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Chemical Biology

Dr. An­dre­as Brunschweiger

Technische Uni­ver­si­tät Dort­mund
Fa­kul­tät für Chemie und Che­mi­sche Bio­lo­gie
Che­mi­sche Bio­lo­gie
Otto-Hahn-Str. 6
44227 Dort­mund

Room: C1-01-180

Phone: +49 231 755 7085



Review article in Nature Reviews Methods Primers published

Review on DNA-encoded library technology published with an in­ter­na­tio­nal author collective.

Nature Reviews Methods Primers


Biomedicine award for Verena

Congratulations Verena for receiving the Biomedicine price!

Special Issue on DNA-encoded libraries in Bioorganic and Medicinal Chem­is­try

I had the honor to serve as guest-editor for a Special Issue on DNA-encoded libraries that was published in Bioorganic and Medicinal Chem­is­try.

The issue contains 15 articles on a broad range of topics related to DNA-encoded chem­is­try written by experts from academia and industry, from all over the world, and by veterans of the technology as well as by researchers who joined the field re­cent­ly. The issue cov­ers latest development of synthesis methodology for DEL de­sign, a strategy for im­prov­ing library, DEL screening for covalent inhibitors, a technology for fast hit validation methods, opinion pieces on library de­sign, and reports on the use of less explored encoded library technologies.

Joint publication with the Waring re­search group

Congratulations Marco and James: We published a micellar Suzuki reaction on a large scope of diverse DNA-tagged substrates. It is a truly versatile reaction for DEL.

Wellcome trust-funded con­sor­tium for academic DNA-encoded library resource started

A large Wellcome trust-funded initiative for the synthesis of an academic DNA-encoded library resource has started. The in­ter­na­tio­nal con­sor­tium comprises re­search groups from the Universities of Manchester, Newcastle, and the Brunschweiger group from TU Dort­mund. Welcome Elena to the group!

Verena defended her thesis

Congratulations: Verena defended with summa cum laude! All the best with Serengen!

New DNA-barcoding strategy published in An­ge­wand­te Chemie

Congratulations Verena and Marco: We published together with the Kast re­search group and Bayer the development of a new DNA-barcoding strategy for the synthesis of DNA-encoded screening libraries that utilizes chemically modified DNA.

An­ge­wand­te Chemie

The artificial DNA was designed to tolerate a greatly expanded scope of reaction conditions to enable translation of a broader scope of chemical reactions for the de­sign of screening libraries.

Start-up SERENGEN GmbH born out of re­search proj­ect at TU Dort­mund

Our company Serengen GmbH has become operational! A big Thank You to the Serengen team, TU Dort­mund Uni­ver­sity, and Provendis who make this possible.

See press release by the Uni­ver­sity.

Goodbye Mateja

Congratulations and goodbye: After a highly successful time in our group, Mateja has left and taken a position with the re­search de­part­ment of Bayer. Mateja, we wish you all the best and a successful, exciting time with the Bayer researchers!

Welcome (back) and start of the second phase of our re­search collaboration with Bayer

Our successful re­search partnership with Bayer has been extended and expanded. Welcome Suzanne and Avinash! Great, to have you back in the group. Good luck with some exciting DNA-encoded chem­is­try, enabled by our new, validated barcoding technology.

Casting light on DNA-micelle interactions

Manuscript on micellar chem­is­try on DNA-tagged substrates accepted by Chem­is­try -- A European Journal and Cover proposal requested. A fantastic inter­dis­ci­plin­ary collaboration work with the Weberskirch, Winter, and Raunser re­search groups shed light on the conditions for DNA-encoded micellar chem­is­try and revealed tight association of DNA barcodes with block copolymers.
Chem­is­try - A European Journal


Verena Kunig was awarded a prestigious poster prize at the EFMC-ISMC & EFMC-YMCS congress 2020 for her disclosure of TEAD-YAP protein-protein interaction inhibitors. Congratulations!

