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Meet the panelists

Aktualisiert: 19. Juli 2023

Why is chemistry so fascinating and exciting? What made me decide to study chemistry? What was my start into professional life like? What does my job involve today – these and other topics will be discussed by a total of 8 chemists in 2 panel rounds at the Career Evening. The talks will be moderated by Maté Bezdek and Erick Carreira, professors at the Department of Chemistry and Applied Biosciences. Meet some of the panelists.

Lucia Meier, Metrohm I have always been fascinated by how chemistry is involved in almost everything and I have wanted to understand it better. Participating in the IChO in 2006 and 2007 (bronze medalist) allowed me to deepen my chemistry knowledge. To broaden my experience, I studied chemistry at the ETH Zurich. After receiving my master’s degree, I began working for Metrohm, the world’s leading producer of instruments for ion analysis, in Herisau, Switzerland. As a product and application specialist in titration, I developed new applications, trained sales colleagues all over the world, and was involved in product development. In addition, I created new application documents, flyers and brochures for specific analyses. This sparked my interest in marketing, and I accepted a position as an editor in the marketing department in 2020. I am now responsible for creating videos, flyers or white papers, where I combine my chemistry background with my marketing knowledge.

Olivier Loiseleur, Syngenta I studied chemistry at the University of Strasbourg. After my diplôme d’ingénieur chimiste (1991) at the École Nationale Supérieure de Chimie de Mulhouse, I obtained my PhD (1996) at the University of Basel. I then moved to the Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, after which I joined the Process Research group at Novartis Pharma in Basel (1999). In 2002, I moved to Syngenta Crop Protection Research, where I joined the Insecticide Chemistry research unit. I currently work as a Senior Science Fellow at Syngenta Crop Protection leading natural product. My research interests are linked to the discovery and optimization of synthetic and natural product compounds for application in crop protection, I am also active in the application of bioisosteres to drug discovery and in nurturing research connections to external innovation sources to create future crop protection solutions.

Amrita Singh-Morgan, ETH Zurich My decision to study chemistry came from my motivation to create sustainable solutions to the world’s environmental problems. Studying at the University of Edinburgh, I took an opportunity to do a year abroad at ETH Zurich, where I researched the conversion of biomass into valuable chemicals. I spent the summer exploring Switzerland and working part-time for a start-up which produced sustainable waterproof membranes. I then returned to Edinburgh to finish my Master’s, where I did a project on recovering metals from electronic waste. Missing the blue skies and Alpine hikes, I moved back to Zurich to join Prof. Mougel’s group at ETH for a PhD. I now research the conversion of small molecules such as carbon dioxide into fuels and chemicals using electrochemistry, specifically designing heterogeneous catalysts.

Christian Fischer, Novartis Ever since I set foot into a synthesis laboratory for the first time, I have been deeply fascinated by how chemists are able to combine existing knowledge, curiosity, creative thinking and craftsmanship to advance science and medicine. I dived into the world of chemistry with an apprenticeship as a chemical laboratory assistant at Novartis in Basel. After further education at the University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland and the University of Basel, I developed in my PhD studies under the guidance of Prof. Christof Sparr novel, transition-metal-free synthetic methods to make various polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and fine-tuned organic photocatalysts. During my postdoctoral fellowship in Prof. Dr. Dirk Trauner's group at New York University, I worked on total synthesis, molecular switches, chemical biology and contributed to the investigation of Corona Virus main protease inhibitors. In 2021, I returned to Basel, thrilled to lead a laboratory in the field of immunology at Novartis, where I continue to contribute and impact ground-breaking advancements in synthetic chemistry and medicine.

