An alchemical symbol with the words ‘εν το παν’ (‘one is the all’) which inspired Kekulé in a dream to discover the structure of benzene.

News



Dr. Eric Daniel Glowacki with the Dream Chemistry Award 2018

Warsaw - December 4, 2018


The winner of the global Dream Chemistry Award competition this year is Dr. Eric Daniel Glowacki from the Linköping University. The Scientific Committee awarding the prize praised the laureate's project on catalysts for the production of clean energy from the hydrogen peroxide.

In the Dream Chemistry Award 2018 (DCA), organized by leading scientific institutions in Poland and the Czech Republic with the honorary support of the world's greatest chemists, the international jury awarded the main prize to Dr. Eric Daniel Glowacki from the Linköping University in Linköping, Sweden. The honourable distinction was awarded on the last day of the final, which was held in Warsaw this year on 3-4th December. The DCA competition, initiated in 2013 by the Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences (IPC PAS) in Warsaw, is currently organized in cooperation with the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the Czech Academy of Sciences (IOCB Prague) and alternates between Warsaw and Prague.

“The Dream Chemistry Award is unique. In contrast to other awards, we do not award it for a specific achievement, but for a scientific project that is bold, visionary, and waiting for implementation. This is an award for researchers who are not afraid of dreaming and they pursue their dreams not for themselves, but for the world to become a slightly better place for all of us. This unique scientific passion, one of the most important factors driving the development of civilization, was clearly visible in the presentations of this year's finalists,” say Professors Robert Holyst (IPC PAS) and Pavel Jungwirth (IOCB Prague), coordinators of the competition.

Dr. Glowacki, the winner of the DCA 2018, received the statuette and 10,000 € for his project Abundant organic catalysts for a peroxide clean energy cycle. The main idea here is the generation and storage of clean energy using hydrogen peroxide.

“Hydrogen peroxide, H2O2, has been used as a rocket fuel for decades. My dream is about something different: about the development of abundant catalysts that would allow us – in effective, cheap and safe ways – to produce, store, and release energy using hydrogen peroxide,” says Dr. Glowacki and explains: “Like its cousin fuel H2, H2O2 enables a carbon-free energy cycle. However, H2O2 exists as a stable liquid, which will not require compression as the gas H2 does. The possibility of using H2O2 as a self-contained energy currency has long been postulated, but catalytic materials that allow conversion of hydrogen peroxide in a useful way have not been available. Addressing this problem is core chemical concept of my dream – to chemically-tailor materials to make the hydrogen peroxide energy cycle possible”.

Dr. Glowacki is the author of 56 scientific papers cited nearly 2600 times. He studied at the University of Rochester, USA, received his doctorate in 2013 at the Johannes Kepler University with a thesis on technical chemistry. He is mainly engaged in bioelectronics, supramolecular chemistry and crystal engineering. He collaborates with research groups from Japan, the United States, Italy, Croatia, Germany and Poland. He is a native speaker in Polish and English, speaks both Russian and German fluently, as well as speaking Czech.

The “Top 5” group of finalists included also Lorenzo Albertazzi from Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands (project Can we replace cellular enzymes with artificial ones?), Jeremy Luterbacher from Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne in Switzerland (From plants to green chemicals: breakthrough processes using chemical functionalization), Michael Saliba from the University of Fribourg in Switzerland (Stable and efficient perovskite solar cells via polyelemental, multicomponent combinatorial engineering) and Alex Shalek of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the USA (Novel chemical probes for spatially-resolved, single-cell profiling of tumors to identify new therapeutically actionable mechanisms of immune evasion).

Scientists who are under 37 years of age and who obtained their Ph.D. no more than 8 years ago are eligible to compete for the Dream Chemistry Award. A condition for accepting the application is the nomination of a candidate by a researcher with a Ph.D. or higher and at least 10 years of experience in science/natural science. The decision on the award is made by the Scientific Committee composed of a dozen or so professors of the best Polish scientific institutions specializing in chemistry, physics, biology, medicine and materials engineering. The Honorary Committee of the Dream Chemistry Award competition includes the following renowned chemists: the Nobel Prize winner Prof. Richard Schrock (MIT), Prof. Krzysztof Matyjaszewski (Carnegie Mellon University), Prof. Josef Michl (University of Colorado Boulder and IOCB Prague) and Prof. Bartosz Grzybowski (Uslan National Institute of Science and Technology and IOC PAS).

Last year's DCA prize, awarded in Prague, was won by Dr. Jessica R. Kramer from the University of Utah, USA, for a project devoted to the development of new methods and tools for studying changes in the structure of glycocalyx, the oligosaccharide layer covering cell membranes. A better understanding of its impact on the development of cancer cells would give the opportunity to develop new anti-cancer therapies.


dca2018
Dr. Eric Daniel Głowacki from the Linköping University receives the Dream Chemistry Award 2018 for the project "Abundant organic catalysts for a peroxide clean energy cycle".


dca2018 Dr. Eric Daniel Głowacki, Linköping University, the laureate of the Dream Chemistry Award 2018.


dca2018 Top5 finalists of the Dream Chemistry Award 2018, with coordinators. From left: Prof. P. Jungwirth (coordinator), Dr. J. Luterbacher, Dr. M. Saliba, Dr. A. K. Shalek, Prof. R. Hołyst (coordinator), Dr. L. Albertazzi and Dr. E. D. Głowacki.

