It's February 2014, already 8 weeks into the new year, so it's about time to take a look back at what has happened in our group in 2013. We have engaged in many exciting research projects, published a lot of articles, won a couple of awards, and celebrated the 60th birthday of our “Oberelch”, Kurt. And most importantly, we've had a lot of fun in the process!
Research & Publications:
We have published almost 30 research and review articles in 2013, highlighted by two communications in Angewandte Chemie to start the year: Christiane Wuensch et al. reported on the asymmetric hydration of hydroxystyrenes catalysed by decarboxylases, while Markus Schober et al. have developed a deracemisation method for alkyl sulfates based on the use of two enantiocomplementary sulfatases:
- Asymmetric Enzymatic Hydration of Hydroxystyrene Derivatives
C. Wuensch, J. Gross, G. Steinkellner, K. Gruber, S. M. Glueck, K. Faber, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2013, 52, 2293–2297.
- One-Pot Deracemization of sec-Alcohols: Enantioconvergent Enzymatic Hydrolysis of Alkyl Sulfates Using Stereocomplementary Sulfatases
M. Schober, M. Toesch, T. Knaus, G. A. Strohmeier, B. van Loo, M. Fuchs, F. Hollfelder, P. Macheroux, K. Faber, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2013, 52, 3277–3279.
Ene-reductases and ω-transaminases have continued to be our most intensively investigated research topics, but we have also been active in enzymatic cleavage of C=C double and C–C single bonds, biocatalytic carboxylation, and even a little bit of organocatalysis.
2013 has brought several prizes and awards for our group: Silvia and her coworkers have won the “Wolfgang Houska” prize of the B&C Privatstiftung with the biocatalytic carboxylation project, and Mélanie has been awarded the “Anton Paar” science prize by the Austrian Chemical Society (GÖCH). And finally, our alumni Hansi Sattler and Michi Fuchs have jointly been awarded the “University Research Award” of the Industriellenvereinigung Steiermark for their work on the biocatalytic transformation of diols to diamines.
The latter project has also made it into the newspapers, and although “snowboards from protein” might not be the most accurate description of what the research was all about, we do appreciate the public interest.
Besides our traditional “adventure weekend” (which, despite its being particularly adventurous in 2013, was once again completed without any casualties), the chestnut eating session, or the newly introduced movie nights, there was one very special occasion for a group gathering this year: Believe it or not, Kurt has turned 60 last autumn! Needless to say, though, that thanks to his regular mountaineering, kayaking, biking and ski-touring trips he is still fitter than most of the younger group members. So, congratulations, and keep up the good spirit!