Manfred Hesse †
University of Zurich
Institute of Organic Chemistry
Manfred Hesse studied Chemistry at the Humboldt University (East Berlin), at the Free University (West Berlin), and at the University of Zurich. He carried out his Ph.D. work under the guidance of Hans Schmid (1962). With the exception of a training period in mass spectrometry at F. Hoffmann-La Roche, Basel, he has been associated throughout his career with the Institute of Organic, first as Privatdozent (1966), then as Assistant Professor (1969), as Associate Professor (1973), and since 1983 as Full Professor.
The research interests of M. Hesse focused on the structure, biosynthesis, and synthesis of natural products, as well as mechanistic studies of ring enlargement reactions, and mass- spectral investigations of complex molecules.
In the area of natural products, the biologically important polyamines, such as spermine and spermidine and their derivatives, are of special interest. Some of the derivatives are known as plant alkaloids, others were isolated from the venom of spiders and wasps, and belong to a new group of interesting neurotoxins. His goal in plant chemistry is concerned with the biogenesis of the spermine alkaloid aphelandrine from e.g. Aphelandra tetragona (Vahl) Nees., its function in the plant, as well as its synthesis. He is also interested in working out strategies for the synthesis of other macrocyclic polyamine alkaloids and polyamine toxins.
The method of electrospray ionization mass spectrometry, which allows the determination of complex ionic structures from aqueous solutions, is of great help in analyzing these polar water-soluble polyamine derivatives.
For some time, he has been investigating mechanistic aspects and synthetic uses of ring- enlargement reactions, such as the Zip-Reaction. This was discovered several years ago in M. Hesse's group. The transformation of cycloalkanones in to benzannelated lactams through imides has been achieved recently, and demonstrates the synthetic power of this rearrangement reaction.
University of Mainz
Institute of Organic Chemistry
Herbert Meier, born 1939 in Prague (Czech Republic), studied natural science and mathematics in Tübingen and Berlin (Free University). In 1968 he finished his doctoral thesis in organic chemistry under the supervision of Prof. E. Müller at the University of Tübingen. After the habilitation for organic chemistry and photochemistry in 1972 he became in 1975 an Associate Professor in Tübingen and in 1983 a Full Professor in Mainz.
Between 1985 and 2001 he was head of the Institute of Organic Chemistry and joined in 1999 the Senat of the Johannes Gutenberg-University. In the period 2001/2002 he was dean of the Faculty of Chemistry and Pharmacy in the University of Mainz. Since April 2005 he is officially retired. In 2006 he accepted a honorarium professorship at the South China University of Technology in Guangzhou (Canton).
The main scientific interests in the Institute of Organic Chemistry and the Center of Materials Sciences are summarized in point "Research Interests". Some of his approximately 500 publications, patents and contributions to monographs are listed in point "Selected Publications".