[ Photos: Grzegorz Krzyzewski, IPC PAS © 2018 ]




Dream Chemistry Award 2018 knows its Finalists

Warsaw - October 10, 2018


This year’s edition of the Dream Chemistry Award knows its finalists. The Scientific Committee selected top 5 candidates and their projects and invited the authors to Warsaw, Poland, to the finale of the contest which will be held on December 3-4, 2018.

The finalists will be invited to present their projects in a 30-minutes presentation in front of the Scientific Committee. The Scientific Committee will then select the contest winner.

The finalists of the contest and their projects are:

  • Lorenzo ALBERTAZZI (Eindhoven University of Technology, Netherlands): Can we replace cellular enzymes with artificial ones?
  • Eric D. GŁOWACKI (Linköping University, Sweden): Abundant organic catalysts for a peroxide clean energy cycle
  • Jeremy LUTERBACHER (Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, Switzerland): From plants to green chemicals: breakthrough processes using chemical functionalization
  • Michael SALIBA (Université de Fribourg, Switzerland): Stable and efficient perovskite solar cells via polyelemental, multicomponent combinatorial engineering
  • Alex K. SHALEK (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA): Novel chemical probes for spatially-resolved, single-cell profiling of tumors to identify new therapeutically actionable mechanisms of immune evasion

Congratulations to all the finalists!




Winning project of the DCA 2017 focuses on new perspectives for cancer treatment

Prague - December 6, 2017


On December 4-5, 2017, the finale of the international scientific contest Dream Chemistry Award was held in Prague, organized by the leading chemistry institutes of the Czech and Polish Academy of Sciences. The winner of the competition is Dr. Jessica R. Kramer from the University of Utah (USA), with a research project investigating the protective saccharide coat of cell membranes (glycocalyx) as a tool to design new cancer therapeutics.

The Dream Chemistry Award recognizes visionary projects in the field of chemistry and related disciplines that have the ambition and potential to make the world a better place. The competition is open to young scientists under 37 years of age, who have been nominated by respected senior researchers. The competition was established in 2013 by the Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw (IPC PAS) and runs every other year. In 2017, the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the Czech Academy of Sciences (IOCB Prague) stepped in the organization of the contest.

This year's competition has seen the record number of nominations of promising scientific talents from around the world. Five young researchers were invited to present the most remarkable projects to the international scientific committee during the finale of the competition in Prague.

We received 35 applications from best universities worldwide. It was very hard to pick the winner and in my view all five finalists are the winners of this year's contest,” says Prof. Pavel Jungwirth (IOCB Prague). “We heard fantastic lectures covering subjects ranging from targeting the surface of tissue cancer cells, engineering the microbiome in the gut as a tool for metabolism applications, developing microelectronics based on metal organic frameworks, or optimizing electron transfer reactions, to ending mercury pollution in gold mining.

The laureate of the Dream Chemistry Award 2017 became Dr. Jessica R. Kramer from the University of Utah, USA, nominated by Prof. Hamid Ghandehari. She presented a project "Glycocalyx engineering to probe the role of mucins in cancer". It focuses on the idea of establishing new methods and tools for the research of a protective sugar (oligosaccharide) coat of the cells, the so-called glycocalyx. Glycocalyx is found on the surface of almost all cells, but its function is not well understood. Changes in its structure correlate with tumor growth in tissues. The ultimate aim of the project is to design specific cancer therapeutics based on an artificially synthesized glycocalyx. Apart from the recognition by the scientific committee and The Dream Chemistry Award statuette, the laureate receives also a financial reward of 10,000 EUR.

We want to give young scientists who are at the beginning of their independent career an opportunity to share their boldest ideas and dreams of solving important scientific puzzles or problems of the present world,” says Prof. Robert Holyst (IPC PAS). “I am very happy, that every year we get more and more top applications that deserve international attention. And Dr. Kramer’s project on glycocalyx engineering is the best example of such dreams that can lead to important discoveries and innovations changing entire fields of study and ultimately our lives as well.

The other finalists were Dr. Rob Ameloot (KU Leuven, Belgium) with a project "Self-Assembling a Smarter World: The Hole Story", Dr. Nathan Crook (Washington University in St. Louis, USA) with a project "Expanding Human Metabolism by Engineering Our Commensal Microbes", Dr. Justin M. Chalker (Flinders University, Australia) with a project "Ending Mercury Pollution from Artisanal Gold Mining", and Dr. Yogesh Surendranath (MIT, USA) with a project "A Molecular Theory of Interfacial Inner-Sphere Electron Transfer".


Finalists

Jessica Kramer