Christian Hertweck receives Inhoffen Medal

| based on a press release by HZI

The award winners and laudators stand in front of a green area in front of a brick building.
The award winners with the laudators: Prof. Wilhelm Boland, Prof. Christian Hertweck (Inhoffen Medal 2020), Prof. Sarah Reisman (Inhoffen Medal 2022) and Prof. Alois Fürstner. Source: Kristina Rottig/TU Braunschweig

Nature is an important source for medically used active substances. Isolating these active substances, elucidating their structure, synthesizing them in the laboratory and producing new variants is the goal of natural product chemistry. For research achievements in this field, the Sponsoring Association of the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI) honors two scientists with the Inhoffen Medal: Prof. Sarah Reisman, California Institute of Technology, and Prof. Christian Hertweck, Leibniz Institute for Natural Product Research and Infection Biology - Hans Knöll Institute (Leibniz-HKI) in Jena, will receive the award for the years 2022 and 2020, respectively. The award ceremony took place on June 9, 2022, in the auditorium of the Haus der Wissenschaft in Braunschweig.

The 2022 Inhoffen Medal was awarded to Prof. Sarah Reisman. "For her work, Sarah Reisman always chooses structurally highly complex targets of great biological relevance, such as diverse antibiotics. She is a master at reducing these compounds to much simpler building blocks. Occasionally, the chemical reactions required to assemble the building blocks are not even known; in such cases, she develops the necessary methods for this in parallel in her laboratory," laudator Prof. Alois Fürstner, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Coal Research in Mülheim/Ruhr and winner of the 2014 Inhoffen Medal, says of the award-winning researcher.

Sarah Reisman studied chemistry at Connecticut College, USA, and received her PhD from Yale University in 2006. She then conducted research at Harvard University as a fellow of the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH). Since 2008, she has led a research group at the California Institute of Technology, working on innovative syntheses of molecules with medical applications.

In addition, Prof. Christian Hertweck was presented with the Inhoffen Medal 2020. "Prof. Christian Hertweck is an outstanding scientist who is one of the most productive natural product researchers," said Prof. Wilhelm Boland, director emeritus of the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena and 2005 recipient of the Inhoffen Medal, about the awardee, highlighting his achievements in researching biosynthetic programs in bacteria and fungi and microbial communication in various ecosystems. The ceremony for Hertweck had been postponed several times due to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.

Christian Hertweck studied chemistry at the Friedrich-Wilhelms University in Bonn, where he also received his doctorate in 1999. From 2001, he established a junior research group at the Leibniz Institute for Natural Product Research and Infection Biology - Hans Knöll Institute (Leibniz-HKI) Jena. Since 2006, he has headed the "Biomolecular Chemistry" department there and has also been deputy director of the Leibniz-HKI since 2008.

The Inhoffen Prize, awarded by the Friends of the HZI and endowed with 8000 euros, is considered the most prestigious German award in the field of natural product chemistry. It is awarded within the framework of the Inhoffen Lecture, a joint festive event of the HZI, the Technical University of Braunschweig and the Friends of the HZI.

About the Inhoffen Medal:

In memory of the chemist Hans Herloff Inhoffen, who died in 1992, the Technische Universität Braunschweig and the HZI (at that time still: Gesellschaft für Biotechnologische Forschung, abbreviated GBF) have organized the annual Inhoffen Lecture since 1994, at which the prize of the same name is awarded. Inhoffen taught at the Technical University of Braunschweig from 1946 to 1974 and served as rector there from 1948 to 1950. He also founded the "Institute for Molecular Biology, Biochemistry and Biophysics" (IMB) in 1965, the forerunner institute of the GBF and thus of the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research.


Christian Hertweck