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The NSA group is developing an interdisciplinary research project in chemistry, biology & physics, using a supramolecular chemistry/bioorganic chemistry/nanomaterials platform. The methodology consists in a new global approach including many multidisciplinary knots of synergetic concepts in molecular conception, supramolecular transcription and material chemistry which can be implemented simultaneously in order to converge to polyfunctional "Systems membranes". This natural follow-up project might provide new insights into the basic features that control the design of new materials and membranes with applications in chemical separations, sensors or as storage/delivery devices. A strong activity is recently developping around water channels


The NSA group was founded in 2005 following the implementation at IEM (Institut Européen des Membranes) of the SUPRACOMBIMAT project awarded with the EURYI Award in 2004 by ESF and EUROHORCs: See Here



A dense network of international collaboration extends the activity of the group far beyond the french borders, for example at Lehn Institute for Advanced Materials, Sun Yat-Sen University Guangzhou, China.

Check out some strong and fruitfull contributions of the NSA group

in various meetings in 2018blank




Latest News:

October 2018: Our recent review, Encapsulation versus Self-Aggregation toward Highly Selective Artificial K+ Channels, is now available on the Accounts of Chemical Research website - check here


September 2018:Calix[4]-box” cages promote the formation of amide bonds in water in the absence of coupling reagents. Collaborative research from Adaptive Supramolecular Nanosystems, Institut European des Membranes, Montpellier, France and Lehn Institute of Functional Materials, School of Chemistry, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China laboratories has now published online.


September 2018: Artificial Water Channels may be most innovative new idea for water purification membranes and aqueous separations.Faraday Discussions Artificial Water Channels volume has now been published online.


August 2018: Our open acces review on Artificial Water Channels has been published on

Nature npj clean water - Check Here


August 2018: Des membranes artificielles bio-inspirées pour filtrer l'eau:


March 2018: Mihai BARBOIU represents the NSA team, and IEM, at the Spring ACS meeting in New Orleans (LA-USA), while talking about Artificial Water channels, Pyrene-boxes and Rubbery Organic Frameworks.

Jan. 2018: M. Barboiu was invited by the General Consulate of France in Guangzhou, China, for a "Café des Sciences on "The world of bio-inspired materials"


Jan. 2018: The NSA team is glad to welcome back Fabrice Ndiapa from the University of Ngaoundéré for a 5-months doctoral exchange with Sophie Cerneaux.


Nov. 2017: The NSA team is glad to welcome Mr Fumihiko MAMIYA from Prof. Eiji Yashima's Group in Nagoya University for a 3-month PhD intership and Miss Shaoping ZHENG from the Lehn Institute for Advanced Materials, Sun Yat-Sen University Guangzhou (China) who will stay for a two-years doctoral stay.

Oct. 2017: Congratulation to Istvan Kocsis who graduated as a Doctor in Chemistry from the University of Montpellier (France). His thesis is entitled: "Supramolecular artificial water channels: from molecular design to membrane materials"

Oct. 2017: The NSA team is glad to welcome Jessy PEDROSO from the University of La Havana (Cuba) / Finlay for a 2-month PhD intership. Jessy is cosupervised by Prof. V Verez Bencomo (Finlay) & Dr. YM Legrand (IEM) .

Sept. 2017: The NSA team is glad to welcome back Miss Maria Di Vincenzo, (M2 in Politecnico di Torino, Italy), for a 3-years doctoral research stay on water desalination.


Aug 2017: Mihai has been co-chairing a session on "Biomimetic and Bioinspired Membranes " at the ICOM2017 conference in San Francisco and also held a lecture on "Artificial water channels". YM Legrand and I. Kocsis also gave a presentation on artificial ion channels and water channels respectively.


June 2017: Congratulations to M. Di Vincenzo who strongly contributed to the latest studies on "Boron rejection in RO processes using novel TFC membranes" just published in JMS (J. Membr. Sci., 2017;540:71-77)


April 2017: Mihai has been co-chairing one of the session "Membranes for water treatment and Desalination" at the Engineering With Membranes meeting (ewm2017) held in Singapore. He was also invited to present a keynote lecture on Artificial water channels.


