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June 28, 2013

Professor Dr. Nicolai Cramer receives BASF Catalysis Award 2013

Gerald Ondrey

For his outstanding research contributions to catalytic processes in synthesis of biologically active molecules, Professor Dr. Nicolai Cramer is receiving the BASF Catalysis Award 2013. Professor Cramer heads the laboratory of asymmetric catalysis and synthesis at the École Polytechnique Fédérale (EPF; Lausanne, Switzerland). The prize, worth €10,000, will be presented today by Dr. Andreas Kreimeyer, Member of the Board of Executive Directors of BASF SE (Ludwigshafen, Germany; www.basf.com) and Research Executive Director, at the “Heidelberg Forum of Molecular Catalysis,” a symposium of international experts organized jointly by Heidelberg University, Collaborative Research Center 623 “Molecular Catalysts” and BASF SE.

“Catalysis is an important key technology for the chemical industry and is an indispensable tool for accessing new feedstocks and developing new energy efficient production processes,” says Kreimeyer. As a company with a leading international research and development platform for catalysts, BASF therefore attaches particular importance to promoting excellent young researchers in this field.

With his research group centered at EPF Lausanne, Professor Cramer is working particularly in the field of enantioselective metal-catalyzed transformations and their implementation for the synthesis of complex biologically active molecules. The Cramer lab works on the development of broadly applicable catalytic methods for the selective functionalization of relatively inert C–H and C–C bonds with different transition-metal complexes.

“We are developing precise tools for all fields that produce molecules with high reactivity and selectivity. Our methods are suited for a faster synthesis because in medical research it is also essential to produce possible active ingredients rapidly. In this way, we have synthesized and identified molecules that show an anti-HIV effect. In doing this we closely collaborate with the life sciences faculty in Lausanne,” explains the prize winner Nicolai Cramer. “But other interesting fields also exist such as material sciences in which we can provide a better approach to molecules that for example are used for organic electronics.”

The “Heidelberg Forum of Molecular Catalysis,” an international scientific symposium of top class researchers based at Heidelberg University, is being held this year for the seventh time. The event offers scientists from academia and industry the opportunity to exchange news and information about the latest research activities in molecular catalysis. Plenary presentations are being held this year not only by the prizewinner but also by Professors Stephen L. Buchwald, MIT, Cambridge, Mass., Peter Chen, ETH Zürich, Switzerland, and the Nobel Prize laureate Ei-ichi Negishi, Purdue University, Indiana.

 

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