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30 under 30: Building the Next Generation of Pharmaceuticals

Meet Melanie Kim Müller, one of the promising young chemists attending the 2013 Lindau Nobel Laureate meeting
Melanie Kim Müller



Courtesy of Melanie Kim Müller

Each year hundreds of the best and brightest researchers gather in Lindau, Germany, for the Nobel Laureate Meeting. There, the newest generation of scientists mingles with Nobel Prize winners and discusses their work and ideas. The 2013 meeting is dedicated to chemistry and will involve young researchers from 78 different countries. In anticipation of the event, which will take place from June 30 through July 5, we are highlighting a group of attendees under 30 who represent the future of chemistry. The following profile is the 27th in a series of 30.

27
Name: Melanie Kim Müller
Age: 25
Born: Speyer, Germany
Nationality: German

Current position: PhD student at the Technical University of Kaiserslautern in Germany
Education: Diploma degree in organic chemistry and organometallic catalysis from the Technical University of Kaiserslautern

What is your field of research?
We are using aerial dioxygen to activate cobalt complexes. In cascade reactions, these catalysts are used to build up pharmacologically active (cyclic) ethers in a diastereoselective and sustainable manner.

What drew you to chemistry, and to that research area in particular?
For me chemistry, especially organic chemistry, is always fascinating. With it we are able to create new substances that may interact with organisms in manifold ways. In our area of research we combine this topic with ecologically worthwhile methods and fundamental research—a perfect mixture!

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
After fully investigating the mechanism of our cobalt-catalyzed reaction and using it to build potential new drugs, I would love to continue research work in the chemical or pharmaceutical industry. Working together with a dedicated team of chemists and solving difficult and demanding problems would be great.

Who are your scientific heroes?
Beside the great chemists that everybody knows and honors, I think there are many unknown researchers working fervidly even when setbacks accumulate or the scientific community doubts their novel ideas. They are all scientific heroes and we should esteem and support them!

What is your dream study or experiment? If you had unlimited resources, what kind of research would you conduct?
With unlimited resources, I would try to find answers to the drug resistance problem. New antibiotics and other drugs are necessary and we need to be equipped for any conceivable challenge.

What activities outside of chemistry do you most enjoy?
I love sports, especially cycling, running, playing tennis, and dancing. My other hobbies are cooking and baking, as well as drawing and growing succulent plants. Whenever I have some energy left, I try to improve my language skills and learn new, interesting languages.

What do you hope to gain from this year’s Lindau meeting?
It is a unique opportunity to get to know young researchers from all over the world. As a scientific community, we need to think globally and live up to our responsibility by sharing our know-how and building scientific networks. I would be delighted to get some inspiration from the Nobel laureates, their power of endurance and their predictions about future developments. Which strategies did they follow on the way to their successful findings? Where do they expect to find the challenges of tomorrow?


Are there any Nobelists whom you are particularly excited to meet?
I am very excited to meet Akira Suzuki, Robert Grubbs and Richard Schrock. It would be great to find out what they think about current organometallic catalysis. Regardless of the scientists’ area of expertise, I think that we can learn a lot about research, in general, but also about personal attitudes, assumptions and social aspects from all the Nobelists.

« Previous
26. Loïc Stefan
30 Under 30:
Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting
Next »
28. Artur Ciesielski

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