PhD Project at the University of Göttingen

PhD Project Title: Synthesis and valorization of (bio)polymers through C–H activation

Principal Investigator: Prof. Dr. Lutz Ackermann

PhD Project description: Since 2000, π-conjugated polymers have been attracting a great deal of attention as they combine electronic properties of metals or inorganic materials and possess mechanical and physical properties of organic polymers. In particular, the direct (hetero)arylation polymerization (DHAP) is highly appealing, although being currently mainly limited to palladium-based catalysts. Apart from π-conjugated polymers, biopolymers, i.e. unnatural peptides are recognized as potent and selective therapeutics.

Description of the work: First, based on previous results from the Ackermann group,[1] π-conjugated polymers via ruthenium- and cobalt-catalyzed DHAPs will be synthesized. Furthermore, the valorization of biopolymers, such as peptides, via late stage diversification[2] will be addressed. In this context, regioselective functionalization at precise positions using abundant and cheap 3d metals will be targeted. To further improve the industrial potential of this peptide functionalization and/or to achieve complementary transformations, reactions under micellar conditions will be established during a secondment at Novartis. The biological potential of the newly generated biopolymers will be assessed via a secondment at AstraZeneca.

Relevant skills that will be considered are:

  • Strong theoretical background and practical skills in organic synthesis and catalysis
  • Ideally, first experience in the synthesis and analysis of (bio)polymers
  • Experience and theoretical background in C–H activation are of advantage
  • Practical experience in analytical methods (NMR, MS, HPLC)
  • Good level of English proficiency (understood, spoken and written)
  • Skills in scientific writing (reports, papers, etc.)
  • Team spirit and collaborative predisposition

Planned secondments: “1 secondment (3 months) in Novartis and 1 secondment in AstraZeneca.


[1]  Rogge, T.; Ackermann, L. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2019, 58, 15640-15645.

[2] a) Schischko, A.; Kaplaneris, N.; Rogge, T.; Sirvinskaite, G.; Son, J.; Ackermann, L. Nature Commun. 2019, 10, 3553; b) Friis, S. D.; Johansson, M. J.; Ackermann, L. Nature Chem. 2020, 12, 511-519.

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