July 15, 2004
Vol. 23 No. 19

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    Chemists honored for their research accomplishments

    By Steve Koppes
    News Office

    Five members of the Chemistry Department have been or soon will be honored for their research accomplishments by a variety of organizations.

    Rustem Ismagilov, Assistant Professor in Chemistry, has been named a recipient of a 2004 Faculty Early Career Development Award from the National Science Foundation and a 2004 Cottrell Scholar of the Research Corporation of Tucson, Ariz.

    The NSF calls the Career Award its most prestigious honor for new faculty members. Career Awards recognize and support the early career-development activities of teacher-scholars who are most likely to become the academic leaders of the 21st century. Ismagilov’s award will provide $500,000 to support his ongoing research on understanding the highly complex function of biological systems at the level of molecules and reactions.

    Ismagilov is attempting to solve a variety of problems that would catalyze the understanding of biology and facilitate the creation of artificial systems that mimic biological processes. He proposes to build a microfluidic device that precisely controls interacting systems of molecules and reactions.

    The $75,000 Cottrell Awards are designed to encourage research and teaching by beginning faculty members in Ph.D.-granting astronomy, chemistry and physics departments. The competition for the awards is highly competitive, going to approximately 15 percent of applicants.

    Chuan He, Assistant Professor in Chemistry and the College, has been named a 2004 Young Investigator of the G&P Foundation for Cancer Research. The foundation funds clinical and basic research to encourage the development of more effective therapies for patients with leukemia, lymphoma and related cancers.

    He will receive $215,000 over three years to study the human DNA base alkylation damage repair process. Chemicals or drugs cause Alkylation damage, and He is trying to understand how DNA base alkylation damage is recognized and located by human repair proteins. Some of these proteins also are targets for improving current alkylation chemotherapies.

    Sergey Kozmin, Assistant Professor in Chemistry, has received a 2004 Amgen Young Investigator’s Award and a 2004 Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award.

    The Teacher-Scholar Award, one of 13 presented this year by the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation, consists of $60,000 to support Kozmin’s teaching and research in chemical synthesis.

    The Amgen Award for $25,000 recognizes the importance of chemistry to the field of drug discovery. Kozmin will be honored along with the three other recipients of the award at the annual Young Investigator’s Symposium of Amgen’s Chemistry Research and Discovery Department.

    Kozmin specializes in the synthesis of new bioactive chemical compounds that are capable of regulating important cellular and metabolic processes. This field plays an increasingly important role in the advancement of the life sciences.

    Kozmin is planning to organize a chemistry/biochemistry discussion group to further stimulate the interest of undergraduate students in research opportunities on campus. He also is helping to develop a new exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry that will highlight the importance of basic research in drug discovery.

    Hisashi Yamamoto, the Arthur Holly Compton Distinguished Service Professor in Chemistry and the College, has been named the 2004 recipient of the Yamada Prize, which he will receive at Tokyo University in October. The prize is awarded annually to a scientist whose research has had a major impact in the field of synthesis of optically active compounds. The prize consists of a medal and 500,000 Japanese yen (approximately $4,700).