Prof. Dr. Tanja Weil

Prof. Dr. Tanja Weil joined the Max Planck Society in 2017 as one of the directors of the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research, heading the division “Synthesis of Macromolecules”. She studied chemistry (1993–1998) at the TU Braunschweig (Germany) and the University of Bordeaux I (France) and completed her PhD at the MPI for Polymer Research under the supervision of K. Müllen. In 2003, she received the Otto Hahn Medal of the Max Planck Society. From 2002 to 2008 she managed different leading positions at Merz Pharmaceuticals GmbH (Frankfurt) from Section Head Medicinal Chemistry to Director of Chemical Research and Development. In 2008 she accepted an Associate Professor position at the National University of Singapore. Tanja Weil joined Ulm University as Director of the Institute of Organic Chemistry III / Macromolecular Chemistry in 2010. She has received numerous competitive funding at both national and international level including a Synergy Grant of the European Research Council (ERC). She serves in many advisory boards and steering committees: she is a member of the senate of the German Research Foundation, a member of the senate of the Leibniz Association and of the Leibniz evaluation panel. Tanja is an associate editor for JACS and a member of the editorial advisory board of ACS Nano. Her scientific interests focus on innovative synthesis concepts to achieve functional macromolecules and hybrid materials to solve current challenges in biomedicine and material science. 

Selected Awards

2023 Karl Ziegler Award
2022 Laureate Dr. Manfred-Jäger-Symposium, Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf


2022 Annual Warwick Polymer Chemistry International Lectureship


Netherlands Scholar Award for Supramolecular Chemistry, February 2020


Honorary Professor Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz


Honorary Professor Ulm University


Bruno-Werdelmann-Lecture of the University Duesburg-Essen, Germany


Solvay Colloquium, Brussels, Belgium


Synergy Grant of the European Research Council (ERC)


Otto Hahn Medal of the Max Planck Society, Germany

Selected Professional Activities


University Council Member of Ulm University


Advisory Board Member for Biotechnology of the State of Rhineland-Palatinate

2021 –

Fellow of the executive Board of the Max Planck School Matter to Life (MtL)


Associate Editor, Journal of the American Chemical Society, ACS


Board Member of the Mildred Scheel Foundation for German Cancer Research


Director Max Planck-Bristol Centre for Minimal Biology


Associate Editor ACS Nano, ACS


Editorial Board Member Angewandte Chemie, Wiley


Senate Member of the German Research Foundation


Steering Committee Member of the Max Planck Graduate Center (MPGC), Mainz, Germany


Member of the Senate of the Leibniz Association and member of the evaluation panel


Advisory Board Member Advanced Science, Wiley

Publication Highlight

Dual Stimuli-Responsive Dynamic Covalent Peptide Tags: Toward Sequence-Controlled Release in Tumor-like Microenvironments
We designed dual responsive dynamic covalent peptide tags combining a pH responsive boronate ester with fast association and dissociation rates, and a redox-active disulfide with slow formation and dissociation rate. In this way, some limitations in linker design can be overcome for controlled release in the tumor microenvironment. more
Controlled Supramolecular Assembly inside Living Cells by Sequential Multi-staged Chemical Reactions.
A modular platform that incorporates intricate molecular recognition, immolative, and rearrangement chemistry to achieve synthetic assembly within living cells. more
Photo-controlled Dopamine Polymerization on DNA Origami with low Nanometer Resolution.
Temporal and spatial control over polydopamine formation on the nanoscale can be achieved by installing an irradiation-sensitive polymerization system on DNA origami. more
Detection of Few Hydrogen Peroxide Molecules Using Self-Reporting Fluorescent Nanodiamond Quantum Sensors
We devised a nanoscale sensor based on nanodiamonds to monitor and quantitatively assess the distribution of H2O2 molecules inside living cells, with molecular-level sensitivity. more
Autonomous Ultrafast Self-Healing Hydrogels by pH-Responsive Functional Nanofiber Gelators as Cell Matrices
We report the synthesis of hybrid hydrogels by pH-controlled structural transition with exceptional rheological properties as cellular matrix. The strategy offers many attractive opportunities for 3D tissue engineering and other biomedical applications. more
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