European Federation fo Medicinal Chmeistry

Starting point for the development of drugs against a tumor re­le­vant cellular mechanism discovered

Grafikillustration © AK-Brunschweiger​/​TU Dort­mund

A key step in the development of in­no­va­ti­ve drugs for the treatment of cancer is the identification of mol­ecules that specifically intervene in the complex cellular processes of a degenerated cancer cell and thus improve our understanding of tumor biology. Verena Kunig from the Brunschweiger re­search group of the Faculty of Chem­is­try and Chemical Biology succeeded in using a DNA-encoded substance library (DEL) designed by her to identify mol­ecules that inhibit a tumor-re­le­vant, but for drug development very challenging mechanism. Her work was re­cent­ly presented as a VIP article in the internationally re­nowned journal An­ge­wand­te Chemie.

A new class of mol­ecules, which interferes with a cellular mechanism essential for many tumors, was found by Verena Kunig from the Brunschweiger group in an inter­dis­ci­plin­ary and in­ter­na­tio­nal re­search proj­ect. The mol­ecules inhibit the binding of two transcription factors, whose interaction is used by tumor cells to induce im­por­tant processes for cell growth, metastasis and the defense against tumor drugs. Her work was re­cent­ly presented to an in­ter­na­tio­nal audience as a VIP article in the re­nowned journal An­ge­wand­te Chemie. Only 5 % of all articles receive the status of VIP article, which is awarded to papers considered to be particularly im­por­tant.

The DNA-encoded substance library was produced from a chemically stable hexathymidine ("hexT") adapter oligonucleotide using the TiDEC technology developed by the Brunschweiger group in Dort­mund. It was designed by the first author using the Ugi multi-component reaction around indole structures to mimic the tryptophan amino acid side chain and thus to address protein-protein interactions. By subsequent copper-mediated alkyne-azide cycloaddition, a substance library consisting of thousands of DNA-encoded mol­ecules could be generated. Selection experiments of the DNA-encoded substance library on the disease-re­le­vant proteins MDM2 and TEAD4 led to the identification of a new MDM2-binder and to the dis­cov­ery of an inhibitor of the protein-protein interaction of the transcription factor TEAD4 with the co-activator protein YAP. This protein-protein interaction is misregulated in many tumors, for example by mutations that lead to increased activation of the TEAD-YAP transcription complex. The class of mol­ecules discovered by Verena Kunig has the potential to provide im­por­tant impulses for re­search on this tumor-re­le­vant mechanism.

The publication was developed in inter­dis­ci­plin­ary and in­ter­na­tio­nal collaboration with the working groups Rahnenführer and Fried from the Faculty of Sta­tis­tics at the TU Dort­mund Uni­ver­sity, who developed a new algorithm for drug dis­cov­ery with DNA-encoded libraries (DELs); with the working group Dömling from the Uni­ver­sity of Groningen, who provided im­por­tant support in the de­sign of the DEL; with Department IV of the Max Planck In­sti­tute of Molecular Physiology (MPI) and the AstraZeneca-MPI Satellite Unit, who investigated the compounds in vitro; and with the Lead Discovery Center GmbH Dort­mund (LDC), and the Ottmann working group from the Uni­ver­sity of Eindhoven, who investigated the mol­ecules in tumor cells. The work was made possible in im­por­tant parts by the Drug Discovery Hub Dort­mund (DDHD).

Digest article in Tetrahedron Letters published

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We re­cent­ly published a Digest Article in Tetrahedron Letters on recent advances in reaction development for DNA-encoded library synthesis. It gives the reader background in­for­mation on the technical challenges in translating reaction methodology.

Generous funding by the Deut­sche Forschungsgemein­schaft for the Brunschweiger re­search group

Logo Deutsche Forschungsgesellschaft © DFG

We are very grateful for most generous support by the Deut­sche Forschungs­gemein­schaft (DFG). The DFG will support a proj­ect to develop novel DNA-barcoding strategies that shall give access to encoded libraries covering unprecedented chemical space.

Inaugural lecture by Privatdozent Dr. An­dre­as Brunschweiger

PD Dr. Andreas Brunschweiger and Prof. Dr. Stefan Kast © CCB​/​TU Dort­mund
PD Dr. An­dre­as Brunschweiger and Prof. Dr. Stefan Kast

During a ceremony on January 15, 2020, Privatdozent Dr. An­dre­as Brunschweiger was awarded the Venia Legendi by the Dean of the Faculty of Chem­is­try and Chemical Biology, Pro­fes­sor Dr. Stefan Kast.

