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Philipp Heretsch wins first prize in DSM Science & Technology Awards (South) 2010

Heerlen, NL, 23 Jun 2010 14:15 CEST

German researcher Philipp Heretsch has won first prize in the DSM Science & Technology Awards (South) 2010. An international judging committee, chaired by Dr Manfred Eggersdorfer, Senior Vice President Nutritional Science & Nutrition and Health Advocacy at DSM Nutritional Products, selected Philipp Heretsch, who obtained his doctorate from the Universität Leipzig in Germany for his PhD research in the field of preparative organic chemistry.

Philipp Heretsch has pioneered a chemical synthesis route for the naturally occurring active compound cyclopamine, plus more stable and acid resistant derivatives thereof. This research is considered to be a great achievement in the development of more efficient therapeutic actives for cancer treatment. Dr Heretsch was presented the award by Dr Eggersdorfer and Dr Leendert Staal, President and CEO of DSM Nutritional Products on Tuesday, June 22, at an awards event at Grand Hotel Victoria-Jungfrau in Interlaken (Switzerland). As the winner of the first prize he will also receive a cash prize of EUR 10,000.

The second prize (EUR 5,000) was awarded to Thomas Böttcher of the Ludwig Maximilians Universität München (Germany) for his PhD research on natural products and their derivatives as molecular probes that allow the identification of their dedicated biological targets in bacterial cells. The third prize (EUR 2,500) went to Grit Kummerlöwe of Technische Universität München (Germany) for her PhD work on the measurement of anisotropic NMR parameters. The other nine finalists will each receive a cash prize of EUR 1,250.

The DSM Science & Technology Awards ‘South’ form part of the DSM Innovation Awards Program. They are granted for outstanding PhD research by doctoral students from Switzerland, which is the home base of DSM Nutritional Products, and the neighboring regions of Austria, Northern France and Southern Germany.

Commenting on this year’s awards, Mr Staal said: ‘Science and technology impact every aspect of our daily lives. Industry and academia can work together to explore and develop the solutions the world is looking for. Our R&D programs draw to a great extent on our network of key opinion leaders and our cooperation with universities in many different fields. Therefore it is a privilege for DSM to honor outstanding young researchers who are pushing the frontiers of science.

Report of the judging committee

In its report about the winner of the first prize, the judging committee said it was impressed by the well-established concept and the broad range of steps covered by the research of Philipp Heretsch: ’Moreover, he reported about encouraging preliminary in vitro and in vivo proof of concept studies.’ The judging committee commended the high quality of the work of all the other finalists.

The winners of the first, second and third prizes

Philipp Heretsch conducted his research at the Institut für Organische Chemie, Universität Leipzig (Germany), under the supervision of Prof. Athanassios Giannis.

Thomas Böttcher conducted his research at the Department Chemie, Ludwig Maximilians Universität München (Germany), under the supervision of Prof. Stephan A. Sieber.

Grit Kummerlöwe conducted her research at the Department Chemie, Technische Universität München (Germany), under the supervision of Prof. Burkhard Luy.

Other winners

The other nine prize-winners are:

  • Cédric Atmanene: Département des Sciences Analytiques, Université Louis Pasteur Strasbourg (France)
  • Benjamin Blaise: Centre de RMN à Très Hauts Champs, Université de Lyon (France)
  • Simone Bonazzi: Department Chemie, ETH Zurich (Switzerland)
  • Florence Collet: Institute Chimie des Substances Naturelles, CNRS, Gif-sur-Yvette (France)
  • Kateryna Lypetska: Institut für Organische Chemie, Technische Universität Graz (Austria)
  • Thomas Magauer: Institut für Organische Chemie, Universität Wien (Austria)
  • Florian Pitterl: Institute of Legal Medicine, Medizinische Universität Innsbruck (Austria)
  • Antonio Tricoli: Institute of Process Engineering, ETH Zürich (Switzerland)
  • Christian Wasmer: Laboratorium für Physikalische Chemie, ETH Zürich (Switzerland)

Two parallel awards schemes

DSM launched the Science & Technology Awards twenty-five years ago. The awards are granted to PhD researchers from two parts of Europe: the region comprising The Netherlands, Belgium and Northern Germany (DSM Science & Technology Awards – North) and the region comprising Switzerland, Austria, Northern France and Southern Germany (DSM Science & Technology Awards – South).