Michael M. Lerch studied Interdisciplinary Sciences at ETH Zurich (Switzerland) to obtain his BSc (2009 - 2012) and MSc (2012-2014) degree. During his studies, he visited the University of Cambridge (UK) and for his Bachelor's Thesis worked on a total synthesis in the group of Prof. Steven V. Ley. Michael conducted his Master's Thesis under the supervision of Prof. Robert H. Grubbs on the topic of regioselectivity in Wacker-type oxidations at the California Institute of Technology (US).
His PhD studies at the University of Groningen under the supervision of Prof. Ben L. Feringa (July 2014 - June 2018, cum laude) focused on controlling biological systems with light. During his Ph.D. he developed orthogonal photoswitching and set the basis of an understanding of the photoswitching mechanism of donor–acceptor Stenhouse adducts.
Since Nov. 2018, Michael works as a postdoctoral fellow with Prof. Joanna Aizenberg at Harvard University and the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering (supported by a NWO Rubicon grant). His research focuses on microstructured liquid crystalline surfaces with self-regulated motion and feedback-controlled optically active hydrogels. He is fascinated by nature’s materials and combines his expertise in organic synthesis, supramolecular- and photochemistry with engineering approaches to create hybrid materials with the ability to self-regulate, coordinate their action and communicate.