T32 Seminar

Peter H. Seeberger, PhD

Director, Max-Planck Institute for Colloids and Interfaces
Potsdam, Germany

Wednesday, April 17 | 12:00 pm
Ryan 4003
Coffee and refreshments will be served at 11:45 am


Automated Glycan Assembly:  Basis for Molecular Glycobiology, Materials and Vaccines

Pure glycans are essential for biochemical, biophysical and immunological studies aimed at understanding the role of carbohydrates and for biomedical applications. Automated glycan assembly (AGA)1-3 is a platform to produce complex oligosaccharides4 as long as 50-mers5 for biological, biomedical and materials science investigations.6
Vaccine programs aimed at protection from a series of Streptococcus pneumoniae serotypes7, Clostridium difficile8 and Klebsiella pneumoniae9 have progressed to the late preclinical stages and are now advancing to the clinic. Synthetic oligosaccharides serve as basis for tools such as glycan microarrays and for the production of monoclonal antibodies.

1. Science 2001, 291, 1523.
2. Acc. Chem. Res. 2015, 48, 1450
3. ProcNat Acad Sci USA, 2017, 114, E3385
4. Nature Comm. 2016, 7, 12482.
5. Chem.Comm. 2017, 53, 9085; Chem. Eur. J. 2018, 24, 6075
6. J.Am.Chem.Soc., 2018, 140, 5421; J.Am.Chem.Soc., 2019, 141, online.
7. Science Transl. Med. 2017, 9, eaaf5347; PNAS 2017, 114, 11063; J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2017, 139, 14783; PNAS, 2018, 115, 13353.
8. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2013, 135, 9713; Nature Comm. 2016, 7, 11224; Cell Chem. Bio. 2016, 23, 1014.
9. Angew.Chem.Int.Ed. 2017, 56, 13973.


Peter H. Seeberger studied chemistry in Erlangen (Germany) and completed a PhD in biochemistry in Boulder (USA). After a postdoctoral fellowship at the Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center Research in New York he advanced to tenured Firmenich Associate Professor of Chemistry at MIT. After six years as Professor at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich he assumed positions as Director at the Max-Planck Institute for Colloids and Interfaces in Potsdam and Professor at the Free University of Berlin in 2009. In addition, he serves as honorary Professor at the University of Potsdam. From 2003-2014 he was Affiliate Professor at the Sanford-Burnham Institute for Medical Research (La Jolla, USA). He is a member of the governing bodies of the Max-Planck Society (“Senate”) and the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences (“Rat”).

Professor Seeberger’s research on the chemistry and biology of carbohydrates, carbohydrate vaccine development and continuous flow synthesis of drug substances spans a broad range of topics from engineering to immunology and has been documented in over 500 peer-reviewed journal articles, four books, more than 40 patents, over 200 published abstracts and more than 850 invited lectures. This work was recognized with more than 35 international awards from the US (e.g. Arthur C. Cope Young Scholar Award, Horace B. Isbell Award, Claude S. Hudson Award from the American Chemical Society), Germany (e.g. Körber Prize for European Sciences, Wissenschaftspreis des Stifterverbandes), Holland (Havinga Medal), Israel (Honorary Lifetime Member Israel Chemical Society), Japan (Yoshimasa Hirata Gold Medal), Switzerland (“The 100 Most Important Swiss”), the Philippines (“Gusi Peace Prize”) and international organizations (Whistler Award 2012, Int. Carboh. Soc.). In 2013 he was elected to the Berlin-Brandenburg (Prussian) Academy of Sciences.

Peter H. Seeberger greatly supports the idea of open access publishing as the Editor-in-Chief of the Beilstein Journal of Organic Chemistry and serves on the editorial advisory boards of many other journals.

Through his work in the area of neglected diseases, Peter Seeberger has become involved in philanthropic causes. He is a co-founder of the Tesfa-Ilg “Hope for Africa” Foundation that aims at improving health care in Ethiopia that recently helped to build a bed-net factory and established an IT training center.

The research in the Seeberger laboratory has given rise to eight successful companies in the USA, Switzerland, Denmark and Germany.



Hosted by CLP Trainee Elamar Hakim Moully. Supported by the Chemistry of Life Processes Predoctoral Training Program NIH/ NIGMS 5T32GM105538-06