Dr. An­dre­as Brunschweiger studied pharmacy at the Uni­ver­sity of Kiel, received his doctorate at the Uni­ver­sity of Bonn in the group of Pro­fes­sor Christa Müller and did postdoctoral re­search in the group of Pro­fes­sor Jonathan Hall at the ETH Zurich before moving to the TU Dort­mund Uni­ver­sity in 2013 to establish his own re­search at the TU Dort­mund Uni­ver­sity in the field of DNA-encoded molecular libraries.

He was awarded the Venia Legendi of the Faculty of Chem­is­try and Chemical Biology by Pro­fes­sor Dr. Stefan Kast on January 15, 2020. In his inaugural lecture "Exploring heterogeneous systems for DNA-encoded library synthesis" An­dre­as Brunschweiger gave a short introduction to the manifold challenges but also opportunities in drug dis­cov­ery and the technology of DNA-encoded molecular libraries. This novel technology can make im­por­tant contributions to drug dis­cov­ery in the fu­ture. Dr. Brunschweiger outlined the state of the art and described new strategies that his working group at the TU Dort­mund Uni­ver­sity is developing for the de­sign of DNA-encoded molecule libraries. These extend the spectrum of methods for the synthesis of DNA-encoded libraries and thus enable access to greater molecular diversity. The screening of an encoded molecular library produced by his working group enabled the identification of a substance class that intervenes in a tumor-re­le­vant mechanism. Future fields of work in which his re­search group is engaged are the development of new coded molecule classes, the rational, diversity-oriented de­sign of coded molecule libraries, the use of laboratory automation to accelerate method development, but also library synthesis, and finally the broad application of the molecule libraries to find new drugs on disease-re­le­vant proteins. In these fields, his group works together with several working groups at the TU Dort­mund Uni­ver­sity in an inter­dis­ci­plin­ary way.


Studies on chemical DNA stability indicate approaches for the production of DNA-encoded molecule libraries

Grafische Illustration © CCB​/​TU Dort­mund

In a re­cent­ly published article, Dr. Brunschweiger's group describes an ex­ten­sive investigation of the chemical stability of DNA sequences. This enables chemists to select reactions for the synthesis of DNA-encoded molecule libraries used for drug screening. The work was published in the re­nowned journal Chemical Science and was especially appreciated as Inside Back Cover.

DNA-encoded molecule libraries have become a widely used technology for drug dis­cov­ery in the pharmaceutical industry. The synthesis of these molecular libraries is still limited to very few reactions despite the very impressive progress published in recent years. A blank space in this technology is the investigation of the chemical stability of DNA sequences. In their article "Screening of metal ions and organocatalysts on solid support-coupled DNA oligonucleotides guides de­sign of DNA-encoded reactions", published in the re­nowned journal Chemical Science, Marco Potowski and colleagues present a broad-based investigation of the chemical stability of DNA. The authors examined more than 50 metal ions and organic reagents for their compatibility with DNA. The results showed that surprisingly many of these metal ions and reagents hardly damaged DNA under rather mild reaction conditions. The results of this investigation allowed the selection of three reactions for the synthesis of DNA-encoded molecular libraries. It will enable chemists to select further reactions for DNA-encoded chem­is­try.

Interdisciplinary cooperation of the Brunschweiger group, Weberskirch and Raunser leads to a new approach for the production of DNA-encoded molecule libraries for drug dis­cov­ery

Grafische Illustration © CCB​/​TU Dort­mund

DNA-encoded molecule libraries have become a highly sought-after technology for drug dis­cov­ery. The development of new synthesis methods for the production of these molecule libraries is technically very challenging due to the chemical instability of DNA. An inter­dis­ci­plin­ary collaboration of the Brunschweiger group, Weberskirch and Raunser was able to develop a new approach for the production of DNA-encoded molecule libraries based on the encapsulation of catalysts in micelles. This work was re­cent­ly published in the re­nowned Journal of the American Chemical Society.

