Internationally Renowned Chemist Exchanges Ideas with Students, Faculty

For 10 years the

Department of Chemistry

has hosted some of the brightest young minds in international chemistry as part of its Zimmer Scholar program, and the most recent scientist to be so honored certainly upholds that standard.

Hans Börner, this year’s

Zimmer Scholar

, has led the Laboratory for Organic Synthesis of Functional Systems at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin in Germany since 2009. His current research interests are devoted to the precise synthesis of functional polymers, the biomimetic regulation of polymer functions and the exploitation of specific interactions in synthetic polymers.

Still early in his professional career, Börner has already garnered numerous accolades, including the 2003 Emmy-Noether-Stipend of the German Research Foundation, the 2007 GDCh Dr. Hermann Schnell Award for the best young German scientist in the field of macromolecular science, and membership in the Max-Bergmann Society and the International Advisory Board of Macromolecular Rapid Communications and Macromolecular Bioscience of Wiley-VCH.

Assistant professor Neil Ayres nominated Börner for the Chemistry Department honor, which is given to an international scientist who is in the early or middle stages of his or her career.

“Börner is a world-renowned expert in the area of polymer-peptide bioconjugates, and an influential member of the scientific community,” Ayres says. “I thought it would be stimulating to our department to have Professor Börner come and visit with us and engage in scientific discussion.”

The Zimmer Scholar program is supported by the

Hans and Marlies Zimmer International Scholar Fund

, which was created as a memorial to Hans Zimmer and in recognition of Marlies Zimmer for her devotion to Hans in his many contributions to the Chemistry Department over his 47 years as a faculty member. The program invites internationally recognized scholars for an extended visit to the department to spend time with faculty and students. These scholars interact intensely with one or several groups within the department, and new initiatives are established based upon the strengths of the participating groups. Another benefit of the program is achieving common ground between the scholars and the department for ongoing collaboration and exchange of ideas and students.

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Börner visited campus in early April and shared his expertise in the interface of materials science and biomacromolecular chemistry. His research could lead to new avenues in “smart” materials that are expected to benefit humanity in areas including nanotechnology, medicine and advanced materials.

“There are huge benefits to our connections with Börner, and indeed all of the Zimmer Scholars. The main benefit is obviously collaborations that arise from these interactions,” Ayres says. “Additionally, it serves to build bridges between our faculty and our counterparts abroad, in terms of long-lasting relationships that serve to increase the visibility and reputation of the University of Cincinnati, and scientific networks that can share resources and ideas.”

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