Diana Giménez-Ibáñez Wins Berlin Young Talents Award for Fluorine Chemistry Research

Award Ceremony on January 16, 2020

No 395/2019 from Dec 18, 2019

Spanish chemist Dr. Diana Giménez-Ibáñez has been selected for the Berlin Young Talents Award in the field of fluorine chemistry for her work on the influence of Fluorine-Specific interactions on the secondary structure of peptides. The award recognizes early-career female researchers who have produced outstanding scientific publications within five years after completing their doctoral degree. The jury noted in their decision that Diana Giménez-Ibáñez spent a great deal of time and energy fluorinating certain model proteins to produce Fluorine-Specific interactions between the amino acids in these proteins that stabilize the secondary structures. They also pointed out how challenging it is to introduce fluorine or fluorinated groups to precise points in proteins, since fluorine and its compounds are usually extremely reactive and thus often attack different parts of a protein indiscriminately. Collaborative Research Center (CRC) 1349 "Fluorine-Specific Interactions" and the Salvay Fluor GmbH company award the 2500.00 euro prize. Researchers from a number of institutions work together in the CRC, including Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Technische Universität Berlin, the Fritz Haber Institute of the Max Planck Society, the Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und -prüfung), the University of Bayreuth, and the University of Stuttgart. The award ceremony will take place on January 16, 2020. Admission is free and open to the public.

Diana Giménez-Ibáñez studied chemistry at the University of València (Spain). She has worked at the University of Durham (UK) as a postdoc since 2018 in the research group of chemistry professor Steven L. Cobb. Her research focuses on the lipopeptide fengycin, using tools and technology from biology, chemistry, and biophysics to gain a better understanding of how fungicides work.

Proteins are made up of long amino acid chains. The sequence of amino acids establishes the protein’s primary structure. Interactions between amino acids within the chain result in secondary structures, such as helices or pleated sheet structures. The secondary structure largely determines the effectiveness of a protein, for example as a hormone or as a drug. In nature, secondary structures are stabilized by hydrogen bonds, but they can break easily. Fluorine-Specific interactions are much more stable; however, fluorine is not a natural part of proteins and must be synthetically introduced into them.

Time and Location of the Award Ceremony

  • Thursday, January 16, 2020, starts at 1:00 p.m.
  • Lecture hall B.001, Freie Universität Berlin, Arnimallee 22, 14195 Berlin


  • Biology, chemistry, pharmacy

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