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Henrik Helligsø Jensen celebrates click chemistry in 'Dansk Kemi'

The latest issue of 'Dansk Kemi' is dedicated to click chemistry and Morten Meldal's Nobel Prize. Associate Professor Henrik Helligsø Jensen celebrates Morten's work and describes how click chemistry has impacted his own research.

Portrait of Associate Professor Henrik Helligsø Jensen.
Associate Professor Henrik Helligsø Jensen. Photo: Department of Chemistry, AU

Ever since Morten Meldal, K. Barry Sharpless and Carolyn R. Bertozzi received the 2022 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their discovery and development of click chemistry and bioorthogonal chemistry, the public and the natural science environment have shown great interest in the three scientists' work.

In basic terms, click chemistry is a tool to assemble certain functional groups, which are forms of molecular appendages. The tool – or the click-chemical reactions – takes place with high efficiency under mild conditions and without the formation of malignant by-products. The former means that high temperatures or certain solvents are not required for the click reactions to take place, which is important in handling sensitive molecules. In addition, click chemistry's ability to be used in mild conditions and the fact that dangerous by-products are not formed contribute to a sustainable aspect. In other words, click chemistry is a modern tool, customised to assemble molecular fragments in an easy and streamlined way. Today, the tool is used, to a great extent, on small molecules, macromolecules and in the development of polymers in materials science.

In the latest issue of 'Dansk Kemi', which is dedicated to click chemistry and Morten Meldal's Nobel Prize, Henrik Helligsø Jensen celebrates Morten Meldal and his work with this exceptional tool. Henrik explains how the tool has helped him and his research group to develop non-natural oligosaccharides and shown that also these molecules possess the ability of protein recognition even though they do not have quite the correct chemical structure.

You can read the new issue of 'Dansk Kemi' here (Danish only). Henrik's contribution can be found on pages 13-15.