Bioinorganic Chemistry Award 2017 Winner

Professor Thomas Ward
Professor Thomas Ward
University of Basel


Awarded for the development of artificial metalloenzymes which have allowed a systematic investigation of second coordination sphere interactions in catalysis, ultimately leading to the implementation of new-to-nature catalysis in vivo


About the Winner

Thomas R. Ward was born in Fribourg (Switzerland) on January 8th 1964. He obtained his diploma in Chemistry in 1987 from the University of Fribourg.

From 1988 to 1991, he was a doctoral student in the group of Prof. L. M. Venanzi at the ETH Zürich in close collaboration with Prof. D. Seebach. His PhD thesis dealt with the synthesis and coordination properties of C3-symmetric phosphine ligands and their use as acetalization catalysts. It was awarded the ETH medal.
Fascinated by group theory, he joined the group of Prof. Roald Hoffmann at Cornell University as a Swiss National Science postdoctoral fellow (1991-1992). This theoretical excursion lead him into the fascinating field of heterogeneous catalysis: Why is rhodium so efficient at removing NO from car exhaust?

Soon after returning to Switzerland for a second postdoc in the group of Prof. C. Floriani at the University of Lausanne, he was awarded the A. Werner Fellowship and moved to Berne to undertake his independent career in Fall 1993. He obtained his habilitation in 1999 and moved to the University of Neuchâtel in Fall 2000 as Professor of Bioinorganic Chemistry. After seven years spent at the University of Neuchâtel, he moved to the University of Basel in March 2008. His research is centered on the exploitation of proteins as host for abiotic cofactors. The resulting artificial metalloenzymes display features reminiscent of both homogeneous catalysts and enzymes.

Related Links

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University of Basel

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