The search for new active ingredients is a complex, high-risk undertaking. The coupling of drug-like mol­ecules to DNA sequences, which act as barcodes of the mol­ecules, enables the cost-effective production of very large libraries of such mol­ecules and highly efficient testing for potential active ingredients. Up to now, the chemical instability of DNA has extremely limited the spectrum of methods for producing these molecule libraries. Therefore, a central challenge to further develop this exciting technology is the development of synthesis methods to produce a wide range of mol­ecules in an encoded form.

In an inter­dis­ci­plin­ary collaboration that could only be carried out in Dort­mund in this form worldwide, sci­en­tists from the two working groups Brunschweiger and Weberskirch at the TU Dort­mund Uni­ver­sity and the working group Raunser at the MPI Dort­mund have demonstrated the application of an in­no­va­ti­ve catalyst class for the synthesis of DNA-labeled mol­ecules. Polymers produced in Prof. Weberskirch's working group form nanometer-sized, three-dimensional structures, so-called oil-in-water micelles, in water and immobilize a catalyst in their hydrophobic core. This catalyst is thus inaccessibly encapsulated for the water-soluble DNA barcode. Dr. Brunschweiger's working group was able to demonstrate that in these nanoreactors small starting products coupled to DNA are selectively converted into desired target structures without DNA destruction. In the working group of Prof. Raunser, the reactions were examined by electron microscopic images. The principle of micellar catalysis shown here offers considerable potential for broad application not only in the synthesis of DNA-coded molecule libraries, but also for the selective modification of other biomacromolecules.

The re­search on micellar catalysis was re­cent­ly presented to an in­ter­na­tio­nal audience in the re­nowned Journal of the American Chemical Society.

"Micellar Brønsted Acid Mediated Synthesis of DNA-Tagged Heterocycles"
M. Klika Škopić, K. Götte, C. Gramse, M. Dieter, S. Pospich, S. Raunser, R. Weberskirch*, A. Brunschweiger, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2019, 141, 26, 10546-10555.

Award for the Brunschweiger group

Mitarbeiter des AK-Brunschweiger nehmen den Preis entgegen © CCB​/​TU Dort­mund

The Brunschweiger group is one of three winners of the scientific competition "Forum Jun­ge Spitzenforscher", which was or­ga­nized by the Center for Entre­preneur­ship and Transfer (CET) of the TU Dort­mund Uni­ver­sity. The group conducts re­search in the field of DNA-encoded molecular libraries that enable efficient drug dis­cov­ery. It was awarded for its development of DNA coding strategies that allow a broad spectrum of chemical synthetic methods to be transferred into an encoded format.

The Center for Entre­preneur­ship and Transfer (CET) at the TU Dort­mund Uni­ver­sity, in cooperation with the Stiftung Industrieforschung, has or­ga­nized a competition to promote the transfer of in­no­va­ti­ve ideas on the topic of "transformation". This competition was aimed at all universities in the Ruhr region. The first three places were awarded €10,000 each. The Ar­beits­kreis Brunschweiger was awarded third place for its re­search in the field of DNA-coded chem­is­try, as this re­search has a high potential for commercial applications in the field of pharmaceutical re­search. The coding of small, drug-like mol­ecules with DNA barcodes enables the production of very large numbers of such mol­ecules and to screen them as complex mixtures highly efficiently for potential drug candidates. The Brunschweiger group develops molecule coding strategies that address a problem that has been unsatisfactorily solved so far, the small number of synthesis methods used to produce these molecule libraries. They thus make a broad spectrum of molecule classes accessible in an encoded format for screening for active substances.

Presentation of the re­nowned In­no­va­ti­on Prize in Medicinal/Pharmaceutical Chem­is­try 2019 to Dr. An­dre­as Brunschweiger

Dr. Brunschweiger at the award ceremony © CCB​/​TU Dort­mund
Dr. An­dre­as Brunschweiger (m.)

The Society of German Chemists and the German Pharmaceutical Society awarded Dr. An­dre­as Brunschweiger, group leader in the Faculty of Chem­is­try and Chemical Biology, the re­nowned In­no­va­ti­on Prize in Medicinal/Pharmaceutical Chem­is­try at the con­fe­rence "Frontiers in Medicinal Chem­is­try" in Würzburg on March 26, 2019.

