Mayr and Armin Ofial in November 2017 to pursue a Ph.D. in Physical-Organic Chemistry funded by a Kekulè fellowship of the Fonds der Chemischen Industrie. During his Ph.D., Robert performed kinetic, mechanistic, and computational studies to elucidate fundamental reactivity trends of different classes of electrophiles and nucleophiles. Additionally, he developed new methods that help to get a quantitative understanding of Lewis acid catalysis. In February 2021, Robert joined the Moran lab as a postdoctoral fellow to work on mechanistic challenges in prebiotic chemistry and was awarded a DFG Fellowship shortly thereafter. Outside of the lab, Robert can be found cooking, in nature, pursuing photography, or the opera houses of Europe.

Image from iOS (5)

cn Weiqiang Chen (PhD 2021, TU Berlin)

Weiqiang Chen was born in Shandong, China. He received his bachelor’s degree from Fuzhou University. Then he received training from Prof. Huadong Wang at Fudan University, where he obtained a Master’s degree in chemical engineering. From June 2014 to June 2016, he had a two-year-research stay in the Shanghai Institute of Organic Chemistry (CAS). In October 2016, he joined Prof. Martin Oestreich’s group and developed user-friendly surrogates/alternative reagents for gaseous and toxic chemicals. Weiqiang joined the Moran lab as a postdoctoral fellow in prebiotic & synthetic chemistry in January 2022. Besides chemistry, Weiqiang also enjoys spending time with family, visiting galleries, and travelling. He expects and appreciates new experiences in chemistry and in life.

Silvana Pinna picture

it Silvana Pinna (PhD expected 2022, UCL)

Silvana was born and raised in Rome (Italy) before moving to Spain with her family in 2009, where she completed her secondary education. She obtained a Master of Research in Biochemistry at the University College London (UCL, UK) in the group of Nick Lane, where she stayed for her PhD. During her PhD, Silvana focused on investigating a possible primordial emergence of ATP, the “universal energy currency” of the cell, specifically how ATP synthesis can be enhanced through catalysis by several geochemically plausible factors. She joined the Moran lab in January 2022 to work on prebiotic phosphorylation and further her research in the origin of life. Outside the lab, Silvana is keen on space and astrobiology, and she is involved in several space-related associations. Other interests include travelling, going to the theatre, singing and cooking.

PhD Students (8)

Image uploaded from iOS (13)

cn Jing Yi (MSc 2018, Strasbourg)

Jing was born in Hunan and raised in Canton, south of China. She obtained her IUT in Chemistry from Le Mans, then Master’s degrees in Chemistry-Biology and Supramolecular Chemistry at the University of Strasbourg. In October 2018, Jing joined our team with a CSC fellowship to work on the prebiotic polymerization of amino acids. Jing speaks Cantonese, Mandarin, English, French and is learning German. She’s a world traveler, photographer, animal rights activist and a true ecologist.


in  Harpreet Kaur (MSc 2018, Siena)

Harpreet was born and raised in India (Punjab) before moving to Italy with her family in 2007, where she completed her secondary education. She obtained a Masters in Chemical and Pharmaceutical Technologies in October 2018 from the University of Siena. In September 2019, she joined the group to explore the world of prebiotic chemistry. She enjoys traveling and learning about different cultures and traditions,  having lived in three different countries. She also enjoys trying new recipes, painting, badminton, trekking, and music.


de Sophia Rauscher (MSc 2019, Freiburg).

Sophia was born in Würzburg and raised in Gemünden am Main, Germany. After completing the French-German bachelor’s programme Regio Chimica, she obtained her Master’s degree in Chemistry from the University of Freiburg in 2019. She joined our group in September 2019 to work on reactions associated with prebiotic metabolism. Outside work, she enjoys hiking, yoga and cooking.


fr Cyprien Muller (MSc 2020, Strasbourg)

Cyprien was born in 1997 in Metz (France). In 2018, he obtained his BSc degree in physical chemistry in Strasbourg, and then enrolled in the Graduate School for Complex Systems Chemistry of Strasbourg, from which he graduated in 2020. He joined the team as a PhD student in August 2020 (funded by Total) to work on Vibrational Strong Coupling and supramolecular catalysis. In his free time, he likes cooking, playing and watching sports, and is a big Racing club of Strasbourg fan. He also enjoys video games and used to be a content producer on YouTube.


fr Emilie Werner (MSc 2020, ENS Paris)

Emilie was born and raised in Strasbourg, France. In 2016, she left her hometown to pursue higher education at the Ecole Normale Supérieure (ENS) in Paris. In 2020, she obtained her ENS Diploma as well as her MSc in chemistry and life sciences from the Paris Sciences et Lettres University. In October 2020, Emilie joined our team as a PhD student to work on prebiotic chemistry. Her PhD is financed by the Ecole Normale Supérieure. In her free time, she enjoys travelling, baking and cooking but also a good pint on a sunny terrace.


fr Joris Zimmermann (MSc 2020, Strasbourg)

Joris was born in Mulhouse and spent his childhood in the surrounding region. He came to Strasbourg for high school and completed his MSc in Chemistry and Biology in 2020. He joined the group in September 2020 with an MRT fellowship to work on understanding the origin of life. Outside work, he enjoys working out, playing sports (badminton, volley-ball, football) as well as playing video games, cooking, reading and cinema.


ua Valentyn Pozhydaiev (MSc 2021, Strasbourg)

Valentyn was born and raised in Kiev, Ukraine. Upon graduation from high school in 2016, he moved to France and pursued his bachelor and master studies of chemistry at the University of Strasbourg, from which he graduated in 2021. Valentyn joined the team as a PhD student in October 2021 to develop novel catalytic methodologies employing HFIP and perform more in-depth mechanistic studies to better understand the role of the solvent. Outside work, he practices ashtanga yoga and learns software engineering.


pl Maciej Piejko (MSc 2021, Strasbourg)

Maciej was born in Créteil near Paris but spent most of his life in Poland where he obtained his bachelor’s degree in chemistry at the University of Warsaw. He then moved to Strasbourg to pursue a Masters in the CSC Graduate School and started his PhD in the Moran group in October 2021 on Vibrational Strong Coupling (VSC). Being himself half-Polish, half-French, he enjoys the multicultural environment and learning new languages. Outside of the lab he has many other passions including sailplanes, playing piano and cooking.

