Helma Wennemers

Professor of Organic Chemistry

ETH Zurich


Helma Wennemers is an organic chemist whose research concentrates on asymmetric catalysis, chemical biology, and synthetic materials. She develops peptides to address the question whether small molecules can fulfill functions for which nature evolved large macromolecules. This scope includes the development of bioinspired asymmetric catalysts and functionalizable collagen, and molecular scaffolds for applications in supramolecular and biological chemistry (e.g., cell-penetrating peptides, and tumor targeting) and the controlled formation of metal nanoparticles.

Helma received her PhD degree from Columbia University, New York and did postdoctoral studies at Nagoya University before joining Basel University as the Bachem-endowed Assistant Professor. In the fall of 2011 Helma moved to ETH Zurich where she is Professor of Organic Chemistry. Her research has been recognized by numerous named lectureships and awards, including the Arun Guthikonda Lecturship at Columbia University, the Calvin Lecture at UC Berkeley, the David Ginsburg Lecture at the Technion in Haifa, the Leonidas Zervas Award from the European Peptide Society, the Inhoffen Medal from the Helmholtz Center, and the Pedler Award from the Royal Society of Chemistry.