April 2017: Highly Selective Biomimetic Ion/Water Channels were brought to light at the latest MRS Spring Meeting in Phoenix, AZ thanks to an invited lecture given by Mihai. The topic has been highlighted on MRS Meeting Scene.

April 2017: The pursuit of happiness: the molecules responsible for the emotions of reward and happiness have been entrapped within crystalline nano-cages. Serotonin, dopamine and histamine, which are normally difficult to crystallize, have been easily captured in water within pyrene-box cages made of pyrenetetrasulfonate anions and guanidinium cations. For more details, read the article by Weixu Feng et al. published in Chem. Eur. J. 2017.

The article was selected by the editor of Chem. Eur. J. to appear as a "Frontpiece".



April 2017: The NSA team is glad to welcome from the Yen PHAM from the Department of pharmacological, medical and agronomical biotechnology (BIO) in the University of Science & Technology of Hanoi USTH (Vietnam) for a 5-month Master intership. Yen is cosupervised in IEM by Dr. Mihai Barboiu and Dr. Suming Li.


March 2017: Mihai D. BARBOIU has received a prize from the Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland for outstanding advances in the field of ion and water channels. The award was handed by porf. D. Mateescu.



March 2017: Congratulation to Wei-Xu FENG who strongly contributed to the latest studies on K+ responsive channels (Org. Lett. 2017) and on crystal engineering using molecular cages (Chem. Eur. J. 2017 and EurJOC 2017). Wei-Xu is now back to China in Prof. C.Y. Su group at Sun Yat-Sen University (Guangzhou) for other exciting research adventures.

Feb. 2017: The NSA team is glad to welcome back Fabrice Ndiapa from the University of Ngaoundéré for a 5-months doctoral exchange.

Feb. 2017: Within the framework of the DYNANO ITN and the collaboration with the teams of Prof. J.M. Lehn and Prof. N. Giuseppone, it has been shown that artificial membrane-spanning channels can be constructed based on supramolecular triarylamine scaffolds.This study has been published in J.Am.Chem.Soc.


Jan. 2017: It was a great pleasure to hear that the RSC Faraday division has accepted a new topic for the 2018 Faraday Discussions namely: Artificial Water Channels. This shows the recognised relevance of this fast growing field. More...

Dec. 2016: Mihai D. BARBOIU has received The Order of Faithful Service (Romanian: Ordinul Național "Serviciul Credincios") for "the high appreciation and recognition for the excellence he has shown throughout their career in scientific research and taken significant contribution to promoting the image of the country in world" from the Romanian President, Klaus Iohannis, on December 1st 2016.



Nov. 2016: Our collaboration with corean Partner Prof. Jae-Min OH from the Yonsei University in Wonju yielded a nice study published in Beilstein J. of Nanotechnology (2016, 7, 1928-1935)


Nov. 2016: The IAS symposium which dealt with Chemistry of Complex Matter and was held in Hong-Kong, gathered several prestigious speakers including Prof. J-M Lehn (Nobel Prize).

Sept. 2016: Mihai D. BARBOIU has been invited at the:

  • Advanced Membrane Technology VII, An ECI Conference Series, September 11-16, 2016, Cork, Ireland
  • XIIth French-Romanian Symposium on Polymers, September 4-7, 2016, Sophia Antipolis, Franceblank

July 2016: Istvan K. and Yves-Marie L. attended the Gordon Research Conference on Membranes: Materials & Processes in New London, HN, USA. Istvan was undertaken a 2-months doctoral research stay within Prof. G. Belfort's group at Rensselear Polytechnic Institute, where he worked on polymer brushes for water filtration


July 2016: Mihai D. BARBOIU has been invited to deliver the RSC Surfaces and Interfaces Award Lecture at The 5th International Conference on Molecular Sensors and Molecular Logic Gates (MSMLG2016, University of Bath from 24th to 28th of July 2016)


May 2016: The NSA team is glad to welcome from the Petru Poni Institute of Macrocyclic Chemistry (ICMPP) in Iasi, Romania, Dr Lilia Clima and Mr Radu Zonda, who will stay repectively for a 2-months postdoctoral and 3-months doctoral stay.

