We are delighted to present the recent poster prizes awarded at the 5th European Conference on “Chemistry for Life Sciences” (5th ECCLS) in Barcelona, that gathers an ensemble of scientists at the crossroads between chemistry, biology, biophysics and material science.
Two young scientists Montserrat Serra-Batiste and Sven Hofmann received NJC Poster Prizes that reward creative and multidisciplinary research works in the chemical sciences.
Montserrat Serra-Batiste is a postdoctoral researcher in the group of the Prof. Ernest Giralt at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine, Barcelona (Spain) working under the supervision of Dr. Natàlia Carulla since September 2010.
Montserrat’s winning poster dealt with well-defined Aß42 oligomers in a biomimetic membrane environment. The idea project started with the idea of Dr Natàlia Carulla of stabilizing Aß oligomers by using an environment similar to what this peptide have in vivo. Different conditions have been testing by different techniques in order to get a stable and homogeneous preparation of Aß oligomers. As a result, an Aß42 hexamer (named (Aß42)6Membrane) has been stabilized which adopts extensive ß-sheet secondary structure and exhibits specific Aß42-Aß42 interactions. Preparation of (Aß42)6Membrane should open the possibility to explore more in deep the role of Aß oligomers in Alzheimer’s disease.
Her future plans include working with Natàlia to characterize the structure and the biological relevance of this Aß42 hexamer and contribute in solving the puzzle of Alzheimer’s disease. Besides research activities Montserrat loves cooking and dancing.
The award-winning poster of Sven Hofmann was entitled “Carbaboranes in Short Neuropeptide Y Analogs – Redirecting BiologicalActivity”. Carbaboranes are icosahedral boron-carbon clusters mimicking phenyl rings. In particular, they present a three-dimensional hydrophobic structure and are capable of providing a special type of hydrogen bonding, the so-called proton-hydride bonding. Their unique chemical properties are perfectly suited for improving the biological activity of small bioactive molecules but also of peptide analogs.
Sven is a graduate student working in the research group of Prof. Annette G. Beck-Sickinger at the University of Leipzig, Leipzig (Germany) since October 2010. Working in the field of chemical modification of peptides to gain receptor subtype selectivity and biological stability, he especially focuses on the synthesis of short functionalized peptide ligands as selective diagnostic and therapeutic tools.
His future plans are not fixed yet. However, he will finish his Ph.D. in 2014 and he will apply for a postdoctoral research position abroad. Outside of the lab, Sven’s favorite activities are running, cycling, athletic sport challenges and travelling.
The two laureates received a one-year subscription to the journal and a RSC book. Our thanks go to the organizers of the conference for their help in organizing these awards, and our deep gratitude to all of the senior scientists who served on the jury to select the two following winners:
NJC wishes them continuing success in their research!
A list of all previous NJC Poster Prize winners can be found here.