The In­no­va­ti­on Prize was awarded to Dr. Brunschweiger in recognition of his pioneering work in the field of synthesis of DNA-encoded molecular libraries. DNA-encoded molecule libraries are a novel technology that connects drug-like mol­ecules with synthetic DNA strands. The DNA strands serve as barcodes, so to speak, which identify the mol­ecules beyond any doubt. DNA labeling of mol­ecules allows sci­en­tists to generate extremely large databases of mol­ecules and to test them for potential active ingredients using a simple, highly efficient and cost-effective test system. One problem is so far the very narrow spectrum of synthesis methods that can be used to produce these molecule libraries. The Brunschweiger working group has found strategies that allow the use of a variety of synthesis methods for the production of encoded molecule libraries. In addition, in a very successful inter­dis­ci­plin­ary collaboration with the group of Prof. Weberskirch, in­no­va­ti­ve catalysts that do not damage DNA are being investigated for the synthesis of DNA-encoded mol­ecules. Currently, novel DNA-encoded molecule libraries are being synthesized as prototypes for various projects and tested for active ingredients using a software for reading DNA barcodes developed in cooperation with the Faculty of Sta­tis­tics at the TU Dort­mund Uni­ver­sity.


Katharina Götte joins the group as Ph.D. student. Wellcome!

Joint re­search proj­ect of the Brunschweiger group with Merck KGaA

The re­search group of An­dre­as Brunschweiger and Merck agreed to collaborate in the field of DNA-encoded chem­is­try. The aim of this joint re­search proj­ect is the development of new synthesis strategies to encoded compound libraries.

Joint re­search proj­ect of the Brunschweiger group with Bayer AG.

The re­search group of An­dre­as Brunschweiger and Bayer AG collaborate in the field of DNA-encoded chem­is­try. The aim of this joint re­search proj­ect is the development of new synthesis strategies to encoded compound libraries.

Poster prize for genetically encoded multicomponent reactions

Preisverleihung an Verena Kunig © CCB​/​TU Dort­mund

At the "7th International Conference on Multicomponent Reactions and Related Chem­is­try" in Düsseldorf, the paper by Verena Kunig from Dr. Brunschweiger's working group entitled "Genetic tagging of the Ugi-four-component reaction" was awarded one of three poster prizes.

In collaboration with the re­search group of Alexander Dömling at the Uni­ver­sity of Groningen, Ms. Kunig has synthesized a DNA-encoded substance library consisting of several thousand mol­ecules for the inhibition of disease-re­le­vant protein-protein interactions (for example the cancer-re­le­vant p53-Mdm2 interaction) using optimized Ugi four-component reaction conditions.

Renowned Klaus Grohe Prize for Medical Chem­is­try awarded to Dr. Škopic

Dr. Mateja Klika Škipić © CCB​/​TU Dort­mund
(f.l.t.r.) Karl-Heinz Baringhaus, Hans-Günther Schmalz, Preisträger Matthias Seidel und Mateja Klika Škopić, An­dre­as Brunschweiger, Oliver Werz

For her pioneering re­search in the field of DNA-encoded chem­is­try, Dr. Mateja Klika Škopić was awarded the prestigious Klaus Grohe Prize for Medical Chem­is­try at this year's Frontiers in Medicinal Chem­is­try con­fe­rence of the joint Medical Chem­is­try Section of the German Chemical Society (GDCh) and the German Pharmaceutical Society (DPhG) in Jena.

The Klaus Grohe Prize for medicinal chem­is­try is awarded by the Klaus Grohe Foun­da­tion. The founder, Prof. Dr. Klaus Grohe, developed in­no­va­ti­ve medicines with great success during his professional career at Bayer AG and is, among other things, the inventor of the broad-spectrum antibiotic ciprofloxacin. In 2001, Klaus and Eva Grohe established the Klaus Grohe Foun­da­tion at the Society of German Chemists, which aims to encourage highly qualified young people to turn to the challenging inter­dis­ci­plin­ary field of medicinal chem­is­try.

DNA-encoded molecule libraries are primarily used by the re­search-based pharmaceutical industry as a modern, highly efficient technology for the identification of active ingredients. The extremely limited spectrum of chemical-synthetic methods for the production of these molecular libraries is considered by researchers to be very disadvantageous.

