Plenary Lecturers


SIR Venki Ramakrishnan
31.8.2014, Sunday – 14:45-15:45 / Safir

Following his Pre-Science at the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, he did his undergraduate studies in the same university on a National Science Talent Scholarship, graduating with a BSc degree in Physics in 1971.
Ramakrishnan began work on ribosomes as a postdoctoral fellow with Peter Moore at Yale University. After his post-doctoral fellowship, he initially could not find a faculty position even though he had applied to about 50 universities in the U.S.
He continued to work on ribosomes from 1983-95 as a staff scientist at Brookhaven National Laboratory. In 1995 he moved to the University of Utah as a Professor of Biochemistry, and in 1999, he moved to his current position at the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, England, where he had also been a sabbatical visitor during 1991-92.
In 1999, Ramakrishnan’s laboratory published a 5.5 Angstrom resolution structure of the 30S subunit. The following year, his laboratory determined the complete molecular structure of the 30S subunit of the ribosome and its complexes with several antibiotics. This was followed by studies that provided structural insights into the mechanism that ensures the fidelity of protein biosynthesis. More recently, his laboratory has determined the atomic structure of the whole ribosome in complex with its tRNA and mRNA ligands. Ramakrishnan is also known for his past work on histone and chromatin structure.
Ramakrishnan is a Fellow of the Royal Society, a member of EMBO and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge. He was awarded the 2007 Louis-Jeantet Prize for Medicine, the 2008 Heatley Medal of the British Biochemical Society and the 2009 Rolf-Sammet Professorship at the Goethe University Frankfurt. In 2009, Ramakrishnan was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry along with Thomas A. Steitz and Ada Yonath. He received India’s second highest civilian honor, the Padma Vibhushan, in 2010.
Ramakrishnan was knighted in the 2012 New Year Honours for services to Molecular Biology, but does not generally use the title.
Ramakrishnan was included as one of 25 Greatest Global Living Indians by NDTV Channel, India on 14 December 2013.

Luis M. Liz-Marzán
1.9.2014, Monday – 09:00-10:00 / Safir

Luis M. Liz-Marzán is a PhD from the University of Santiago de Compostela (1992) and has been a postdoc at Utrecht University and (more recently) visiting professor at various universities and research centers worldwide. After 17 years at the Department of Physical Chemistry of the University of Vigo, in summer 2012 he joined CIC biomaGUNE in San Sebastian as Ikerbasque Research Professor and Scientific Director. Liz-Marzán received several research awards and holds editorial responsibilities in numerous scientific journals. His current interests include nanoparticle synthesis and assembly, nanoplasmonics, and development of nanoparticle-based sensing and diagnostic tools.

Walter Leitner
1.9.2014, Monday – 18:00-19:00 / Safir

Leitner is chair of Technical Chemistry and Petrochemistry at RWTH’s Institute for Technical and Macromolecular Chemistry (ITMC). His research focuses on homogeneous catalysis using metallic components and on unconventional reaction media, like supercritical fluids and ionic liquids. Leitner’s research group is one of many searching for new chemical pathways for biomass conversion.

Jürgen Klankermayer
1.9.2014, Monday – 18:00-19:00 / Safir

Prof. Klankermayer is Juniorprofessor for Mechanisms in Catalysis at the Institute of Technical and Macromolecular Chemistry at RWTH Aachen University. His main research interests can be summarized as follows:
Mechanisms in Catalysis, NMR Spectroscopy in Catalysis, Asymmetric Catalysis, Application of Ionic Liquids in Catalysis, Fuels and Chemicals from Biomass, Sustainable Industrial Chemistry.

Maurizio Prato
2.9.2013, Tuesday – 09:00-10:00 / Safir

Maurizio Prato is Professor of Organic Chemistry, spent sabbatical terms at Yale University and at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He was Visiting Professor at the École Normale Supérieure de Paris (2001), at the University of Namur, Belgium (2010), and at ISIS, University of Strasbourg, France (2014).
His research focuses on the functionalization chemistry of carbon nanostructures for applications in materials science and medicinal chemistry. He was the recipient of an ERC Advanced Research Grant, European Research Council in 2008 and has become a Member of the National Academy of Sciences (Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei) in 2010.