And Yu-Hao Li who will stay for a two-years doctoral stay founded by the Lehn Institute for Advanced Materials, Sun Yat-Sen University Guangzhou, China.

April 2016: Congratulation to Erol & Istvan for their contribution in the lastest work on artificial water channels that just got accepted in J. Am. Chem. Soc. ! This a great example of synergetic collaborative work between some of our partners (M. Kumar from Penn State Univ. and M. Baaden from Univ. Pierre & Marie Curie)


And check out the latest Feature Article in Chem. Commun. on "Artificial water channels – incipient innovative developments"


And recent research activities related to artificial potassium channels have been highligthed on the CNRS-Chemistry website:

En direct des laboratoires de l'institut de Chimie: De nouveaux canaux potassiques artificiels hautement sélectifs


And the NSA team is glad to welcome Dr Adina Coroaba, from the Petru Poni Institute of Macrocyclic Chemistry (ICMPP) in Iasi, Romania, who will stay for a 4-months postdoctoral stay.blank

Ligand- and Metal-Driven Selection of Flexible Adaptive Dynamic Host Receptors

Dynamic mixtures in which a reversibly binding trialdehyde and flexible PEG diamine building blocks assemble in the presence of or absence of templating metal ions were prepared. The dynamic exchanges in solution are robust enough to induce “ligand selection” with the formation of a cage and the precise quantitative “Ag+-driven” selection with the formation of an interlocked cage and a twisted cage, amplified from the solution by a kinetically driven crystallization process.

Eur. J. Org. Chem. 2016;10:1825-1828 (+ Cover)


March 2016: The NSA team is glad to welcome Miss Maria diVincenzo, from Politecnico di Torino, Italy, for a 5 months research stay in the framework of her Master course and Mihai Deleanu from the University Politehnica of Bucharest, Romania, for 3 months as an erasmus student (Master).


Feb. 2016: The NSA team is glad to welcome Fabrice Ndiapa from the University of Ngaoundéré for a 5-months doctoral exchange.


Jan. 2016: Congratulation to Arnaud Gilles for his lastest work on artificial K+ channels freshly published in JACS (DOI: 10.1021/jacs.5b11743)!


Dec. 2015: Congratulation to Mohamed YAHIA who just graduated as a Doctor in Chemistry from the University of Montpellier (France), the University Nova de Lisboa (Portugal) and the University of Calabria (Italy) in the framework of Erasmus Mundus Doctorate in Membrane Engineering–EUDIME program!

Nov. 2015: DNA rulers have been designed within the NSA team, in collaboration with colleagues from Iasi (Romania). The study has been accepted for publication in Chem. Comm. (DOI: 10.1039/C5CC08283H). Special mention for Istvan Kocsis, the main investigator of the study, who just finished his first year of PhD!

Nov. 2015: Following this year nomination "The RSC Surfaces & Interfaces Award 2015 Winner", Mihai Barboiu has been awarded: "Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry" (FRSC). He also received from the French Chemical Society (Société Chimique de France) a "Recognition Award" for special acheivements in 2015.

Nov. 2015: Check out the Publications Section to get up-dated with the latest articles from the NSA team, among which you will find an Org. Biomol. Chem., 2 Chem. Commun. and a new Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. article.

Oct. 2015: Congratulation to Alina CRISTIAN who just graduated as a Doctor in Chemistry from the Universtity of Montpellier!

Oct. 2015: In the framework of the PHC/STAR program, PhD candidate Istvan Kocsis and YM Legrand spent 10 days at Yonsei University in Wonju (South Korea) to perform experiments in collaboration with Prof. Jae Min OH, head of the Nanobio Materials Lab. And at the occasion of the 2nd Korea-France Joint Workshop, Mihai was invited to present results from the NSA group.

Sept. 2015: The SCF journal "l'actualité chimique" just published a special issue on Self-organisation: Towards a chemistry of complex matter. Alongside with a few others, Mihai Barboiu presented a chapter on "The future of membranes: toward the natural selection of functions".


