Plenary Speaker’s Biographies

Prof. T. Aida (University of Tokyo, Japan)
Prof. J.-P. Changeux (Collège de France, France)
Prof. C. Cohen-Tannoudji, Nobel Prize (Collège de France, France)
Prof. P. Corvol (Collège de France, France)
Prof. B. Feringa (University of Groningen, The Netherlands)
Prof. R. Hoffmann, Nobel Prize (Cornell University, USA)
Prof. J.-M. Lehn, Nobel Prize (University of Strasbourg, Collège de France, France)
Prof. M. T. Reetz (Max-Planck Institut, Germany)
Prof. F. Stoddart (Northwestern University, USA)
Prof. H. This (AgroParisTech, France) together with P. Gagnaire (3 stars Chef)

Prof. T. Aida (University of Tokyo, Japan)

Prof AidaDr. Takuzo Aida was born in 1956. He received his Ph.D. in Polymer Chemistry from the University of Tokyo in 1984, and then began his academic career at the same university on precision polymer synthesis. In 1996, he was promoted to Full Professor of the Department of Chemistry and Biotechnology, School of Engineering, the University of Tokyo. His research interests include optoelectronic soft materials, bioinspired macromolecules, and molecular and biomolecular machines. He is now the director for Riken Advanced Science Institute. He has received many awards including, as recent examples, American Chemical Society Award in Polymer Chemistry in 2009 and Alexander von Humboldt Research Award in 2011.

Prof. J.-P. Changeux (Collège de France, France)

Dr. Jean-Pierre Changeux, born in Domont (France) in 1936, studied at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris, pursued PhD studies at the Pasteur Institute under the direction of Jacques Monod and Francois Jacob, and gained his doctorate in 1964. In 1972, he became director of the Unit of Molecular Neurobiology at the Pasteur Institute, where he received a professorship in 1975 and was elected the same year professor at the Collège de France, chair of Cell Communications. In 1988 he became a member of the Academy of Sciences and received the Gold Medal of the CNRS in  1992. Dr. Changeux has been faithful to a handful of scientific questions, at molecular, cellular and brain levels. If one needs to seek a unifying theme to all of them, it is the conviction that selection is the basis of life processes, rather than instruction. While started as separate lines of investigations, all the research threads were tied in the recent decades within the study of allosteric mechanisms as a basis for the involvement of nicotinic receptors in cognitive functions. He is currently affiliated to the Pasteur Institute (Paris).

Prof. C. Cohen-Tannoudji, Nobel Prize (Collège de France, France)

Prof CohenDr. Claude Cohen-Tannoudji, born in Constantine (Algeria) in 1933, studied at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris, where he received a postdoctoral lecture qualification in 1962. In 1973 he was accepted at the Collège de France, and in 1981 became a member of the Academy of Sciences. In 1997, Claude Cohen-Tannoudji was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for his research on laser cooling of neutral atoms (together with Steven Chu and William D. Phillips). The method is relevant for the development of precise atomic clocks, which are used for positioning and navigation. His is currently affiliated to the Laboratoire de Physique at the École Normale Supérieure (Paris).

Prof. P. Corvol (Collège de France, France)

Dr. Pierre Corvol, born in Boulogne-Billancourt (France) in 1941, is a doctor in medicine, with a post-graduate degree in biochemistry. He has held the posts of intern in Hospitals of Paris (1964), International Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the National Institutes of Health in the United States (1969), Senior Registrar (1971), Associate Professor at the Faculty of Medicine at Broussais - Hôtel-Dieu (1976), Head of the Hypertension Department at Broussais Hospital (1986), and was a doctor at the Hôpital Européen Georges Pompidou until August 2007. From 1983 to 2006, Pierre Corvol directed the INSERM 36 Unit (Vascular Pathology and Renal Endocrinology), and is the head of one of the three teams at INSERM U833 (Psychological and Pathological Angiogenesis). He is Director of IRF 52 (Institut Fédératif de Recherche de Biologie du Collège de France). He is the recipient of many international awards for his work on human hypertension and on the renin-angiotensin system, a vital element in controlling cardiovascular function. He is honorary Professor at the Collège de France (Chair of Experimental Medicine) since 1989, and was one of its trustees from 2006 to 2012.

Prof. B. Feringa (University of Groningen, The Netherlands)

Prof FeringaDr. Ben L. Feringa obtained his PhD degree at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands under the guidance of Professor Hans Wynberg. After working as a research scientist at Shell in the Netherlands and the UK, he was appointed lecturer and in 1988 full professor at the University of Groningen and named the Jacobus H. van't Hoff Distinguished Professor of Molecular Sciences in 2004. He was elected Foreign Honory member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and member and vice-president of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences. In 2008 he was appointed Academy Professor and was knighted by Her Majesty the Queen of the Netherlands. Feringa’s research has been recognized with a number of awards including the Humboldt Award (2012) and the Nagoya gold medal (2013). Feringa is currently director of the Center for Systems Chemistry at the University of Groningen. The research interest includes stereochemistry, organic synthesis, asymmetric catalysis, molecular switches and motors, self-assembly and molecular nanosystems.

