Cope Senior Scholar Award includes $40,000
unrestricted research grant
Gary Posner, Scowe Professor of Chemistry in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences at The Johns Hopkins University, was honored this week by the world's largest scientific society for 35 years of outstanding work in the field of organic chemistry. He received the 2004 Arthur C. Cope Senior Scholar Award at the American Chemical Society's 228th annual national meeting in Philadelphia.
Established by the ACS in 1984 under the terms of noted chemist Arthur C. Cope's will, the Senior Scholar Award annually recognizes four scientists ages 50 and older who have made significant contributions to the field of chemistry. The award consists of $5,000, a certificate, and a $40,000 unrestricted research grant to be assigned by the recipient to any university or nonprofit institution.
Posner's achievements include groundbreaking work in creating compounds aimed at battling both malaria and cancer, as well as helping to develop a modified form of Vitamin D that seems to delay the onset and reduce the number of skin cancers in laboratory mice without causing calcium to seep from their bones.
"I am thrilled to have been chosen by the American Chemical Society for a prestigious Cope Senior Scholar Award," said Posner, 61. "Such recognition for 'contributions of major significance to chemistry' honors not only me, but also the many graduate students and post- doctoral students who contributed original ideas as well as laboratory skills over the years in my labs at The Johns Hopkins University. Being a university teacher, researcher and mentor has made my academic career very fulfilling."
Since Posner arrived at Hopkins in 1969, he has made contributions to nearly every subspecialty of organic synthesis, publishing results in more than 250 papers and a book. His interests span topics ranging from organocopper chemistry and heterogeneous reactions on zeolites to steroid synthesis and polycomponent condensation reactions.
"Gary's award is fitting recognition of the importance of synthetic chemistry to science at Johns Hopkins," said Thomas Lectka, a professor in the Chemistry Department at Johns Hopkins. "I also believe that his award reflects the combination of creativity and practicality that represents the ideal combination of organic synthesis and medicinal chemistry. The award also recognizes his significant achievements in malaria research, a fact which is especially fitting in light of the new malaria institute at Johns Hopkins."
Posner's wide-ranging interests date back to his undergraduate days at Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass., where he initially struggled to choose between the study of biology and psychology. In the end, he said, organic chemistry's breathtaking logic and relevance to healthy living appealed to him. He graduated with a chemistry degree in 1964 and never looked back.
Four years later, Posner had earned his Ph.D. in chemistry at Harvard under the direction of Nobel laureate E.J. Corey. He then spent a year as a research fellow with William G. Dauben at the University of California, Berkeley, before joining the Johns Hopkins faculty.
Over the years, Posner has received numerous honors, including the Novartis Chemistry Lectureship in 2004-2005, Johns Hopkins' Distinguished Teaching Award in 1994, the ACS Maryland Section's Chemist of the Year Award in 1987 and a Fulbright-Hays Senior Lecturer Award in 1975.
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