Sofie Schellinck

Main Supervisor: Prof. Dr. José Martins


Sofie Schellinck studied at Ghent University, where she obtained her Master of Science in Chemistry magna cum laude under the supervision of prof. José C. Martins. Her master thesis, titled ‘‘A Combined NMR and In-Silico Investigation of DOX6, a Doxycycline Binding DNA Aptamer’’ introduced her to the world of aptamers and the structure analysis of DNA-small molecule complexes by NMR spectroscopy and molecular dynamics.

Currently, she is doing her PhD in the NMRSTR group (under the supervision of prof. José C. Martins, main PI) in a joint research project with the OBCR group (under supervision of prof. Annemieke Madder) at Ghent University and the A-Sense Lab (prof. Karolien De Wael, Antwerp University).

Her research aims at better understanding the underlying molecular mechanisms taking place during an aptamer-target interaction. For this, she studies aptamer-small molecule model systems available from literature, using NMR spectroscopy.

Phone: 0032 9 264 44 77

Research Project

Towards a better understanding of the underlying molecular mechanisms during an aptamer-target interaction.

The potential of DNA aptamers as small molecule bioreceptors in sensors is well recognized. However many challenges remain to be addressed for these to break-through in real world applications. One challenge concerns addressing the lack of insight at the molecular level of the factors determining affinity and selectivity, as well as going beyond the simplified, cartoon-like approach in describing the underlying sensing mechanism.

Within the current PhD project, we describe efforts to contribute towards this goal by developing NMR based strategies, using aptamer-small molecule model systems available from literature. In collaboration with the A-Sense Lab research group (Prof. K. De Wael), parallel studies of these aptamers with nESI-MS and ITC can be done as well.