Professor Varinder Aggarwal (University of Bristol) : Title to be defined

Varinder K. Aggarwal studied chemistry at Cambridge University and received his Ph.D. in 1986 under the guidance of Dr. Stuart Warren. After postdoctoral studies (1986-1988) under Prof. Gilbert Stork, Columbia University, he returned to the UK as a Lecturer at Bath University. In 1991 he moved to Sheffield University, where he was promoted to Professor in in 1997. In 2000 he moved to Bristol University where he holds the Alfred Capper Pass Chair in Chemistry. He was elected Fellow of the Royal Society in 2012. 

Research interests include synthesis, mechanistic studies, and total synthesis of natural and non-natural products. The aim of our research is to design and develop new synthetic tools, allowing ultimately for the efficient and rapid synthesis of complex targets and biologically relevant compounds. Our current focus is in the field of organoboron chemistry, since boron seems to possess a unique ability to orchestrate many processes cleanly and with high stereochemical fidelity.

Professor Janine Cossy (ESPCI Paris Tech) :"Synthesis of complex molecules and development of methods"

Janine Cossy’s early career was spent in Reims, where she did her undergraduate and graduate studies at the University of Champagne-Ardenne, working on photochemistry under the supervision of Pr. Jean Pierre Pète. After a postdoctoral stay with Pr. Barry Trost, for two years at the University of Wisconsin (USA), she returned to Reims where she became, in 1990, Director of Research at the CNRS. In the same year, she moved to Paris and, since 1990, she is Professor of Organic Chemistry at the ESPCI Paris. Janine Cossy's research interests focus on the synthesis of natural products and biologically active molecules and on the development of synthetic methods (organometallic reactions, catalysis, ring expansions, opening of strained rings, methods for the synthesis of heterocyclic compounds, stereoselective reactions). Her research efforts have resulted in more than 510 publications and 15 patents. Among the awards, she received the CNRS Bronze Medal (1987), the CNRS Silver Medal (1996), UK Royal Society Rosalyn Franklin International Lecturership awarded to internationally recognized women scientists (UK) (2005), Le Bel Award from the French Chemical Society (France) (2009). In 2013, she was nominated Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur and in 2015, she obtained the E.C. Taylor Senior Award (USA). She is a member of the French Academy of s sciences since 2017.
She is the co-founder of two companies: CDP-Innovation and Acanthe-Biotech.

Professor Donald Craig (Imperial College London) :"Enantiospecific synthesis of 5- and 6-membered nitrogen heterocycles"

Don Craig obtained his chemistry degree at Imperial College (1983), and his Ph.D. (1986) also at Imperial, working for his doctorate on insect antifeedant synthesis under the supervision of Professor Steve Ley FRS. In 1986/87 he spent 11 months as an SERC/NATO postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Professor Clark Still at Columbia University. He was appointed to the academic staff at Imperial College in 1987 as a lecturer in the Department of Chemistry, and in 1997 was promoted to Reader; in 2000 he was promoted to a personal Chair in the Department. In 1994 he received the ZENECA Award for Research in Organic Chemistry and the Pfizer Academic Award, and in 1996 received one of the Glaxo Wellcome Awards for Innovative Organic Chemistry. In 1998 he was awarded a NOVARTIS Chemistry Lectureship, and received the Corday-Morgan Medal and Prize of the Royal Society of Chemistry the same year. His research interests are stereoselective organic synthesis methods development and the total synthesis of alkaloid natural products.

Professor Pierre De Clercq (UGhent) : "August Kekulé: Beyond the Snake Dream"

Pierre J. De Clercq obtained a PhD at Ghent University in 1973 working under the advisorship of professor Maurits Vandewalle. He held postdoctoral appointments at the University of California (Santa Cruz) working with professor John McMurry (1974-75), and at the University Chemical Laboratories in Cambridge working with professor Ralph Raphael (1977). For 20 years (1969-1989), he has conducted his scientific career as a research fellow of the Research Foundation in Belgium. During that period he has been a visiting professor at the Free University of Brussels (1984-86) and at the Catholic University of Leuven (1987-88). In 1989, he joined the Faculty of Sciences at Ghent University as professor, and was promoted to full professor in 1994. He was head of the Organic Chemistry Department from 2002 until 2012. He retired in October 2013.

