Published on 16.11.2021


NCCR Bio-Inspired Materials graduate Dr. Subhajit Pal has been awarded the 2021 Chorafas Prize for the best doctoral thesis in natural sciences at the University of Fribourg. Pal completed his PhD thesis on “Towards Sequence Controlled Polymer Synthesis” as a member of NCCR Principal Investigator Prof. Andreas Kilbinger’s group at the Department of Chemistry.

His thesis focused on developing novel synthetic methodologies for biomimetic functional polymer synthesis, taking its cue from nature’s mastery of producing on-demand smart materials. He was able to develop new and precise methods of polymer synthesis allowing him to create hollow helixes. These can mimic biological functions such as ion transport, water transport, and information storage, and could find potential applications in biology and material chemistry.

Pal was awarded a Master’s degree in organic chemistry at Visva-Bharati University in India. He is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Fribourg’s Adolphe Merkle Institute, investigating stimuli-responsive encapsulated organogels as a member of NCCR PI Prof. Christoph Weder’s Polymer Chemistry and Materials group. 

The Dimitris N. Chorafas Foundation awards scientific prizes for outstanding work in selected fields in the engineering sciences, medicine and the natural sciences. It rewards research characterized by its high potential for practical application and by the special significance attached to its possible future use.  Every year, partner universities in Europe, North America and Asia evaluate the research work of their graduating Ph.D. students and nominate the best for the award. The Foundation awards the prize, worth $5,000 (CHF 5,000), to the best doctoral student(s) at each partner university, of which there are three in Switzerland: the University of Fribourg, and the Federal Institutes of the Technology in Zurich and Lausanne (ETHZ and EPFL).