What & Where?

calixDNA is the acronym of the research project by its full name “Biomimetic “funnel” and “bowl” supramolecular systems for the selective recognition of DNA/RNA“. Research funded and envisaged in the frame of this project will be conducted in a virtual research unit at three locations: i) Laboratory of Chemical and Biological Crystallography of the Ruđer Bošković Institute (RBI) in Zagreb, Croatia, ii) Laboratory for Biomolecular Interactions and Spectroscopy of the Ruđer Bošković Institute in Zagreb, Croatia, and iii) Group of Supramolecular Bioinorganic Chemistry, Laboratoire de Chimie et Biochimie Toxicologiques et Pharmacologiques, CNRS UMR 8601, Université de Paris (UdP), Paris, France.

Funding and support

The calixDNA project (IP-2020-02-3786) is funded by the Croatian Science Foundation (CSF) with HRK 1.483.000 over four years time (from Feb. 1st, 2021 to Jan. 31st, 2025). Ruđer Bošković Institute provides full infrastructural and administrative support to the project.


Principal investigator at the calixDNA project is dr. sc. Aleksandar Višnjevac, senior research associate at the RBI. The PI is joined by four senior scientists to make up the project team: prof. dr. sc. Olivia Reinaud and dr. sc. Benoit Colasson from the UdP, and dr. sc. Ivo Piantanida and emerita dr. sc. Biserka Kojić-Prodić from the RBI. The project team is joined, starting with 1st of August, 2021, by dr. sc. Ivana Nikšić-Franjić, PostDoc researcher for a two-years period, and will eventually be joined by a PhD student, for a three-years period of time. Consulting and support to the project team is generously provided by prof. Karl Gruber from the Institute for molecular biosciences in Graz, Austria, and by prof. dr. sc. Udo Heinemann from the Max Delbrück Centre in Berlin, Germany.


The ultimate result of the proposed research will be the set of potent, highly selective DNA/RNA binders with a variety of potential applications, developed from an initial set of calixarene and resorcinarene based supramolecular biomimetic compounds, through a comprehensive iterative research of their structural and functional features.


calixDNA will bring an important milestone within the field of macromolecular crystallography in general – first crystal structures of the complexes containing oligonucleotides (as models for DNA/RNA sequences) and calixarene/resorcinarene based binders. For Croatia, calixDNA will mark the introduction of the nucleic acid structural research based on single crystal X-ray diffraction studies. Although the proposed research belongs to the category of fundamental interdisciplinary research in natural sciences, its results will have a clear application potential in a wide range of domains, from pharmacology and life sciences to development of novel molecular sensors and smart (nano)materials.