Prof. R. Hoffmann, Nobel Prize (Cornell University, USA)

Prof HoffmannDr. Roald Hoffmann was born in 1937 in Zloczow, Poland. Having survived the war, he came to the U. S. in 1949, and studied chemistry at Columbia and Harvard Universities (Ph.D. 1962). Since 1965 he is at Cornell University, now as the Frank H. T. Rhodes Professor of Humane Letters Emeritus. He has received many of the honors of his profession, including the 1981 Nobel Prize in Chemistry (shared with Kenichi Fukui). "Applied theoretical chemistry" is the way Roald Hoffmann likes to characterize the particular blend of computations stimulated by experiment and the construction of generalized models, of frameworks for understanding, that is his contribution to chemistry. The pedagogical perspective is very strong in his work.

Prof. J.-M. Lehn, Nobel Prize (University of Strasbourg, Collège de France, France)

Prof LehnDr. Jean-Marie LEHN was born in Rosheim, France in 1939. Lehn earned a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Strasbourg in 1963, and in 1970 he became a professor of chemistry at Louis Pasteur University in Strasbourg. From 1979 to 2010 he was professor at the College de France in Paris and director of the Supramolecular Chemistry Laboratory in Strasbourg. He continues presently to direct this laboratory as Professor Emeritus at the University of Strasbourg. In 1987 Jean-Marie, together with Charles J. Pedersen and Donald J. Cram, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry for their development and use of molecules with structure-specific interactions of high selectivity. This chemical basis of “molecular recognition” (i.e. the way in which a receptor molecule recognizes and selectively binds a substrate) also plays a fundamental role in biological processes.

Prof. M. T. Reetz (Max-Planck Institut, Germany)

Prof ReetzDr. Manfred Reetz was born in Hirschberg, Germany, in 1943 and immigrated to the USA in 1952. He obtained his Bachelor’s degree from the Washington University, USA, and his Master’s degree from the University of Michigan, USA. He returned to Germany to complete his Ph.D. at the University of Göttingen. He has been a Professor at several German and American universities, including the universities of Marburg and Bonn, in Germany, and Florida State University and University of Wisconsin in the US. In 1991, he was appointed as the Director of the Max-Planck-Institute for Coal Research, where he remained until his retirement in 2011. Reetz' research involves the introduction of molecular biology into synthetic organic chemistry, for example, for selective C–C and C–H activating oxidations of simple and complex organic compounds as well as hydrolytic processes. He is also known for investigating biological strategies and techniques for rapidly probing protein sequence space and the development of high-throughput screening systems for evaluating stereoselectivity and thermostability of enzyme mutants.

Prof. F. Stoddart (Northwestern University, USA)

Prof StoddartSir James Fraser Stoddart (born 24 May 1942) is a Scottish chemist currently (as of 22 March 2014) at the Department of Chemistry at Northwestern University in the United States. He works in the area of supramolecular chemistry and nanotechnology. Stoddart has developed highly efficient syntheses of mechanically-interlocked molecular architectures such as molecular Borromean rings, catenanes and rotaxanes utilizing molecular recognition and molecular self-assembly processes. He has demonstrated that these topologies can be employed as molecular switches and as motor-molecules. His group has even applied these structures in the fabrication of nanoelectronic devices and nanoelectromechanical systems (NEMS). His efforts have been recognized by numerous awards including the 2007 King Faisal International Prize in Science.

Prof. H. This (AgroParisTech, France) together with P. Gagnaire (3 stars Chef)

Prof This - Pierre GagnaireDr. Hervé This (born 1955 in Suresnes, Hauts-de-Seine) is a French physical chemist who works for the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique at AgroParisTech. He is one of the world’s experts on the chemistry of cooking. He is the Scientific Director of the Foundation for Food Science & Culture at the French Academy of Sciences, and Director of the Molecular Gastronomy Team at AgroParisTech. He obtained a PhD from the University Paris VI on "Molecular and physical gastronomy". He has published many scientific papers, as well as regular collaborations to engage the general public with the scientific concepts behind cooking.

Pierre Gagnaire (born 9 April 1950 in Apinac, Loire) is a world-famous French chef, and is the Head Chef and owner of the eponymous Pierre Gagnaire restaurant at 6 rue Balzac in Paris (in the 8th arrondissement). Gagnaire is an iconoclastic chef at the forefront of the fusion cuisine movement. Beginning his career in St. Etienne where he won three Michelin Stars, Gagnaire tore at the conventions of classic French cooking by introducing jarring juxtapositions of flavours, tastes, textures, and ingredients. On his website Pierre Gagnaire gives his mission statement as the wish to run a restaurant which is 'facing tomorrow but respectful of yesterday' ("tourné vers demain mais soucieux d'hier").