When Manuel Alcarazo, group leader at the Max Planck Institut für Kohlenforschung, visits this year‘s Chemiedozententagung in Berlin in March, he will not only give a talk. The 34 year-old chemist from Alcalá de Guadaira in Spain will be honoured with the “ADUC-Jahrespreis 2012 für Habilitanden”.
Every year three Habilitation candidates from all areas of chemistry receive this award for inventive and significant scientific publications. Among other things, Manuel Alcarazo tries to improve the catalytic properties of metals like platinum or gold. He and his group members change the catalysts to create an electron deficiency on the metals so that they become more reactive. Due to this chemical reactions are faster.
“Those methods might be interesting for natural product synthesis as well”, says Manuel Alcarazo. He managed to synthesize phenanthrenes These substances exist in orchids. The plants produce them to defend themselves from bacteria. “We are at a very early stage of our research”, states Manuel Alcarazo. But it might be worth having a closer look at those synthetic phenanthrenes and their biological activities.
The “ADUC-Jahrespreis 2012 für Habilitanden” came to the Max Planck Institute für Kohlenforschung last year as well. Dr. Nuno Maulide, also group leader at the institute, was among the awardees of 2011.