July 16, 2007
Nobel Organic Chemist receives UCD Ulysses Medal

The UCD Ulysses Medal was presented to US Nobel Laureate Professor Robert H. Grubbs at the 15th European Symposium on Organic Chemistry (ESOC) which took place in UCD from July 8-13, 2007. The largest organic chemistry event ever to be held in Ireland, the symposium drew over 600 national and international scientists to UCD.

Speakers at 15th European Symposium on Organic Chemistry

Speakers at the 15th European Symposium on Organic Chemistry (ESOC 2007) pictured outside O'Reilly Hall, UCD

"We are delighted that UCD has been chosen as host for this intensive feast of world-class science" said Professor Philip Nolan, Registrar of UCD, formally opening the symposium. "As a research intensive university, the Centre for Synthesis and Chemical Biology (CSCB) is one of the jewels in our crown."

Professor Grubbs delivered a lecture at the conference entitled "Olefin Catalysis for the Synthesis of Large and Small Molecules". In 2005, alongside Richard R. Schrock and Yves Chauvin, Professor Grubbs was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the development of a synthetic method known as metathesis - the swapping of atoms between molecules to create new substances.

Nobel Laureate Professor  Robert Grubbs speaking at ESOC 2007 in UCD

Nobel Laureate Professor Robert Grubbs speaking at ESOC 2007

The process has become one of the most important reactions in organic chemistry. During his lecture, Professor Grubbs outlined current applications of his catalysts including the replacement of petroleum based chemicals with those from renewable resources including seed oil and the use of his methodology in medicine.

"It is a great honour to present the sixth UCD Ulysses Medal to Professor Bob Grubbs,” said Professor Des Fitzgerald, Vice-President for Research at UCD. “His work has had a major impact on synthetic chemistry and has enormous potential applications in medicine and the polymer industry."

"We are hugely privileged to have Professor Grubbs deliver a paper at the ESOC in Dublin,” said Professor Pat Guiry, Director of the CSCB, who organised this year’s conference. “The seminal contributions of Professor Grubbs and his group have shaped the way that modern chemistry is carried out.”

Professors Des Fitzgerald, Robert H. Grubbs and Pat Guiry at the UCD Ulysses Medal presenatation

Professor Des Fitzgerald, Professor Robert Grubbs and Professor Pat Guiry

The symposium featured 9 plenary lectures and 9 invited lectures by world-renowned researchers in the field of organic chemistry. An invited lecture was given by CSCB principal investigator Professor Paul Murphy, UCD School of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, the recipient of a 2005 Astellas USA Foundation Award. Professor Murphy presented his results on the synthesis of bioactive molecules from carbohydrate sources and applications in the development of low toxicity drugs.

The Eli Lilly Distinguished Lecture was given by Professor Paul Knochel, Ludwig Maximillians-University of Munich, Germany. His lecture was entitled "Functional Mg and Zn Reagents for the Synthesis of Highly Functionalised Aromatics and Heterocycles". "The Eli Lilly Distinguished Lectureship was established in order to build on links between academia and industry and to promote science in Europe," said Dr Sinead Nolan, Eli Lilly.

Close to 400 posters showcased further research and the programme of social events included a state reception at Dublin Castle and sightseeing tours. The 16th European Symposium on Organic Chemistry (ESOC 2009) will be held in Prague, Czech Republic on July 12-16, 2009.

 

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