News

8

December

2020

Dreaming big about the smallest things: Dream Chemistry Award 2020

On the 1 December, the jury has announced the winner of this year's Dream Chemistry Award. Because of the pandemic restrictions, the whole event has been carried online.

The Dream Chemistry Award and 10000 € prize went to Claudia Bonfio (MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology and University of Cambridge) for a dream about understanding the origins of chemical communication at the origin of life. The laureate captured the jury's heart with her presentation on tracing the origins of communication to the earliest cells existing on Earth. She proposed the innovative way of recreating such primitive entities in the lab and then "listen" chemically to how they exchange information. Although her dream seems detached from everyday life, it may give us powerful tools, e.g. in the fight against cancer.

As she explained: "We know that cancer cells release molecules into the environment to communicate with recipient cells, for example, to promote metastasis. Blocking the communication might stop cancer from proliferation. But first we have to understand it at the basic level of artificial cells. This dream could also allow us to develop artificial cells that can communicate with pathogens, providing, for example, a way to prevent infections.”

Ivana Drienovska (Vrije Universiteit) dreams about making fluorinated compounds as catalysts with new reactivities. As she described: "The idea of this project is to be able to perform fluorination reactions on a whole set of compounds, with particular attention to substrates used in pharmaceutical industries. I want to exchange some of the current methods, requiring harsh, harmful to the environment, chemical steps, for enzymatic processes. This way I can get a whole new set of artificial, eco-friendly, catalytic enzymes".

Paweł Dydio (Universite de Strasbourg, ISIS) wants to utilize artificial intelligence for engineering networks of reactions. All reactions would act in parallel within the network, as in "real" biological reactions. Creating such a chemical "black box" would enable chemists to use the energy of one process to propel another or to eliminate the need to stabilize intermediate products. Machine learning would tell us which reactions work in concerto in such networks.

Yunyan Qiu (Northwestern University) dreams to develop a chain-growth controlled polymerization protocol aided by catalytic artificial molecular machines consisting of macrocyclic ligands. "This chain-growth polymerization method can lead to a drastic improvement of materials’ properties by controlling the length, composition, and topology of the resulting polymers," says Yunyan Qiu. “I am hoping, through the use of advanced molecular machines, to produce precise synthetic polymers with complete control over monomer sequences, achieving the holy grail of polymer synthesis." We should keep our fingers crossed for success as it would lead to new materials with improved performance. Simultaneously, well-defined length, composition, and topology could potentially mitigate polymer batch-batch variation, thus reducing the waste production.

All of us who are wine, beer, or coffee lovers listened with great interest to the presentation of Christopher Hendon (University of Oregon). His dream is to improve the taste of bad beverages using electrochemistry. Oxidation and reduction allow for eliminating the unpleasant effects of unwanted chemical compounds that appear in our beverages. The success of his dream would allow us to enjoy a bottle of liquor or espresso with more certainty as to its flavour.

Scientists who obtained their PhD no more than 8 years ago are eligible to compete for the Dream Chemistry Award. A condition for accepting the application is the nomination of a candidate by a researcher with a PhD or higher degree and at least 10 years of experience in science or natural science.

The decision on the award is made by the Scientific Committee composed of 18 professors of the best Polish scientific institutions specializing in chemistry, physics, biology, medicine and materials engineering. The Honorary Committee of the Dream Chemistry Award competition includes the following renowned chemists: the Nobel Prize winner Professor Richard Schrock (MIT), Professor Krzysztof Matyjaszewski (Carnegie Mellon University), Professor Josef Michl (University of Colorado Boulder and IOCB Prague) and Professor Bartosz Grzybowski (Uslan National Institute of Science and Technology and IOC PAS).

Last year's DCA prize, awarded in Prague, was won by Dr. Yujia Qing from the University of Oxford, for a project devoted to the development of new methods and tools for sequencing all biopolymers present in living cells. Her dream was presented in Nature Chemistry Editorial material.

Archive

15

March

2022

Warsaw

Call for Dream Chemistry Award 2022 nominations

We accept nominations for the Dream Chemistry Award 2022. Nominators must hold a PhD and have at least ten years of experience since the publication of their first scientific paper. The nominations are open until July 31.

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22

December

2021

Prague

The organizers and the winner on the Dream Chemistry Award 2021

We asked Jarad Mason, the winner of the 2021 Dream Chemistry Award, about his impressions of the competition and his future research plans; as well as the main organizers of the Dream Chemistry Award, Pavel Jungwirth and Robert Hołyst, what they think about this year's competition and its development in recent years.