Alexander J.B. Zehnder
2.9.2013, Tuesday – 18:00-19:00 / Safir

Alexander J.B. ZEHNDER is a Visiting Professor and member of the Board of Trustees of Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, founder and chairman of triple Z Ltd. (, and Scientific Director of Water Resources of Alberta Innovates – Energy and Environment Solutions in Edmonton, Canada. He is former professor of Wageningen University, the Netherlands, director of EAWAG Switzerland, president of the ETH Board, and professor emeritus of ETH Zurich, Switzerland.
His work has recently focused on water policy, the nexus between water, energy and food security, water safety and infrastructures, as well as innovative solutions in industrial water treatment, particularly in the oil and gas industry. Outside of academia he is involved in developing capital market instruments for more sustainable production and use of natural resources.

Barry M. Trost
3.9.2013, Wednesday – 09:00-10:00 / Safir

Barry M. Trost (born in 1941) is an American organic chemist, Tamaki Professor of Humanities and Sciences in the chemistry department at Stanford University. He has made great contributions to the modern synthetic organic chemistry and green chemistry. Many widely used chemistry reactions, such as the Trost asymmetric allylic alkylation, Tsuji-Trost reaction and the Trost ligand, are named after him. Professor Trost has more than 820 scientific publications, over 320 lectures at various national and international meetings, and over 40 worldwide awards and honors.

Donald Hilvert
3.9.2013, Wednesday – 18:00-19:00 / Safir

Prof. Hilvert (b. 1956) received his B.A. (1978) and Ph.D. (1983) from Brown and Columbia Universities, respectively. Following postdoctoral work at Rockefeller University, he joined the faculty of the Scripps Research Institute (La Jolla, California), initially as an assistant professor (1986-1989), then as associate professor (1989-1993) and full professor (1994-1997). Since October 1997, he has been professor of chemistry at the ETH Zürich. He was an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow (1991-93) and received the Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award from the American Chemical Society (1992) and the Pfizer Award in Enzyme Chemistry (1994).

Yusuf Yagci
4.9.2013, Thursday – 09:00-10:00 / Safir

Yusuf Yagci is a full professor of Chemistry at Istanbul Technical University, Turkey. He received his Masters (1977) and Ph.D. (1979) degree from Liverpool University (UK). He has published about 400 original research papers in different peer-reviewed international journals. Professor Yagci has supervised more than 70 Ph.D. and M.Sc. students. He serves as member of the editorial board of many international journals. He is the recipient of several awards including the Turkish Scientific and Technological Research Council (Tubitak) Young Investigator Award (1989), Tubitak Science Award (1994), Turkish Chemical Society Honorary Member Award (2002), The Society of Polymer Science, Japan (SPSJ) InternationalAward (2008), the Elginkan Foundation Technology Award (2008) and Comstech (Islamic Countries Technology Council) Science Award (2010). He is also a full member of the Turkish Academy of Sciences (1997). His research interests involve synthesis of complex macromolecular structures, photopolymerization, controlled/living polymerization methods, high performance thermosets.

Luisa De Cola
4.9.2013, Thursday – 15:00-16:00 / Safir

Luisa De Cola has been a Professor at the University of Strasbourg (I.S.I.S.) as chair of Supramolecular and Bio-Material Chemistry, and part time scientist at the INT-KIT, Karlsruhe, Germany since October 2012. She was born in Messina, Italy, where she studied chemistry. After a post-doc in USA she moved back to Italy and in 1990 she was appointed Assistant Professor at the University of Bologna (Prof. V. Balzani group). In 1998 she moved as Full Professor to the University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands. In 2004 she accepted a call from the University of Muenster as full professor in chemistry and physics. She has received several awards, the most recent being the ERC advanced grant (2009), the IUPAC award as one of the Distinguished Women in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering (2011), the Gutenberg chair award (2012). She was elected as member of the Academia Europeae in 2012. Her main interests are luminescent and electroluminescent molecules and their assemblies for the creation of novel materials and porous structures for bio-applications.