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Department of Chemistry



Prof. Dr. Peter H. Seeberger

Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces
Department of Biomolecular Systems
Research Campus Potsdam-Golm
D-14424 Potsdam


Institute of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Department of Biology, Chemistry and Pharmacy
Free University Berlin
Arnimallee 22
14195 Berlin

Web Homepage

Biographical details

Peter H. Seeberger received his Vordiplom in 1989 from the Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, where he studied chemistry as a Bavarian government fellow. In 1990 he moved as a Fulbright scholar to the University of Colorado where he earned his Ph.D. in biochemistry under the guidance of Marvin H. Caruthers in 1995. After a postdoctoral fellowship with Samuel J. Danishefsky at the Sloan-Kettering Institute for Cancer Research in New York City he became Assistant Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in January 1998 and was promoted to Firmenich Associate Professor of Chemistry with tenure in 2002. From June 2003 until January 2009 he held the position of Professor for Organic Chemistry at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich, Switzerland where he served as chair of the laboratory in 2008. In 2009 he assumed positions as Director at the Max-Planck Institute for Colloids and Surfaces in Potsdam and Professor at the Free University of Berlin. Since 2003 he has served as an Affiliate Professor at the Burnham Institute in La Jolla, CA.

Peter H. Seeberger serves as the Editor-in-Chief for the Beilstein Journal of Organic Chemistry and is on the editorial advisory boards of eleven other journals. He is a founding member of the board of the Tesfa-Ilg “Hope for Africa” Foundation that aims at improving health care in Ethiopia in particular by providing access to malaria vaccines and HIV treatments. He is a consultant and serves on the scientific advisory board of several companies. In 2006 he served as president of the Swiss Academy of Natural Sciences.

The research in professor Seeberger’s laboratory has resulted in two spin-off companies: Ancora Pharmaceuticals (founded in 2002, Medford, USA) that is currently developing a promising malaria vaccine candidate in late preclinical trials as well as several other therapeutics based on carbohydrates and i2chem that is commercializing microreactors for chemical applications.

Research Programme

Professor Seeberger’s research program is focused on elucidating the role of complex oligosaccharides involved in a host of biological processes of medical relevance by employing molecular tools created by synthetic chemistry. He is particularly interested in understanding the recognition events responsible for the interactions of oligosaccharides with proteins that control cell growth, cell differentiation, cell-cell interactions, bacterial attachment to target cells and signaling events involving the extracellular matrix. To address these questions his group is developing and applying techniques traditionally associated with the areas of organic synthesis, solid-phase chemistry, combinatorial chemistry, engineering and automation, analytical chemistry, biochemistry, enzymology, molecular biology, neurobiology, immunology and drug design.
The core interests of his research program currently addresses Automated oligosaccharide synthesis, Total Synthesis of Biologically Important Oligosaccharides, Chemical Synthesis and Biochemistry of Proteoglycans, Total Synthesis and Biological Activity of Glycosylphosphatidylinositols (GPIs), Development of Carbohydrate-based Vaccines; Microreactors for Organic Synthesis, Carbohydrate Microarrays, De novo synthesis and Nanoparticles and Colloidal Polymers.

Lecture Programme

  • Tuesday 14th May 
    16:00 Durham Lecture 1, Lecture theatre D110
    Preventing and Curing Infectious Disease: Carbohydrate Vaccines and Continuous Flow Synthesis
  • Wednesday 15th May
    16:00 Durham Lecture 2, CG85
    Automated Oligosaccharide Synthesis as Basis for Chemical Glycomics
  • Thursday 16th May
    16:00 Durham Lecture 3, CG85
    Carbohydrate-based Nanotechnology

Durham Lecturers

  • 2018 
    Prof. Nicola Spaldin
  • 2017 
    Prof. Marsha I. Lester
  • 2016
    Sir J. Fraser Stoddart
  • 2015
    Prof. James M. Tour
  • 2014
    Prof. David J. Nesbitt 
  • 2013
    Prof. Dr. Peter H. Seeberger
  • 2012
    Prof. John F. Hartwig
  • 2011
    Prof. Jacob Israelachvili
  • 2010
    Prof. Daniel G. Nocera
  • 2009
    Prof. Gerard Meijer
  • 2008
    Prof. Christian Amatore
  • 2007
    Prof. Chintamani Nagesa Ramachandra Rao
  • 2006
    Prof. Bob Grubbs