Sept. 2015: Porous metal-oxide capsules used as biomimetic approach for Ion-channels were prepared in collaboration with Prof. Achim Müller from Bielefeld University (See article in Adv. Mat.2015). advmat_banner

Sept. 2015: IEM will be represented by Mihai at Euromembrane 2015, as he has been invited to present a Keynote Lecture in Aachen, Germany, and by Mohamed Yahia who will present a poster.


August 2015: Harvest of publications this summer from NSA and collaborators (See Publication section) with 1 article in Comptes Rendus Chimie, 1 in European Journal of Inorganic Chemistry, 1 in J. Material Chemistry-B and 2 in Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry including one displaying the cover of the journal.

July 2015: DYNANO's FINAL MEETING, Montpellier, France- 27 & 28 July 2015

The final meeting will be the occasion to have a Joint Symposium (ITN Dynano / Labex Chemisyst & CSC) during which Dynamic Combinatorial Chemistry will be discussed; the brainstorm will be lighted on Monday morning by the chemistry Nobel Prize Jean-Marie LEHN.


July 2015: NSA & IEM present at ISMSC-2015 in Strasbourg (France) through the oral presentation of Mihai (Keynote Speaker) and communications (posters) of 3 young researchers (Yan, Zhanhu and Istvan).

July 2015: The 7th DYNANO Network & SB Meeting will be held on 3rd July 2015 in Strasbourg, France and organised by the university of Strasbourg. The DYNANO network meeting will join the 10th ISMSC organized by the partner ISIS - Strasbourg University (UDS).


June 2015: Mihai presented our latest results on Rubbery Organic Frameworks (ROFs) for Gas Separation at NAMS 2015 in Boston (MA-USA).

June 2015: Insight into Polarized Water Wires in Chiral Channels

A theoretical study published in J. Phys. Chem. has brought light into positions and orientation of confined ions and water molecules inside organic self-assembled channels within a bilayer. J. Phys. Chem. 2015; accepted

May 2015: Top 25 most-downloaded in Q1 of 2015

Our article "Adaptive binding and selection of compressed 1,w-diammonium-alkanes via molecular encapsulation in water" was one of the 25 most downloaded articles in the online version of Chemical Science between January and March this year. You can browse the full list on the Chemical Science blog.


May 2015: The NSA team is glad to welcome Weixu FENG who will stay for a one-year postdoctoral stay founded by the Lehn Institute for Advanced Materials, Sun Yat-Sen University Guangzhou, China.

April 2015: and..."The RSC Surfaces & Interfaces Award 2015 Winner" is...

Congratulation to Mihai BARBOIU who received this award for his accomplishment in the development of artificial water channel systems, which have led to a better understanding of the molecular-scale hydrodynamics of water in biological systems and novel membranes systems for water purification


To check out other Prize & Award winners visit: here



March 2015: The NSA team is glad to welcome back Arnaud GILLES who will stay for a one-year postdoctoral stay founded by the Dynmultirec ANR program.

March 2015: Hybrid fullerene conjugates as vectors for DNA cell-delivery.

It has been shown in the framework of the collaborative program with Iasi (Romania) that C60-PEI and C60-PEG-PEI conjugates act as efficient binders of double stranded DNA (dsDNA) polyplexes that exhibit good transfection effi ciency and are performant in terms of expression of EYFP reporter gene in cultured cells and exhibited high cytocompatibility, determining cell proliferation up to 200%.

J. Mat. Chem. B 2015;3:2433 (+Inside Cover)


March 2015: Review on Dynamic Adaptive Membranes


January 2015: Dynamic constitutional frameworks for DNA biomimetic recognition.

We have shown in the framework of the collaborative program with Iasi (Romania) that linear and cross-linked dynamic constitutional frameworks generated from reversibly interacting linear PEG/core constituents and cationic sites shed light on the dominant coiling versus linear DNA binding behaviours, closer to the histone DNA binding wrapping mechanism.

Chem. Commun. 2015;51:2021-2024 (+Front Cover)


November 2014: The study on alcane compression is highlithed in the INC (CNRS) newsletter.


