Jean-Pierre Sauvage

Institut de Science et d’Ingénierie Supramoléculaires (ISIS), Université de Strasbourg, Strasbourg, France

Nobel Prize 2016

Jean-Pierre Sauvage completed his PhD at the Université Louis-Pasteur in Strasbourg in 1971, under the supervision of Jean-Marie Lehn, describing the first syntheses of cryptands, which are synthetic bi- and polycyclic molecules that bind to a central metal atom. He was professor at Strasbourg from 1981-84 and a director of research at CNRS from 1979 to 2009, when he became a director emeritus.

He is one of the pioneers of supramolecular chemistry, and published in 1983 the first efficient synthesis of interlocked cyclic molecules called "catenanes". These molecules were the basis of one of the first molecular machines, in which the motion of the catenane rings was controlled through both electrochemical and photochemical means. Following similar approaches, his group produced in 2000 a rotaxane structure that could extend and contract like a muscle filament. His other research includes modeling the photosynthetic reaction centre and the reduction of CO2 by electrochemical means.

Jean-Pierre Sauvage received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2016 jointly with Sir J. Fraser Stoddart and Ben Feringa "for the design and synthesis of molecular machines.” Their work paved the way for the nanotechnological revolution.


Chris Abell

Department of Chemistry, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK

Professor Chris Abell is Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research, and Professor of Biological Chemistry at the University of Cambridge. He was an undergraduate and graduate at Cambridge, before doing postdoctoral research at Brown University. Today he leads two research teams in the Department of Chemistry, pioneering the use of fragment-based approaches in drug discovery, and the development of microdroplets as an experimental platform. He is a cofounder of Astex (1999), Sphere Fluidics (2010) and Aqdot (2013), and was a founding director of Cambridge Enterprise, a wholly owned subsidiary of the University of Cambridge created in 2006 to manage the commercialization of scientific discoveries from the University of Cambridge. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Society.

From 2013-2015 he was the first Director of Postdoctoral Affairs at the University. Professor Abell is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and the Academy of Medical Sciences.


Eric Jacobsen

Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge (MA), USA

Prof. Eric Jacobsen joined Harvard University in 1993 as full professor and was promoted to the Sheldon Emory Professor of Organic Chemistry in 2001. He earned his B.S. degree at New York University and his Ph.D. at UC Berkeley supervised by Prof. Robert Bergman. In 1986, he got an NIH postdoctoral fellowship to carry out postdoctoral studies at MIT with Barry Sharpless. In 1988, he began his independent career at the University of Illinois.

His research interests include the discovery of useful catalytic reactions, and the analysis of these reactions by applying most rigorous methods of physical-organic chemistry. Noteworthy, several of the methodologies developed in his group have found widespread application in industry and academia. These include metal-salen based catalysts for asymmetric epoxidation, conjugate additions, and hydrolytic kinetic resolution of epoxides; chromium-Schiff base complexes for a wide range of enantioselective pericyclic reactions; and organic hydrogen bond-donor catalysts for activation of neutral and cationic electrophiles.


Cristina Nevado

Department of Chemistry, University of Zurich, Zürich, Switzerland

Cristina Nevado graduated in chemistry at the Autonoma University of Madrid in 2000. In October 2004 she received her PhD in organic chemistry from the same University working with Prof. Antonio M. Echavarren in late transition metal catalyzed reactions. After a post-doctoral stay in the group of Prof. Alois Fürstner at the Max-Planck-Institut für Kohlenforschung (Germany), she joined the University of Zürich as an Assistant Professor in May 2007. In 2011, Cristina was awarded the Chemical Society Reviews Emerging Investigator Award and the Thieme Chemistry Journal Award in recognition of her contributions in the field of synthetic organic chemistry.

In 2012 she received an ERC Junior Investigator grant and has been awarded the Werner Prize of the Swiss Chemical Society. In 2013 she became Full Professor at the Organic Chemistry Institute of the University of Zürich. Rooted in the wide area of organic chemistry, her research program is focused on complex chemical synthesis and the discovery of new organometallic reactions.

She is editor for ACS Central Science and for Organic Synthesis.


Maurizio Prato

Department of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Trieste, Trieste, Italy and CIC BiomaGUNE, San Sebastián, Spain

Prof. Maurizio Prato studied chemistry at the University of Padova, where he was appointed Assistant Professor in 1983. After nine years he moved to Trieste as an Associate Professor, where he was promoted to Full Professor in 2000. He spent sabbatical terms at Yale University (1986–1987) and the University of California, Santa Barbara (1991–1992). He was Visiting Professor at the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Paris (2001), at the University of Namur (2010) and at the University of Strasbourg (2014). In 2014 he became Ikerbasque Professor at CIC BiomaGUNE in San Sebastian.

He was a pioneer in the development of the chemistry of fullerenes and carbon nanotubes, developing one of the most useful reactions for the functionalization of these materials, now known as Prato’s reaction. His research interest is devoted to the chemistry and physics of fullerenes, carbon nanotubes and graphene and the development of functional carbon-based interfaces with enhanced performance in the field of biosensing and diagnostics.