Dr. Mateja Klika Škopić established the technology of DNA-encoded chem­is­try in the junior re­search group of Dr. An­dre­as Brunschweiger and received her PhD with distinction in December 2017 at the Faculty of Chem­is­try and Chemical Biology of TU Dort­mund Uni­ver­sity. In particular, she succeeded in developing a fundamentally new approach to DNA-coded libraries. The methodology developed by Dr. Klika Škopić allows for the first time the use of a significantly broader spectrum of synthesis methods for the production of these molecular libraries. The methodology thus enables the production of new chemically very diverse molecule libraries that can be used to search for active ingredients for disease-re­le­vant proteins. The method is trend-setting for the long-term further development of the technology of DNA-encoded chem­is­try and has the potential to make im­por­tant contributions to drug dis­cov­ery.


Our re­search in a short video (german):

New DNA coding strategy published in "Chemical Science"

Location & approach

The campus of TU Dort­mund Uni­ver­sity is located close to interstate junction Dort­mund West, where the Sauerlandlinie A 45 (Frankfurt-Dort­mund) crosses the Ruhrschnellweg B 1 / A 40. The best interstate exit to take from A 45 is "Dort­mund-Eichlinghofen" (closer to Cam­pus Süd), and from B 1 / A 40 "Dort­mund-Dorstfeld" (closer to Cam­pus Nord). Signs for the uni­ver­si­ty are located at both exits. Also, there is a new exit before you pass over the B 1-bridge leading into Dort­mund.

To get from Cam­pus Nord to Cam­pus Süd by car, there is the connection via Vo­gel­pothsweg/Baroper Straße. We recommend you leave your car on one of the parking lots at Cam­pus Nord and use the H-Bahn (suspended monorail system), which conveniently connects the two campuses.

TU Dort­mund Uni­ver­sity has its own train station ("Dort­mund Uni­ver­si­tät"). From there, suburban trains (S-Bahn) leave for Dort­mund main station ("Dort­mund Hauptbahnhof") and Düsseldorf main station via the "Düsseldorf Airport Train Station" (take S-Bahn number 1, which leaves every 20 or 30 minutes). The uni­ver­si­ty is easily reached from Bo­chum, Essen, Mülheim an der Ruhr and Duis­burg.

You can also take the bus or subway train from Dort­mund city to the uni­ver­si­ty: From Dort­mund main station, you can take any train bound for the Station "Stadtgarten", usually lines U41, U45, U 47 and U49. At "Stadtgarten" you switch trains and get on line U42 towards "Hombruch". Look out for the Station "An der Palmweide". From the bus stop just across the road, busses bound for TU Dort­mund Uni­ver­sity leave every ten minutes (445, 447 and 462). Another option is to take the subway routes U41, U45, U47 and U49 from Dort­mund main station to the stop "Dort­mund Kampstraße". From there, take U43 or U44 to the stop "Dort­mund Wittener Straße". Switch to bus line 447 and get off at "Dort­mund Uni­ver­si­tät S".

The H-Bahn is one of the hallmarks of TU Dort­mund Uni­ver­sity. There are two stations on Cam­pus Nord. One ("Dort­mund Uni­ver­si­tät S") is directly located at the suburban train stop, which connects the uni­ver­si­ty directly with the city of Dort­mund and the rest of the Ruhr Area. Also from this station, there are connections to the "Technologiepark" and (via Cam­pus Süd) Eichlinghofen. The other station is located at the dining hall at Cam­pus Nord and offers a direct connection to Cam­pus Süd every five minutes.

The AirportExpress is a fast and convenient means of transport from Dort­mund Airport (DTM) to Dort­mund Central Station, taking you there in little more than 20 minutes. From Dort­mund Central Station, you can continue to the uni­ver­si­ty campus by interurban railway (S-Bahn). A larger range of in­ter­na­tio­nal flight connections is offered at Düsseldorf Airport (DUS), which is about 60 kilometres away and can be directly reached by S-Bahn from the uni­ver­si­ty station.

The facilities of TU Dort­mund Uni­ver­sity are spread over two campuses, the larger Cam­pus North and the smaller Cam­pus South. Additionally, some areas of the uni­ver­si­ty are located in the adjacent "Technologiepark".

Site Map of TU Dort­mund Uni­ver­sity (Second Page in English).