November 2014: The NSA team is glad to welcome Yan Zhang who will stay for a one-year postdoctoral stay founded by the Dynano ITN program.


October 2014: The NSA team is glad to welcome back Istvan Kocsis within the group. After a couple of Master's research stays, Istvan is started a 3-year PhD program founded by the Chemisyst project (Labex) diEAUde.

October 2014: Compression of alcane chaines in confined media.

We have shown in the framework of a Chemisyst LABEX project that long alcane chains trapped in a confined media smaller than their own extended size have unexpected structural behaviour compare to their conformation in a non-protected environment. This work was published in Chemical Communication and was selected for the front cover! Well done Dan Dumitrescu and co-workers! More


October 2014: IEM & NSA (MDB+YML) were present at the Franco-Korean Workshop in Yonsei University (Wonju, Korea) a joint meeting between the Korean Clay Science Society Annual Meeting and the kick off gathering of a STAR program between Prof. Jae Min OH and Mihai BARBOIU on Design, Synthesis, Characterization and Application of Functional materials - Covergence among Molecular, Supramolecular and Nano Chemistry. For more details please download the book of abstracts here.


October 2014: NSA's research echoed in general audience newspaper

The regional special issue of the national newspaper "Nouvel Observateur" dedicated a double page on the innovative research topics developped by the NSA team. This article was highlighted in the Balard Newsletter and a few other medias.



September 2014: Vasile Hulea (ICGM/ENSCM) and Mihai Barboiu are the coorganisers of the 8th COFRROCA meeting taking place this year in Montpellier between Monday, September 15th and Thursday, September 18th, 2014.


September 2014: The 5th DYNANO's Network Meeting will be held on 1-5 September 2014 in Stockholm, Sweden. It wil be organized by the University of Royal Institute of Technology. dynano_map

September 2014: The NSA team is glad to welcome back Lilia Clima and Alex Rotaru, both researcher at the Petru Poni Institute of Macrocyclic Chemistry (ICMPP) in Iasi, Romania, for a 2-months exchange

July 2014: Our latest work, together with B Coasne (ICGM / MIT) and T Fyles (Victoria), on artificial ion channels has been published in Nature Communication and highlithed on the CNRS website

Nature Comm. 2014; 5:4142





July 2014: The NSA team welcomes Andrea Nistor (Bucharest) for a 3 months erasmus internship. Meanwhile, whereas Yves-Marie presented recent work on artificial ion channels at the GRC meeting on Membrane in New Hampshire, Erol, Mohamed and Mihai are representing the colours of IEM during ICOM-2014 in China.

June 2014: The NSA team welcomes 4 new trainees: Valentin Bouillé (enscm) is staying 4 months for an intership and Cristina Gerber, Alice Grigoriu & Crenguta Bacaoanu, are doing a 3 months erasmus exchange with Alexandru Ioan Cuza University in Iasi, Romania.

Mihai was part of ICIM-2014 in Australia.

May 2014: The NSA team (Tutor: Sophie C. / Samuel Bernard) welcomes Svetlana Petlitckaia (Poland) for a 3 months internship.

April 2014: The NSA team (Tutor: Sophie C.) welcomes Joanna Kujawa (Poland) for a 3 months erasmus internship.

April 2014: The 4th DYNANO's Network & SB Meeting was held on 5-9 April 2014 in Namur, Belgium. It was organized by the University of Namur In collaboration with MultiGlycoNano Multivalent Glycosystems for Nanoscience COST Action CM1102. Aimed to develop novel nanoscale glycoconjugates for biomedical applications, including new methods for producing nanomaterials for drug delivery, gene targeting and as diagnostic/prognostic tools.


March 2014: While Mohamed is away in Portugal for a 6-months internship within his Eudime program, 3 new-comers arrived: 2 Master students, Nicolas Schmitt (UM2) & Florin Albota (Bucharest) and Florina Dumitru (Ass.Prof. in Bucharest), for a one-year research stay. In fact, this is a comeback for Florina as she did a couple of research-stays in NSA during her PhD, a few years ago.

