ERC Consolidator grant for Wim Noorduin
AMOLF group leader Wim Noorduin (Self-Organizing Matter) has received an ERC Consolidator grant amounting 2.4 million euros from the European Research Council (ERC). In addition to being an AMOLF group leader, Noorduin holds a professorship by special appointment at the University of Amsterdam (UvA).
The ERC Consolidator Grants are designed to support excellent Principal Investigators at the career stage at which they may still be consolidating their own independent research team or program. Principal Investigators must demonstrate the ground-breaking nature, ambition and feasibility of their scientific proposal.
Research plan CHIRAL
The molecular building blocks of life are of only one handedness. Consequently, pharmaceuticals and other bioactive molecules also need to be of one handedness. When such enantiomers crystallize in separate crystals, isolation of the desired handedness is relatively straightforward. Unfortunately, most enantiomers (90-95%) are thermodynamically more stable as racemic compounds with both enantiomers in the crystallographic unit cell, which impedes any such separations. There are currently no methods to systematically overcome this major bottleneck, thus hindering simple routes towards many essential enantiopure molecules. The CHIRAL proposal is aimed at overcoming this fundamental challenge by establishing new principles to turn racemic compounds into molecules of a desired handedness.