Brock chemist honoured overseas

Jan Konvalinka, Vice-Rector for Research at Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic (left), presents Brock Professor of Chemistry Tomas Hudlicky (right) with Charles University’s Silver Medal for “scientific excellence and outstanding service to the international scientific community.” Konvalinka notes how, in the 1980s, Hudlicky was one of the first synthetic chemists to combine biotechnology and organic chemistry, using this approach to accomplish many total syntheses of natural compounds. “In all cases, synthetic routes described by Hudlicky were always shorter and more elegant compared to works reported by others,” says Konvalinka. “His systematic work in total synthesis of alkaloids and morphine furnished not only numerous generations of their synthesis but, more importantly, masterpieces of organic synthesis that are recognized by research community as textbook cases.” Konvalinka lauds Hudlicky’s “outstanding record” of licensed patents with pharmaceutical companies. Hudlicky, who is Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Organic Synthesis Biocatalysis, has also provided research positions and speaking opportunities for more than two dozen Czech undergraduate and graduate students, post-docs and scientists in his lab at Brock University and before that, at the University of Florida and Virginia Tech. “Most of them were affiliated in some way with Charles University,” says Hudlicky. “They were well-trained and produced great results.”