February 2014: The NSA team welcomes 3 new members: Cheryl Tanardi is staying 6 months for an intership within IEM (joint projet between Prof. Ayral & Barboiu), in the framework of her PhD program (Eudime), Meron Mengistu will undertake her 6 months' Master internship (EM3E, tutor: S. Cerneaux) and Zhanhu Sun just started a Postdoctoral stay funded by the Labex Chemisyst on chiral water & ion channels.

January 2014: Very good start and well done to Alina (J. Mat. Chem B), Zineb (Chem. Comm.) and Istvan (Chem. Comm.) for their major contribution in the latest NSA articles with a special mention to Istvan who has not started his PhD yet!

December 2013: Congratulation to Mihai who has been appointed Visiting Professor at the School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, China

December 2013: Congratulation to Mrs Valérie GENCE who became a Doctor in Chemistry from the ENSCM in Montpellier for her work on "Dynamic self-assembly of nanoobjects for novel ways of directed-transport using membranes"

November 2013: Congratulation to Mrs Zineb MOULINE who became a Doctor in Chemistry from the ENSCM in Montpellier for her work on "Self-assembly of nanostructured dendritic objects, for the fabrication of adaptive systems and membranes". She is now doing a Postdoc in Japan (NITN, Prof. Y. Iwamoto)


October 2013: Our latest work, together with F Cunin (ICGM), on G-quadruplexes has been published in Angewandte Chemie, highlithed on the CNRS website and in the newsletter of the "Pole Chimie Balard"! Well done Bogdan!


Real-Time Optical Detection of Stabilized Artificial G-Quadruplexes Under Confined Conditions

g4_angw2013 g4_angw2013_si

Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. Oct. 2013, DOI :10.1002/anie.201306230

B. G. Rusu, F. Cunin, M. Barboiu

October 2013: The Chemical Record

Self-Assembled Supramolecular Channels: Toward Biomimetic Materials for Directional Translocation

The up-scale transposition of self-organized functional ion-channels is discussed, from supramolecular architectures towards constitutional hybrid materials for directional translocation.



October 2013: The 3rd DYNANO's Network & SB Meeting was held on 3-4 October 2013 in Madrid, Spain. It was organized by the Spanish National Research Council - Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas – CIB. Prior to that event, both Marie Curie Initial Training Network DYNANO & GLYCOPHARM co-organized a joint summer school on 30 September - 2 October 2013



September 2013: The NSA team welcomes 3 new collaborators: Lilia Clima and Alex Rotaru, both researcher at the Petru Poni Institute of Macrocyclic Chemistry (ICMPP) in Iasi, Romania, for a 3-months exchange and Hussein Osman from Egypt, for a 3-months research stay (BGF bursary). Erol is back from a 3-months exchange within the Dynano PhD Program, so is Istvan KOCSIS, cofunded Master 2 student (Cluj - Pr. Grosu) for a second research stay.

June 2013: IEM has been represented on the North American continent as M. Barbiou, toghether with J. Crespo will chair a session for Responsive Membranes and Biomembranes at the NAMS2013 Conferences in Boise (ID, USA)


May 2013: The NSA team welcomes 5 new collaborators this spring starting with Muhammet Tanc (from Uni Firenze) for a 3-months exchange within the Dynano PhD Program, while Erol Licsandru is studying at ICB, Romania for 3 months. Rosse Tchakalov (Paris-Sud) joined us for a BSc research stay (1month), as well as 3 researchers in the framework of a romanian funded project: Cristina Uritu (PhD) and Luminita Marin (Researcher) for 2.5 months and Ioana Moleavin (Researcher) for 7 months. All 3 are primarily based at the Petru Poni Institute of Macrocyclic Chemistry (ICMPP) in Iasi, Romania.


April 2013: Accounts of Chemical Research: From Natural to Bioassisted and Biomimetic Artificial Water Channel Systems (M. Barboiu & A. Gilles)



Feb. 2013: Special Issue in Israel Journal of Chemistry: Constitutional Dynamic Systems

Guest Editors: Mihai Barboiu & Jean-Marie Lehn


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Selected publications