Drug Design and Optimization

This group is located at the Helmholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS)

In order to combat the increasing number of resistant pathogens, the development of new anti-infective drugs is an important goal for pharmaceutical research. Efficient medications with novel modes-of-action to fight infectious diseases are urgently needed. Below, you may read more about the design, identification and optimisation of new drug candidates. This group is located at the Helmholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical research Saarland (HIPS). 


Prof. Dr. Anna K. H. Hirsch

Anna Hirsch read Natural Sciences with a focus on Chemistry at the University of Cambridge and spent her third year at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, doing a research project with Prof. Timothy Jamison on the total synthesis of amphidinolide T1.

For her Master’s project, she returned to Cambridge to develop the double conjugate addition of dithiols to propargylic carbonyl systems reaction in the group of Prof. Steven V. Ley.

She received her Ph.D. from the ETH Zurich in 2008. Her research was carried out in the group of Prof. François Diederich and consisted of de novo structure-based design and the synthesis of the first inhibitors for an enzyme as a novel approach to treat malaria.

Subsequently, she joined the group of Prof. Jean-Marie Lehn at the Institut de Science et d’Ingénierie Supramoléculaires (ISIS) in Strasbourg, before taking up a position as assistant professor at the Stratingh Institute for Chemistry at the University of Groningen in 2010. In 2015, she was promoted to associate professor of structure-based drug design. 

In 2017, she moved to the Helmholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS), where she heads the department for drug design and optimization. Her work focuses on rational approaches to drug design (with a strong focus on anti-infective targets), including structure- and fragment-based drug design in combination with dynamic combinatorial chemistry and kinetic target-guided synthesis. 

Anna Hirsch was awarded the Gratama Science Prize in 2014, the SCT-Servier Prize for Medicinal Chemistry in 2015 and the Innovation Prize for Medicinal Chemistry of the GdCh/DPhG in 2017. 


Bachelor & Master
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  • HIPS Infofilm (English)

    Resistance to antibiotics has become one of the major global challenges regarding infectious diseases. This is specifically the issue that is being tackled by the new Helmholtz-Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS).

Audio Podcast

  • Kündigung für Biofilm-WGs – Pharmazeuten des HIPS stören BakteriengemeinschaftenBakterien haben einen ausgeprägten Gemeinschaftssinn und verschanzen sich gerne in schleimigen Biofilmen. Etwa 60 Prozent aller bakteriellen Infektionen lösen inzwischen Biofilme aus. Ein besonders geselliger Keim ist Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Er ist besonders für Mukoviszidose-Patienten gefährlich. Wissenschaftler am Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland suchen nach Wegen, seine Biofilme aufzulösen – damit Medikamente wirken können. Begleiten Sie Anke Steinbach in Ihre Labore...
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