RNDr. Miroslav Kvasnica, Palacký University, Olomouc, Czech Republic, and Institute of Experimental Botany of the Czech Academy of Sciences (pictured on the left), has been awarded the Kenji Mori Medal 2021 by the Isoprenoid Society, Prague, Czech Republic. Kvasnica was honored for an exceptional and multidisciplinary approach to the problem of research on natural substances.
The Kenji Mori Medal 2020 was awarded to Associate Professor Takayoshi Awakawa, Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Tokyo, Japan (pictured on the right), for his interdisciplinary work in the field of natural substances.
The medal highlights the legacy of Professor Kenji Mori (1935 – 2019), an Honorary Fellow of the society and is awarded to a young scientist working in the field of natural substances research. The awardees get the opportunity to give a talk at the next Conference on Isoprenoids. Both the 2021 and 2020 prizes were originally supposed to be presented at this year’s conference, but the event has been postponed to 2022 due to the pandemic, and the honorees will receive the medals by mail.
Kenji Mori medal from the workshop of academic sculptor Vladimír Oppl.
Miroslav Kvasnica studied chemistry at Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic, where he received his Ph.D. in organic chemistry in 2007. He served as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Denver, CO, USA, from 2009 to 2011 and as a Researcher at the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the Czech Academy of Sciences from 2006 to 2014. Since 2013, he is Lecturer at Palacký University and since 2014, he has served as Senior Scientist at the Institute of Experimental Botany of the Czech Academy of Sciences.
His research focuses on the chemistry of natural compounds and organic synthesis, in particular, the synthesis of steroids with biological activities, skeletal modifications of steroids, steroidal complexes, and the medicinal chemistry of steroids.
Takayoshi Awakawa studied applied life sciences at the Tokyo University of Science, Japan, where he received his Ph.D. in 2011. He then served as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California at San Diego, La Jolla, USA, and as Assistant Professor at the Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Tokyo. He was promoted to Associate Professor at the University of Tokyo in 2019.
Awakawa’s research focuses on the biosynthesis of natural products, enzyme biocatalysts, and the search for bioactive substances.
Selected Publications by Miroslav Kvasnica
- Synthesis of New Brassinosteroid 24-Norcholane Type Analogs Conjugated in C-3 with Benzoate Groups,
Karoll Ferrer, Katy Díaz, Miroslav Kvasnica, Andrés F. Olea, Mauricio Cuellar, Luis Espinoza,
Molecules 2021, 26, 1173.
- Local brassinosteroid biosynthesis enables optimal root growth,
Nemanja Vukašinović, Yaowei Wang, Isabelle Vanhoutte, Matyáš Fendrych, Boyu Guo, Miroslav Kvasnica, Petra Jiroutová, Jana Oklestkova, Miroslav Strnad, Eugenia Russinova,
Nat. Plants 2021, 7, 619–632.
- Synthesis and Biological Activity of Brassinosteroid Analogues with a Nitrogen-Containing Side Chain,
Mikhail V. Diachkov, Karoll Ferrer, Jana Oklestkova, Lucie Rarova, Vaclav Bazgier, Miroslav Kvasnica,
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 22, 155.
- Pentacyclic triterpenoids with nitrogen- and sulfur-containing heterocycles: synthesis and medicinal significance,
Miroslav Kvasnica, Milan Urban, Niall J. Dickinson, Jan Sarek,
Nat. Prod. Rep. 2015, 32, 1303–1330.
- Efficient Loading and Kinetic Trapping of Hexameric Pyrogallolarene Capsules in Solution,
Miroslav Kvasnica, Jennifer C. Chapin, Byron W. Purse,
Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2011, 50, 2244–2248.
- Pharmacological activities of natural triterpenoids and their therapeutic implications,
Petr Dzubak, Marian Hajduch, David Vydra, Alica Hustova, Miroslav Kvasnica, David Biedermann, Lenka Markova, Milan Urban, Jan Sarek,
Nat. Prod. Rep. 2006, 23, 394–411.
- Synthesis of phthalates of betulinic acid and betulin with cytotoxic activity,
Miroslav Kvasnica, Jan Sarek, Eva Klinotova, Petr Dzubak, Marian Hajduch,
Bioorg. Med. Chem. 2005, 13, 3447–3454.
Selected Publications by Takayoshi Awakawa
- Aziridine Formation by a FeII/α-Ketoglutarate Dependent Oxygenase and 2-Aminoisobutyrate Biosynthesis in Fungi,
Reito Bunno, Takayoshi Awakawa, Takahiro Mori, Ikuro Abe,
Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2021, 60, 15827–15831.
- Extensive expansion of the chemical diversity of fusidane-type antibiotics using a stochastic combinational strategy,
Xiaojun Song, Jianming Lv, Zhiqin Cao, Huiyun Huang, Guodong Chen, Takayoshi Awakawa, Dan Hu, Hao Gao, Ikuro Abe, Xinsheng Yao,
Acta Pharm. Sin. B 2021, 11, 1676–1685.
- Reconstitution of Polyketide-Derived Meroterpenoid Biosynthetic Pathway in Aspergillus oryzae,
Takayoshi Awakawa, Ikuro Abe,
J. Fungi 2021, 7, 486.
- Complete Biosynthetic Pathway of Anditomin: Nature’s Sophisticated Synthetic Route to a Complex Fungal Meroterpenoid,
Yudai Matsuda, Toshiyuki Wakimoto, Takahiro Mori, Takayoshi Awakawa, Ikuro Abe,
J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2014, 136, 15326–15336.
- Spiro-Ring Formation is Catalyzed by a Multifunctional Dioxygenase in Austinol Biosynthesis,
Yudai Matsuda, Takayoshi Awakawa, Toshiyuki Wakimoto, Ikuro Abe,
J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2013, 135, 10962–10965.
- Physically Discrete β-Lactamase-Type Thioesterase Catalyzes Product Release in Atrochrysone Synthesis by Iterative Type I Polyketide Synthase,
Takayoshi Awakawa, Kosuke Yokota, Nobutaka Funa, Fuminao Doi, Naoki Mori, Hidenori Watanabe, Sueharu Horinouchi,
Chem. Biol. 2009, 16, 613–623.
- Pentaketide Resorcylic Acid Synthesis by Type III Polyketide Synthase from Neurospora crassa,
Nobutaka Funa, Takayoshi Awakawa, Sueharu Horinouchi,
J. Biol. Chem. 2007, 282, 14476–14481.