Prof Gerhard Bringmann, Professor at the University of Würzburg in Germany, is a leading scientist in the field of natural products chemistry. He has addressed highly challenging, multi-disciplinary topics of natural products chemistry in a comprehensive, interdisciplinary way, with analytical, synthetic, computational, and medicinal facets – from the plant (or sponge or other biological source) and its cultivation to the discovery of novel-type compounds right from the peak in the chromatogram by hyphenated methods, the isolation and structural elucidation even in the case of challenging stereochemical features, the investigation of their biosynthesis, including the discovery of novel biosynthetic pathways, the exploration of their bioactivities (with an emphasis on tropical infectious diseases), and their optimisation by structural modification, and, together with scientists from other disciplines, the elucidation of their modes of action.
The high degree of interdisciplinarity within his group is facilitated by his broad horizon in chemistry and biology, and further enhanced by numerous interdisciplinary collaborations, i.a. inefficient networks, one of them the SFB 630 network ("Recognition, Preparation and Functional Analysis of Agents against Infectious Diseases"), which he initiated and coordinates, with scientists from four faculties (Chemistry and Pharmacy, Biology, Medicine, and Physics) and from the Division of Tropical Medicine of the Missionary Clinic in Würzburg.
Bringmann is by far the leading scientist in the field of naphthylisoquinoline alkaloids from tropical lianas. He has discovered new biosynthetic pathways (the first acetogenic isoquinoline alkaloids, convergence in polyketide biosynthesis), has explored highly promising classes of compounds, in particular with axial chirality, to which he has delivered great contributions analytically, synthetically, and pharmacologically.
He managed to further enhance the impact of natural products chemistry at many levels by initiating and founding organizations, events, and networks, bringing people together and giving young scientists a chance to further develop, particularly in Africa. He has published ca. 670 papers from plant natural product chemistry.