His earlier work focused on natural product total synthesis and conformational analyses of ring systems, mostly in the terpene series, and is characterized by highly step economical approaches to several imoprtant classes of natural products, such as (pseudo)guaianolides, 11-oxo-steroids and gibberellic acids. In later work, he bacame more closely involved with biology and focused on the synthesis of analogues of vitamin D3 (calcitriol) in collaboration with the group of professor Vandewalle and on ene-diyne antibiotic-inspired scaffolds for application in cancer therapies. He also had an active interest in enzyme catalyzed processes, in particular the cationic polyene cyclization reactions involved in terpene biosynthesis.

After his retirement he became interested in the life of August Kekulé, in particular in the short period (1858-1867) during which professor Kekulé was active in Ghent and realised his most important scientific contributions. In recognition of his efforts to highlight this historically important figure Pierre De Clercq was awarded a Sarton medal in 2015-2016.

Professor Ben Feringa, Nobel Prize of Chemistry 2016 (University of Groningen) : "From Molecules to Dynamic Molecular Systems"

Ben L. Feringa obtained his PhD degree at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands under the guidance of Professor Hans Wynberg. 
After working as a research scientist at Shell in the Netherlands and the UK, he was appointed lecturer and in 1988 full professor at the University of Groningen and named the Jacobus H. van 't Hoff Distinguished Professor of Molecular Sciences in 2004. He was elected Foreign Honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is a member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences as well as a member of the Council of the Royal Society of Chemistry. In 2008 he was appointed Academy Professor and he was knighted by Her Majesty the Queen of the Netherlands. Feringa’s research has been recognized with numerous awards including the Körber European Science Award (2003), the Spinoza Award (2004), the Prelog gold medal (2005), the Norrish Award of the ACS (2007), the Paracelsus medal (2008), the Chirality medal (2009), the RSC Organic Stereochemistry Award (2011), the Humboldt award (2012), the Nagoya gold medal (2013), the ACS Cope Scholar Award (2015), the Chemistry for the Future Solvay Prize (2015), the August-Wilhelm-von-Hoffman Medal (2016), The 2016 Nobel prize in Chemistry, the Tetrahedron Prize (2017) and the European Chemistry Gold Medal (2018). Feringa’s research interest includes stereochemistry, organic synthesis, asymmetric catalysis, molecular switches and motors, self-assembly, molecular nanosystems and photopharmacology.

Professor Ari Koskinen (Aalto University) :"Total synthesis of Natural Products as a Driver for Development of New Methods"

Professor Ari M.P.Koskinen was born on September 22, 1956 in Finland. He received his M.Sc. (Chem. Eng.) in 1979 (with professor T. Hase, development of the synthesis of alkyl tert-alkyl ethers for anti-knock agents), Licentiate in Technology in 1982 and Doctor of Technology in 1983 (with professor M. Lounasmaa, methodology development on the modified Polonovski reaction for indole alkaloid synthesis), all at the Helsinki University of Technology, Finland. After postdoctoral studies at the University of California, Berkeley (professor Henry Rapoport 1983-85 and 1987-88, total synthesis of anatoxin-a, and conformationally constrained peptidomimetics) he accepted an appointment as a Project Leader in New Drug Development at Orion Corporation – Fermion, Finland (1985-1987). His research group was among the first in Scandinavia to adopt computer aided drug design (QSAR and CoMFA) as well as computerized database handling protocols in new lead identification. Returning to the Academia, he joined the University of Surrey, England, as a lecturer in 1989. He was then appointed as Professor of Chemistry (especially Synthetic Organic Chemistry) at the University of Oulu, Finland in 1992, and transferred to his current position at the Helsinki University of Technology in August, 1999 (Aalto University since 2010) as Professor of Organic Chemistry (the old Gustav Komppa chair). Prof. Koskinen is a member of the Finnish Academy of Sciences and Letters since 2003. He is the author or co-author of some 190 publications, ten patents and two books.

