Eelco Ruijter receives NWO ECHO grant

The €260.000 grant allows him to develop new stereoselective cascade cyclizations for the synthesis of complex molecular architectures.

05/03/2018 | 2:37 PM

Medicinal plants have been used since the dawn of mankind for the treatment of various ailments. Many of these plants owe their medicinal (or toxic) properties to the presence of alkaloids, nitrogen-containing molecules with often complex molecular structures comprising several ring systems in a specific 3D arrangement. While Nature can make a broad variety of such compounds, their synthesis in the lab is a very challenging task. At the same time, synthetic access is crucial for the generation of variations of natural product structures with improved medicinal properties.

New reactions

Eelco Ruijter aims to develop new reactions that allow the construction of these complex polycyclic architectures with precise control over the 3D structure by forming several new chemical bonds in a single process. Such reactions can also be applied in other areas, e.g. the efficient generation of new scaffolds for drug discovery.

This ECHO grant allows Ruijter to hire a new PhD student that will receive advanced intellectual and practical training in this exciting and challenging research line.


The ECHO grants programme facilitates curiosity-driven research by excellent researchers in chemistry. This allows creative, risky ideas to be pursued. These may be the seeds for future research themes and thus scientific innovation.

More information

For more information, please visit the website of the Synthetic & Bio-Organic Chemistry research group.