Our fourth experimental paper on the chemical origins of life is published in Nature Ecology & Evolution. It is the result of an international collaboration with researchers in Germany and Japan. We show that three common iron-based minerals promote the hydrogenation of carbon dioxide to give, almost exclusively, the intermediates and end-products of the Acetyl CoA pathway. This enzyme-free chemistry maps closely onto the biological pathway, suggesting it had geochemical origins. Congrats to Kamila and Sreejith from our group and thanks to our great collaborators! Free read-only version here. Paywall version here. Also check out the accompanying Behind the Paper post here.
Congrats to Paul Chatelain for receiving the prize for best talk at the Journée des Doctorants, an annual symposium where PhD students from across the chemical sciences in Strasbourg present their work. Paul spoke about the Suzuki-Miyaura coupling of aryl sulfones, recently published in Angewandte Chemie.
Congrats to Elodie Chevallot-Beroux on successfully defending her thesis! She is the sixth PhD student to graduate from the group. Special thanks to jury members Prof. Peter Strazewski, Dr. Robert Pascal and Prof. Petra Hellwig for being part of the jury. A memorable pot de thèse followed featuring an unimaginable number of gifts! Elodie will start her new position as Research Scientist at Innovame in Marlenheim, France.
Congrats to Lucas Lethuillier on successfully defending his thesis! He is the fifth PhD student to graduate from the group. Special thanks to jury members Prof. Albrecht Berkessel, Prof. Jay Siegel, Dr. Sami Lahkdar, Prof. Nicolas Javahiraly, and our close collaborator Prof. Thomas Ebbesen for being part of the jury. A memorable pot de thèse followed featuring both of his grandmothers! Lucas has accepted a lucrative industrial postdoctoral contract to apply the findings of his thesis to problems of interest to a major chemical company.
Florent, Vuk, Jing, Ed and Pavle’s article on the synthesis of CF3-bearing allenes, chromenes and olefins starting from propargylic alcohols has been accepted for publication in The Journal of Organic Chemistry. Congrats!
A warm welcome to new postdoctoral fellow Robin Isnard, an analytical chemist who comes to us from the group of Prof. Hervé Cottin at the University of Paris-Est Créteil, where he worked on the analysis of organic matter in comets. Welcome, Robin!
Congrats to Lucas Lethuillier for winning the prize for best oral presentation at the REGIO Symposium in the Mittelwihr, France. The REGIO Symposium is an annual tri-national conference on organic chemistry held jointly between the universities in the lower Rhine region (Freiburg, Basel, Strasbourg and Mulhouse). Lucas’ talk was on the application of vibrational strong coupling to control selectivity in organic synthesis. Well done!
The sixth incoming class of PhD students joins the group. Sophia Rauscher, funded by the ProtoMet ITN, and Harpreet Kaur will both work on proto-metabolism. A warm welcome to both!
Paul and Abhijit’s article on expanding the Suzuki coupling to aryl sulfones to facilitate iterative couplings has been accepted for publication in Angewandte Chemie International Edition as a “Hot Paper”. Special thanks to the Chris Rowley (Memorial University) for the DFT calculations. Congrats!
Congratulations and farewell to group member Dr. Jan Gorges, who accepts a research position at BASF in Ludwigshafen. Jan was a postdoc in the group for only 10 months, but managed to submit his first publication before leaving ahead of schedule for a sweet industrial position. He is the third lab member to obtain a permanent position at BASF. For a farewell, Jan prepared homemade kebabs for a group dinner. Best of luck in the new career and come visit often!