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Thomas Hansen wins the KNCV-Backer Prize

Thomas Hansen is the recipient of the 2020 KNCV-Backer Prize for best organic chemistry thesis in the Netherlands.

During the online edition of the 2021 NWO CHAINS conference, Thomas was awarded the prize for his thesis entitled “Glycosyl Cations in Glycosylation Reactions” in which he has used computational chemistry, synthetic chemistry and state of the art analytical techniques, including super acid NMR spectroscopy and infrared ion spectroscopy to understand and predict the stability and reactivity of unstable glycosyl cations.

The research in his thesis shows that glycosyl cations can act as reactive intermediates in glycosylation reactions for the introduction of glycosidic linkages. Furthermore, computational and experimental evidence has been provided showing that dioxolenium ions, formed by participation of remote acyl groups, are relevant reactive intermediates and can effectively steer the stereochemical course of glycosylation reactions. Ultimately, the techniques developed and insights gained were used in the synthesis of a complex mycobacterial glycolipid. The fundamental knowledge presented in the thesis can be further exploited in future synthetic endeavors, delivering more and more complex glycans to fuel glycobiological and glycomedical research.

The KNCV-Backer Award

The yearly Backer Award is an initiative of four alumni of the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen: Prof. E.J.R. Sudholter, Prof. E.W. Meijer, Prof. B.L. Feringa and Prof. H. Hiemstra. They have named the prize after Prof. H.J. Backer, who was professor in organic chemistry at the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen from 1916 until his retirement. He passed away in 1959 and from the bequest of Prof. Backer and co-sponsering of the KNCV the Backer Award was founded.

The award comes with 2,500 euro in prize money and an invitation to give a lecture at NWO CHAINS.

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