In memoriam - Prof. François Diederich (ETH Zurich, Switzerland)

It was with great sadness that we learnt of the death of Professor François Diederich, Professor Organic Chemistry at ETH Zurich.

After receiving his doctoral degree from the University of Heidelberg, Professor Diederich moved to the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) from 1979 to 1981 for postdoctoral studies. He subsequently became a research associate at the Max-Planck-Institute for medical research in Heidelberg, and in 1985, Professor Diederich joined the faculty of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at UCLA as an associate professor (1985-1989) and as a full professor (1989-1992). In 1992 he was appointed Professor of Organic Chemistry at ETH Zurich. Recipient of many prestigious awards, Professor Diederich continued actively involved in research after his retirement in 2017.

In 2016, EFMC awarded Professor Diederich the Nauta Pharmacochemistry Award for Medicinal Chemistry in recognition for his outstanding contributions to the science of medicinal chemistry, including the understanding of non-bonding interactions involved in molecular recognition and their application in modern drug design. His scientific work is documented in more than 700 publications and beautifully describes interactions such as sulfur-aromatics, cation-Pi, fluorine interactions and halogen bonding that are actively used by many scientists around the world in the discovery of novel drugs. More recently, Professor Diederich joined EFMC’s Advisory Board, where he decisively contributed to the visibility of the medicinal chemistry and chemical biology community.

EFMC regrets the loss of this outstanding scientist and presents its condolences to his family at this sad time.