Dr Trevor Laird (Trevor Laird Associates) :"Scaling up Organic Chemistry to Kg and Tonne Scale; what goes wrong!!"

After a PhD in Photochemistry at London University and a Post-doc with David Ollis at Sheffield, Trevor Joined ICI in 1973 where he worked on chemicals for electronics, speciality chemicals and agrochemicals. It was here that he developed an avid interest in process chemistry which continues to this day. In 1979 he joined SmithKline and was in charge of a group of 30 process chemists responsible for development and scale up of all SmithKline’s development compounds. During this time he also developed training courses internally for process chemists and in 1988 wrote a review setting out the principles of process chemistry in Comprehensive Medicinal Chemistry.

In 1989 he left to set up Scientific Update, a company devoted to the continuing education of chemists and engineers in industry and to the organization of process chemistry related conferences which helped to put the subject on the map. He was a key figure in the setting up of a specialist journal for process chemistry with ACS and was the Editor-in-Chief of Organic Process Research and Development from 1996 until 2014. He is noted for his outspoken and sometimes humorous editorials, one of which was banned, and one of which was written entirely in limerick format (and accepted!).

With his expertise in process chemistry and related topics, such as crystallization and polymorphism; optimization, automation of processes, troubleshooting manufacturing problems etc, he has been a consultant to over 110 companies in the last 28 years. He has also acted as an expert witness in over 30 process-related litigations in 12 countries.

In 2014 he passed on the controlling interest in Scientific Update to his colleagues and now, working part time, focuses on consultancy and expert witness work under the name Trevor Laird Associates, though he still works closely with Scientific Update.

Professor Annemieke Madder (UGhent) : "Design and synthesis of complex biomolecular constructs for diagnostic devices"

Annemieke Madder obtained her Ph.D in organic chemistry from Ghent University in 1997, under the direction of Prof. Dr. P. De Clercq working on the stepwise development of non-enzymatic hydrolases. As a national science foundation fellow, she went for postdoctoral stays with Prof. Dr. C. Gennari at the University of Milan and with Prof. Dr. R. Strömberg at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden to become acquainted with peptide and oligonucleotide chemistry respectively. She returned to Ghent to take up a position as Lecturer in 2002 and start her independent career. After climbing the ranks, she was promoted Full Professor at the Department of Organic and Macromolecular Chemistry in 2014. Currently she is heading the Organic and Biomimetic Chemistry Research Group specialized in the design and synthesis of modified peptides and nucleic acids and methods for their conjugation and labeling.

More specifically, major research interests include:
– The construction of conformationally defined peptide architectures. Scaffold decoration, cyclisation and peptide stapling are used to impose a particular conformation and stability on the parent peptides. The synthesized compounds can find applications as peptide vaccins, protein mimetics, DNA-binding ligands and artificial receptors or synthetic antibodies.
– The development of new methods for crosslinking and labeling of biomacromolecules such as peptides, proteins and oligonucleotides. E.g. a very efficient furan-oxidation based method has been developed for the site-selective labeling or introduction of covalent bonds between two binding partners.
– The design of novel reactive peptide and oligonucleotide based probes, including peptide nucleic acids, for applications in antisense and antigene strategies, protein and miRNA/lncRNA target identification and receptor pulldown.