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7

December

2021

Prague

Treating hypoxia with microporous water – the 2021 Dream Chemistry Award goes to Jarad Mason of Harvard University

The winners of the 2021 Dream Chemistry Award and the TOP 5 Prize have been decided. This year’s Dream Chemistry Award and the financial prize of EUR 10,000 goes to Jarad Mason of Harvard University for his project on treating hypoxia with microporous water. The Scientific Committee also awarded the TOP 5 Prize to Ahmed Badran (Scripps Research), Johannes Bintinger (Linköping University), Luka Đorđević (Northwestern University), Giulio Ragazzon (ISIS, University of Strasbourg), and Ghislaine Vantomme (Eindhoven University of Technology). The Dream Chemistry Award Final took place on December 6 and 7 in Prague (Czech Republic).

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1

December

2021

Prague

Dream Chemistry Award 2021 Final – Live stream

The final of the Dream Chemistry Award 2021, which takes place on 6–7 December 2021 in Prague, will see five finalists who will present their dream projects.

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1

October

2021

Prague

Finalists of Dream Chemistry Award 2021 selected

The DCA Scientific Committee selected top projects from this year’s submissions. Five finalists are invited to present their projects in person during the contest’s final, which will be held at IOCB Prague on 6–7 December 2021.

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8

December

2020

Warsaw

Dreaming big about the smallest things: Dream Chemistry Award 2020

On the 1 December, the jury has announced the winner of this year's Dream Chemistry Award. Because of the pandemic restrictions, the whole event has been carried online.

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1

February

2020

Emiliano Cortés: “To have big dreams you need to imagine that things can be different and that you can contribute towards that.”

An interview with Emiliano Cortés (Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, Germany), the TOP 5 finalist of the Dream Chemistry Award 2019 with the project “Lighting Up Chemical Reaction Pathways”.

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1

February

2020

Jeffrey Martell: “We need to think expansively to identify research goals that others haven't thought of.”

An interview with Jeffrey D. Martell (University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA), the TOP 5 finalist of the Dream Chemistry Award 2019 with the project “DNA Nano-Scaffolds for Rapid Discovery of Enzyme-Mimicking Catalysts”.

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1

February

2020

Yoeri van de Burgt: “Imagination and the ability to dream is essential. Most other logical and reasonable ideas have already been tried.”

An interview with Yoeri van de Burgt (Eindhoven University of Technology, Netherlands), the TOP 5 finalist of the Dream Chemistry Award 2019 with the project “Brain-Inspired Organic Modular Lab-on-a-Chip for Cell Classification”.

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1

February

2020

Hannes Mikula: “The Dream Chemistry Award was an amazing experience.”

An interview with Hannes Mikula (Vienna University of Technology, Austria), the TOP 5 finalist of the Dream Chemistry Award 2019 with the project “Double-targeted In Vivo Synthesis of Drugs at the Site of Disease”.

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1

February

2020

Yujia Qing: “The DCA gave me a unique opportunity to distill my abstract thoughts, which emerged during daily research, into a systematic plan.”

An interview with Yujia Qing (University of Oxford, UK), the winner of the Dream Chemistry Award 2019 with the project “Sequencing Life”.

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5

December

2019

Prague

Dream Chemistry Award 2019 goes to Yujia Qing of University of Oxford

Yujia Qing of University of Oxford has won the 2019 Dream Chemistry Award, an international competition for young scientists that took place on 2-3 December 2019, at the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the Czech Academy of Sciences (IOCB Prague). In addition to the Dream Chemistry Award statuette, the winner also received two monetary prizes totaling €11,000.

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4

December

2018

Warsaw

Dr. Eric Daniel Glowacki with the Dream Chemistry Award 2018

The winner of the global Dream Chemistry Award competition this year is Dr. Eric Daniel Glowacki from the Linköping University. The Scientific Committee awarding the prize praised the laureate's project on catalysts for the production of clean energy from the hydrogen peroxide.

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10

October

2018

Warsaw

Dream Chemistry Award 2018 knows its Finalists

This year’s edition of the Dream Chemistry Award knows its finalists. The Scientific Committee selected top 5 candidates and their projects and invited the authors to Warsaw, Poland, to the finale of the contest which will be held on 3-4 December 2018.

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6

December

2017

Prague

Winning project of the DCA 2017 focuses on new perspectives for cancer treatment

On 4-5 December 2017, the finale of the international scientific contest Dream Chemistry Award was held in Prague, organized by the leading chemistry institutes of the Czech and Polish Academy of Sciences.

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