28 August 2015

Prestigious American Chemical Society awards for Albert Heck and Geert-Jan Boons

The American Chemical Society has honoured Albert Heck with the ‘ACS Frank H. Field and Joe L. Franklin Award for Outstanding Achievements in Mass Spectrometry’, and will present a ‘Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award’ to Geert-Jan Boons. Heck receives the award for his development of new methods and techniques to identify and study the structure and function of proteins and protein complexes. Boons receives the award for his contribution to our understanding of the structure and function of complex sugars in human cells. 

In the field of Chemistry, the American Chemical Society Awards are considered to be very prestigious, and are almost exclusively presented to researchers from America. The Awards will be presented during the meetings of the American Chemical Society in March and August 2016.

Albert Heck

Albert Heck

Albert Heck (1964) is currently Professor of Biomolecular Mass Spectrometry and Proteomics at Utrecht University. Mass Spectrometry is a technique used to identify and study the structure-function relationship of bio-molecules. Heck has played a major role in developing innovative mass spectrometry techniques to simultaneously identify the thousands of different proteins and protein complexes that control all of the processes in our cells that are vital for life. This field, known as Proteomics, has given considerable support to the study of the function of proteins and their role in health and disease.

Heck is one of the leaders in his field, both in the Netherlands and abroad. He is the coordinator of the European proteomics organisation PRIME-XS and the NWO-funded roadmap facility Proteins@Work. His previous awards include the KNCV Golden Medal and the Discovery Award in Proteomic Sciences, the most important global award in the field of proteomics.

Heck will be presented with the ACS Frank H. Field and Joe L. Franklin Award ‘”For his outstanding work in the field of protein mass spectrometry, and role in the development of enabling technologies for both proteomics and structural biology”.

Geert-Jan Boons

Geert-Jan Boons

Geert-Jan Boons (1962) is an expert in the field of the synthesis of complex carbohydrate and sugar bonds, which he uses to study their function in the human body. He has held the post of Professor of Chemical Pharmacology at Utrecht University since June 2015. He will also remain provisionally affiliated with the Complex Carbohydrate Research Center at the University of Georgia (USA).

Boons is also considered one of the leaders in his field. He recently received the Roy L. Whistler International Award in Carbohydrate Chemistry, the most important award within his field.

Boons will be presented with the Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award “for his seminal contributions to glycoscience by developing novel methods for oligosaccharide assembly, the preparation of important glycoconjugates and their use in biological studies”.

Gezamenlijk onderzoeksvoorstel

The research conducted by Geert-Jan Boons and Albert Heck is located at the juncture between the fields of pharmaceutical sciences, chemistry, biology and medicine. Their work is characterised by the successful combination of method development and applications in relevant biological and medical issues. Early this year, a joint research proposal submitted by Heck and Boons was honoured with a two million Euro TOP-PUNT subsidy from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO).