Farewell to the MSc Students

2020 has been a challenging year for young researchers, but our MSc students have made the most of it. Unable to work in the lab, Valentyn Pozhydaiev (M1 EUR) and Martin Power (M2 EUR) both finished top of their class for their internships and co-authored a feature article that is now under review. Daria Brykczyńska (M1, Poznań University, Poland), Eugénie (M1 CB), Louis-Albin Gravillier (M2 CB) and Joris Zimmermann (M2 CB) completed their internships despite their lab time being cut very short. Luckily, Elodie Didier (M1, University of Geneva, Switzerland) was able to reschedule her internship over the summer so that she could do some lab work. We will miss them all but look forward to their bright future!

Martin will join Prof. Dave Leigh’s lab in Manchester as a Marie Curie PhD student. Joris won an MRT fellowship to do a PhD in our lab. Congrats and good luck!

New publication

Kamila and Sreejith’s 37-page review on the feasibility and importance of non enzymatic metabolic reactions for the origin of life has appeared in Chemical Reviews. We hope it will inspire others to pursue this direction. Congrats!

New publication

Shaofei’s article on the surprising mechanism of boronic acid catalyzed reactions of alcohols and oximes has been published in Chemistry – A European Journal. Congrats!

New publication

A collaboration with Marco Cecchini’s group, this is a mixed computational and experimental attempt to rationalize why specific nitro compounds change the kinetic orders of some Brønsted acid catalyzed reactions. The model successfully predicts that sulphate esters should behave similarly. It has been published in Chemistry – A European Journal as part of the EuChemS special issue. Congrats to Marian and Ed for what ended up being the last of their many papers in the group! Also thanks to the Cecchini group for their endurance.

New publication

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.


Dr. Elodie Chevallot-Beroux

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.

Dr. Lucas Lethuillier

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.

New publication

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!