On December 12th, UG student Daan Bunt has been awarded the prestigious 2019 Unilever Research Prize for his Master’s thesis on antibiotics. Bunt worked on the first chemical synthesis of two natural compounds that originate from plants found in China. By using novel synthesis methodology, he made an advanced stage in the preparation of these compounds that was not accessible before. The jury, considered Bunts’ Master's thesis ‘Towards the Total Synthesis of Dissectol A and Serratumin A’ as excellent. He wrote it with ample attention for the reaction mechanisms involved. The results of his work are now used as the manual to complete the synthesis of these compounds.
Bunt is described as a hard-working and highly motivated student, with the talent to combine brains and hands in the chemical laboratory. Due to the quality of his work, Bunt already obtained grants from the Erasmus fund, the Groninger Universiteitsfonds and the H.J. Backer fonds. With this, he was able to perform a research stay at the University of Gent, Belgium, in the group of Prof. Winne.
With the prize, Daan Bunt received EUR 2,500 and the sculpture ‘The Ovum’, symbolising the emergence of new talent. The Unilever Research Prize is awarded annually to young academics conducting promising research in chemistry, biotechnology, mechanical engineering, biology, agricultural science or social sciences. Unilever thus seeks to stimulate these talented students to become top researchers.
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