Waldmann, Herbert

Max Planck Institut of Molecular Physiology (Germany)

Herbert Waldmann was born in Neuwied, Germany and studied chemistry at the University of Mainz where he received his PhD in organic chemistry in 1985 under the guidance of Horst Kunz. After a postdoctoral appointment with George Whitesides at Harvard University, he completed his habilitation at the University of Mainz in 1991. In 1999 he was appointed Director at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Physiology Dortmund and Professor of Organic Chemistry at the University of Dortmund. His research interests lie in the syntheses of signal transduction modulators and the syntheses of natural product inspired compound libraries and their biological evaluation. He is a member of several Editorial Boards of international journals such as Angewandte Chemie, and ChemBioChem, and he is the Editorin Chief for Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry. He also serves on various Advisory Boards including Max‐Planck Innovation GmbH (Chairman) and Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation and he is member of the Scientific Committee of the Institut Européen de Chimie et Biologie, Bordeaux, France.

He has been the recipient of the Friedrich Weygand Award for the advancement of peptide chemistry, of the Carl Duisberg Award of the Gesellschaft Deutscher Chemiker, the Otto‐Bayer‐Award, the Steinhofer Award of the Steinhofer Foundation, the Max Bergmann Medal, the GSK Award on Chemical Biology, the Hans‐Herloff Inhoffen‐Medal, the Emil‐Fischer‐Medal, he is a Member of „Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher Leopoldina, Halle/Saale“, of the NRW Akademie der Wissenschaft und der Künste and since 2005 he is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry. In 2014 he received the Honorary Doctorate (Dr. h. c.) bestowed by Leiden University, NL.
Among his lectureships are the prestigious Van de Kerk Lectureship, University of Utrecht, 2002, the Amgen Lecturer, USA 2003, the R. Raphael Lectureship, Glasgow, 2005, the Roessler Lectures, Cornell University, Ithaca, USA, 2006 as well as the Musgrave Lectureship, Department of Chemistry, University of Durham, GB 2006, the Bridget Ogilvie Lecture, School of Life Sciences, University of Dundee, GB, 2006 , the Melvin Calvin Lecture, UC Berkeley, USA, 2007, the Cedric Hassall Lecture, Gregynog, GB, 2007, the IICT Hyderabad Foundation Day Lecture, India, 2008, the Felix Serratosa Lecture, CSIC Barcelona, Spain, 2009 and the Wang Yu Memorial Lecture, Shanghai, 2009, the 35th Mellanby Memorial Lecture, CDRI, Lucknow, India, 2010 and the Wilhelm‐Manchot Research Professor‐ and Lectureship, TU Munich, 2011.


Pseudo Natural Products – Chemical Evolution of Natural Product Structure


Natural products have provided inspiration for chemical biology and medicinal chemistry research. However, their often complex structure, and, therefore, demanding synthesis as well as their frequent unavailability, hamper their application.

This raises the fundamental question whether the particular structural and biological properties of natural products can be translated to structurally less demanding compounds, readily accessible by chemical synthesis and yet still endowed with pronounced bioactivity.

The lecture will describe a logic for the simplification of natural product structure by means of “Biology Oriented Synthesis” (BIOS) and its evolution into the “Pseudo Natural Product” (PNP) concept. Application of natural product inspired compound collections designed and synthesized following these principles in cell-based phenotypic assays and subsequent identification of the cellular target proteins demonstrate that the BIOS and PNPs may enable innovation in both chemical biology and medicinal chemistry research.

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