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Nicole Hauser joins the department

Nicole Hauser joins the Department of Chemistry as new tenure track assistant professor. For the last few years, Nicole has been a part of Prof. Mohammad R. Seyedsayamdost’s laboratory at Princeton University, which focuses on the isolation of natural products, their biosynthesis and biocatalysis.

At Princeton, Nicole researched how to make the synthesis of medical drugs more efficient and sustainable through the use of enzymes, which are Nature’s catalysts. Today, drug design and development are mainly done through methods of synthetic organic chemistry. However, in recent years, research in using enzymes to synthesise and modify medical drugs have intensified. It is such biocatalysts Nicole will research further and harness for synthesis at our department.

Using natural enzymes in drug syntheses can make it easier to modify predetermined molecular structures and properties because natural enzymes specifically modify what they by Nature are 'programmed' to modify. Most current synthetic organic methods cannot 'comply' with such strict rules: They often unselectively alter reactive groups on the molecule, affecting the molecule's properties. Thus, other reactive groups need to be protected and later deprotected during the synthesis, which leads to a longer work process. 

Also, natural enzymes are a greener choice for drug synthesis. This is due to the fact that natural enzymes can function in more docile environments, for example in water and at body temperature, whereas conventional synthetic methods almost exclusively require organic solvents and often cooling or heating to extreme temperatures, which, among other things, emit more CO2.

However, not all synthetic transformations can be catalysed by enzymes, and therefore Nicole will combine synthetic methods and natural enzymes for developing more efficient drug syntheses.

We look forward to getting to know you better, Nicole. Welcome to Aarhus.

Personal information

  • 32 years old.
  • Born in Zizers, a small village in the canton of Graubünden, Switzerland.
  • She got her Bachelor's and Master's degrees at ETH Zürich, followed by an internship at the pharmaceutical company Roche. After that, she began her PhD studies - also at ETH Zürich - where she studied the total synthesis of natural products in the group of Prof. Erick M. Carreira.
  • In September 2020, she started a postdoc position in Prof. Mohammad R. Seyedsayamdost's research group at Princeton University. The position ended in April 2023.
  • Nicole will now begin the progress of building her own research group at the Department of Chemistry, Aarhus University.