News

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”.

Why did you decide to do research in multipath chemistry?
I have always been interested in many different disciplines. In research, we need to pick one discipline and dig deeply into a specific problem, but at each stage of my career, I have tried to move into new areas. This challenges me to learn more and gain new abilities, and I think in the long-run, this can enhance the potential for making creative contributions. When you move into a new area, you see things from a different perspective from others working in that field.

How was preparing your Dream Chemistry Award project different from your day-to-day research work? Did you find it a beneficial exercise?
The Dream Chemistry Award was a wonderful experience! It was an extremely valuable experience to present my big ideas and get critical questions and feedback from scientists with diverse scientific expertise. It was also wonderful to meet the other finalists, who had inspiring ideas. Preparing for the presentation was a valuable experience because the emphasis is on risk-taking and multi-decade plans. Nearly all other competitions are focused on short-term feasibility.

Your project focused on DNA-based enzyme-mimicking catalysts. How did you come up with it?
I was very interested in a long-standing problem: how do we create molecules that mimic the catalysis of enzymes? This has been a difficult challenge for decades. I felt a key lesson from nature is that we cannot just test one active site candidate at a time. We need to synthesize and test thousands to millions of candidate catalysts. I became inspired by recent advances in DNA nanotechnology, DNA barcoding, and next-generation DNA sequencing. I think we can combine these powerful tools to make substantial progress on this long-standing problem.

How important do you think is imagination and the ability to dream for a scientist?
I think imagination is extremely important for scientists. In order to push the boundaries of scientific knowledge, we cannot simply focus on what everyone else is doing and has done in the past. We need to think expansively to identify research goals that others haven't thought of.

You just started as a course instructor of Physical Organic Chemistry. How do you feel about teaching? And how different this part of academic work is from pursuing research?
It has been a privilege for me to teach our outstanding graduate students at UW-Madison in physical organic chemistry, an extremely important subject. I have learned a lot through the process, and much of it comes from the students asking me excellent questions that challenge me to look into the literature and think more deeply about the topics. This teaching experience will definitely help me to do better research moving forward, since it has enhanced my understanding and thought process on fundamentally important concepts in chemistry.

How did you enjoy your stay at IOCB Prague?
It was wonderful! I greatly enjoyed meeting the IOCB scientists and my fellow DCA finalists. Prague is a beautiful city that I had never visited before. I'm happy I had the chance to see it.

Archive

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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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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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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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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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

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

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

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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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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