Masters Project Students

fr Edouard Voegtl (M2 Strasbourg, 2021)

pl Maciej Piejko (M2 Strasbourg, 2021)

ua Valentyn Pozhydaiev (M2 Strasbourg, 2021)

Analytical Technician


fr Wahnyalo Kazone

Administrative Assistant


cu Annia Bertrand

Former Postdoctoral Fellows

de Florian Falk (2012-2013). French Embassy fellow. After: BaChem, Basel, Switzerland Current position: Bayer CropScience, Basel Switzerland.

fr Malik Hellal (2012-2015). Marie Curie fellow. Current position: Senior scientist, PolyPlus-Transfection, Illkirch, France.

es Leandro Cotos-Muñoz (2014-2015). Current position: Postdoc at ECPM, Strasbourg.

gb Edward Richmond (2014-2018). Leverhulme Trust fellow. Current position: Laboratory leader, BASF, Ludwigshafen, Germany.

de Jan N. Gorges (2018-2019). Current position: Laboratory leader, BASF, Ludwigshafen, Germany.

pl Kamila Muchowska (2016-2019). Current position: CNRS Research Scientist (equivalent to Research Assistant Professor), Strasbourg, France (

fr Robin Isnard (2020). Current position: Chemical Engineer, Eurofins, Aix-en-Provence, France.

in Abhijit Sau (2018-2020) Marie Curie postdoc VSC_Cat. Current position: Tenure track PI, Ramanujan Fellow at Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, Hyderabad, India.

in Ankita Malik(2019-2021) Current position: Scientist, Tacalyx, Berlin, Germany.

Former PhD Students

fr Eléna Wolf  (2012-2015).  MRT Fellow. After: Postdoc at BASF JONAS (2015-2017). Current position: Laboratory leader, BASF, Ludwigshafen, Germany.

ua Marian Dryzhakov (2012-2016). Région Alsace fellow. After: JSPS Postdoc at University of Tokyo, Japan (Prof. Makoto Fujita). Current position: Business Development and External Affairs, Tokyo Tech Startups, Tokyo, Japan.

in Sreejith Varma (2015-2018). ERC PhD student. Current position: Postdoc at Charité Hospital, Berlin, Germany (Prof. Markus Ralser).

rs Vuk Vukovic (2015-2019). MRT Fellow. Current position: European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines, Council of Europe, Strasbourg, France.

fr Lucas Lethuillier (2016-2019). ERC PhD student. After: Industrially-funded postdoc working on a collaboration between Moran/Ebbesen labs and a major chemical company. Current: 42 Lyon Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Lyon, France.

fr Elodie Chevallot-Beroux (2016-2019). ERC PhD student. After: Research scientist, Inovame, Marlenheim, France. Current: FI Group, Lyon, France.

fr Florent Noel (2017-2020). Région Grand-Est PhD student. Current position: Postdoc, Dr. Géraldine Masson group, Paris, France.

fr Paul Chatelain (2017-2021). MRT Fellow. Current position: Senior Process Engineer, ASM International, Helsinki, Finland.

cn Shaofei Zhang (2017-2021). Chinese Scholarship Council PhD student. Current position: Scientist, GenScript, Nanjing, China.

Former Visiting PhD Students

ua Anton Gudz (Gagné group, UNC Chapel Hill, USA, July 2018-February 2019)

it Stefania Musolino (Smith/Taylor groups, St Andrews, Scotland, August-October 2017)

jp Kazuki Fuji (Suga group, Okayama University, Japan, March 2015)

pk Ismat Ullah Khan (Hassan group, Quaid-i-Azam University, Pakistan, Feb-Aug 2015; Current position: Assistant professor, Gomal University, Pakistan)

jp Junya Yamamoto (Suga group, Okayama University, Japan, Nov 2015)

Former Internal Masters Project Students

md Sergiu Bicic (M2, 2021),  fr Tanguy Rieu (M2, 2021), ru Andrei Golushko (M2, 2020), ua Valentyn Pozhydaiev (M1, 2020), ie Martin Power (M2, 2020), fr Joris Zimmermann (M2, 2020), fr Louis-Albin Gravillier (M2, 2020), fr Eugènie Pincemail (M1, 2020), fr Capucine Loth (M1, 2019), in Subhradip Kundu (M2, 2018), fr Florent Noel (M2, 2017), fr Paul Chatelain (M2, 2017), cn Jing Yi (M1, 2016; M2, 2017), cn Guang Li (M1, 2015; M2, 2016), fr Nour Hussein (M1, 2015), fr Margot Combas (M2, 2014), fr Anaëlle Bolley (M1, 2014)

Former Visiting Masters Students

de Corinna Heusel (M2 Münster, 2021), ch Elodie Didier (M1 University of Geneva, 2020), pl Daria Brykczyńska (M1 Poznań University, 2020)