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ZHAW chemistry student wins Lab Science Award for his Bachelor's thesis on identifying new enzymes

Chemistry student Kevin Yar received the Lab Science Award 2022 for his Bachelor's thesis. The award is presented by the Toolpoint for Lab Science association and is endowed with CHF 8,000. Yar’s thesis addresses the search for new enzymes that could one day be utilised by the pharmaceutical industry to make production processes more sustainable and was supervised by Prof. Rebecca Buller at the ZHAW Institute of Chemistry and Biotechnology in Wädenswil.

The production of chemical substances has to become more sustainable. As part of this process, biocatalysis could play an important role as an environmentally friendly production alternative. In biocatalysis, enzymes, nature’s catalysts, are used for chemical transformations. This reduces the use of environmentally harmful solvents as well as rare metals and extreme reaction temperatures in chemical synthesis.

Bachelor’s thesis: enzyme discovery with a promising result

The objective of Kevin Yar’s award-winning Bachelor’s thesis was to search for previously undescribed enzymes that convert a number of pharmaceutically relevant synthons into the desired product. The chemistry student succeeded in finding completely new enzymes whose substrate spectrum and activity appear very promising. The enzymes found in this way are now being optimised further by Rebecca Buller’s Section of Biocatalysis using enzyme engineering.

Are you interested in the Bachelor’s in Chemistry at the ZHAW? If so, register now for the information day on 5 November 2022.
Claudia Weller will be happy to answer your individual questions on the study programme by phone or via e-mail.

In the video, Kevin Yar provides an insight into his award-winning Bachelor’s thesis.