Professor Anita Maguire (University College Cork) : "Recent advances in enantioselective catalysis"

Anita R. Maguire undertook undergraduate and postgraduate studies at University College Cork (B.Sc., 1985; Ph.D., 1989), focusing during her studies on asymmetric catalysis in reactions of α-diazoketones. Following postdoctoral research in the Facultes Universitaires, Namur, Belgium, and subsequently at the University of Exeter, she returned to Cork in 1991 initially as a Lecturer in Organic Chemistry, then as Associate Professor of Organic Chemistry in 2002, and then as the first Professor of Pharmaceutical Chemistry in 2004. In 2011 she was appointed as Vice President for Research and Innovation at University College Cork. She was an Adjunct Professor at the University of Bergen from 2011-16. Her research interests include asymmetric synthesis, including transition-metal catalysis and biocatalysis, the development of novel synthetic methodology employing α-diazocarbonyl compounds, organosulfur chemistry, and continuous flow chemistry, and the design and synthesis of bioactive compounds with potential pharmaceutical applications. Anita is a co-PI in the Synthesis and Solid State Pharmaceutical Centre (SSPC). She is the inaugural Chair of the National Forum on Research Integrity and was elected a Member of the Royal Irish Academy in 2014.

Professor Steven Nolan (UGhent) : "Synthetic Access to Metal-NHC complexes for Catalysis"

Steven P. Nolan was born in Canada. He received his B.Sc. in Chemistry from the University of West Florida and his Ph.D. from the University of Miami where he worked under the supervision of Professor Carl D. Hoff. After a postdoctoral stay with Professor Tobin J. Marks at Northwestern University, he joined the Department of Chemistry of the University of New Orleans in 1990. In 2006 he joined the Institute of Chemical Research of Catalonia (ICIQ) as Group leader and ICREA Research Professor. In early 2009, he joined the School of Chemistry at the University of St Andrews where he held the Chair in Inorganic Chemistry and Catalysis. In 2015, he moved back to the continent and joined Ghent University

Professor Dieter Schinzer (University of Magdeburg) : "Recent Progress in Complex Natural Products Synthesis"

Professor Dieter SchinzerDieter Schinzer studied chemistry at the Philipps-Universität Marburg from 1974 to 1977. In 1980 he obtained a doctorate from Dr. Manfred T. Reetz at the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-University in Bonn ("Preparatory and Mechanical Aspects the elimination of hydride from carbanions"). As a postdoctoral fellow, he worked with a Feodor Lynen Foundation of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation with Clayton H. Heathcock of the University of California at Berkeley and with a Liebig Scholarship of the Industrial Chemistry Fund with Ekkehard Winterfeldt of the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz University of Hannover. , where he also qualified in 1986. In 1986 he also received a medal of honor from the Werner-von-Siemens-Ring Foundation for young scientists.

With the support of the Heisenberg program, Dieter Schinzer continued to work at the University of Hanover, before taking a post as an acting professor at the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen in 1989/90. A visiting professor led him to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, before being appointed professor in 1990 at the Technical University of Braunschweig. In 1996, Dieter Schinzer received a call from the Otto von Guericke University of Magdeburg. He refused an appeal to the University of Oslo in 2001.

Since 2002, Dieter Schinzer has been managing MOLISA (Molecular Links Saxony-Anhalt) based in Magdeburg. From 2002 to 2005, he was Dean of the Faculty of Process Engineering and Systems at the University of Magdeburg. He has been and is active in many committees of the European scientific organization COST.

Professor Schinzer is particularly interested in the total synthesis of biologically active natural products, the design of drugs and the relationship between the chemical structure and the function of molecules. After Samuel Danishefsky and Kyriacos Costa Nicolaou, professor Dieter Schinzer was one of the first to achieve total synthesis of an epothilone.

Professor John Sigurd Svendsen (The Arctic University of Norway) : "Unexpected chemistry provides unexpected protein kinase inhibitors"

Professor John S. Mjøen Svendsen received his PhD from the University of Tromsø, and has been visiting scientist at several distinguished international institutions, including in the laboratory of Professor K.B. Sharpless (Nobel Laureate, Chemistry, 2001) at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is a Professor of organic chemistry in the Faculty of Sciences at the UiT, the Arctic University of Norway. He is currently working with antimicrobial peptides and peptidomimetics as well as protein kinase inhibitors for the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders, in particular Alzheimer’s disease.

Dr. Svendsen is also a co-founder of several companies, working with cancer immunotherapy, antimicrobial coating technology and neurodegenerative diseases.