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. Since then, they have been his “every-day” research compounds.
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 of the University in Zürich as a SNSF Ambizione fellow.
Since March 2011, Gilles is an assistant professor at the same institution endowed with a SNSF professorship. His current research interests cover various fields of inorganic chemical biology and medicinal inorganic chemistry, thereby focusing in using metal complexes to modulate the properties of biomolecules.
Gilles likes traveling, hiking and playing/watching sports - a high percentage of his free-time is spent training for long-distance runs. As a good chemist, he also likes cooking and producing his own beer!