Tomas Fiala, ETH Zurich I have already been enthusiastic about chemistry during my early high school years in the Czech Republic, participating in the Chemistry Olympiad and other scientific projects. During my university studies, I transformed myself from a participant to an organizer of science competitions and outreach activities. Apart from the current IChO, I was an exam author already for the 50th IChO in Bratislava and Prague (2018). My passion for teaching, working with students and academic research is reflected in my career choices as well. After completing my PhD studies at Columbia University in New York where I developed chemical probes for brain imaging, I decided to stay in academia and moved for a postdoctoral stay to the ETH Zürich. I recently obtained two grants for spearheading my own research in the field of chemical neuroscience. Currently, I am in the process of applying for professorships and hope to soon lead my own research group and teach chemistry at a university.

Alberto Kravina, Lonza As a chemist with a lifelong passion for hands-on engineering, finding solutions for tomorrow's challenges makes working at Lonza truly fulfilling. Our mission as a global leader in Custom Research and Manufacturing is to provide pharmaceutical ingredients that contribute to the well-being of our clients' patients. My journey in chemistry began at ETH Zurich, where I studied and conducted research on the synthesis of natural products from scratch during my PhD. At Lonza, we embrace innovation and creativity, and challenge the status quo in our daily work. For me, this means continuously refining or reinventing chemical processes in collaborative, interdisciplinary teams to meet rigorous standards of time and quality, while always prioritizing sustainability, safety, and health. It is a privilege for me to be able to engage with the participants of the 2023 IChO, and I firmly believe that we can make a meaningful difference together.

Corinne Baumgartner, Givaudan Since 2018, I've been heading the Process Research group in the Fragrance Ingredients Research team of Givaudan, the global industry leader creating gamechanging innovations in food and beverage as well as inspiring creations in the world of scent and beauty. My team’s mission is to deliver efficient processes for odourant molecules with a focus on sustainability using both green chemistry and biotechnology ready to be further scaled up by our operations team. Following up on my broad interest in science, I studied organic and biological chemistry and completed a PhD in organic chemistry both at ETH Zurich. After a postdoc at Caltech in Pasadena, I joined Givaudan in 2009 as a Research Scientist in Discovery focusing on identifying new odourant molecules and working closely together with our perfumers. Before moving into my current role, I accepted the role as Project & Portfolio Manager in 2016 to optimize and strengthen our way to innovate.

Dmitry Mazunin, Roche During my highschool time, chemistry was one of my favourite subjects, combining aspects of both rational science and empirical research. In 2006, I started my undergraduate studies at the ETH in Zurich. Before graduating in chemistry in 2011, I could spend 6 months in the lab of Prof. D. Trauner at the LMU Munich and 1 year in total in industry (Bayer and Lonza) working on diverse topics including water splitting and peptide linkers for ACD (antibody drug conjugates). In 2011 I started my PhD in the group of Prof. J. Bode at the ETHZ working on KAT ligation and its application as a potentially new bioorthogonal reaction and for hydrogels formation. Before joining Roche Basel in 2018, I had the privilege to spend almost 1.5 years as a postdoctoral student in the group of Prof. J. Chin at LMB in Cambridge, UK, getting experience in chemical biology. Currently I am working as a medicinal chemist on portfolio projects in disease areas such as oncology and neuroscience.

Máté Bezdek, ETH Zurich Born in November 1991, I grew up partly in Budapest (Hungary) and Calgary (Canada) and earned my B.Sc. (Hons.) in Chemistry from the University of Calgary in 2014. My graduate work at Princeton University explored the fundamental thermochemistry of transition metal-catalyzed ammonia oxidation in the context of carbon-neutral fuel schemes. For my dissertation, I was awarded the Porter Ogden Jacobus Fellowship, Princeton’s top honor for PhD students. After receiving my PhD in June 2019, I joined Prof. Timothy Swager’s group at MIT. Following my postdoctoral appointment, I joined ETH Zürich as a Tenure-Track Assistant Professor of Chemistry in August 2021, where my research group’s interests span stimuli-responsive organometallic chemistry, energy storage, sensors, and molecular electronics. Why I became a chemist: to become an explorer on the molecular level.

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