Two Texas A&M University chemists have been selected to receive 2013 Royal Society of Chemistry Awards in recognition of their excellence and achievements in chemistry.

Dr. Kevin Burgess, professor of chemistry and inaugural holder of the Rachal Chair in Chemistry, and Dr. John A. Gladysz, distinguished professor of chemistry and inaugural holder of the Dow Chair in Chemical Invention, are among 55 international chemists -- 16 nationwide and three in Texas -- announced as RSC Prize (40) and RSC Award (15) winners in the June and July issues, respectively, of RSC News. Each will receive £2000, a medal and a certificate and will deliver an invited lecture on their award-winning research at a location within the United Kingdom during the next academic year.

The University of Cambridge paced the field with seven recipients, followed by the University of Bristol and Northwestern University (5 each), the University of Oxford (4) and Imperial College of London (3). Texas A&M was one of six institutions with two honorees to round out the multiple-winners list.

Burgess and Gladysz were recognized in the organic division, one of nine categorical areas highlighted within an overall recognition portfolio designed to reward outstanding work carried out by scientists in specialized areas spanning the breadth of the chemical sciences. Burgess received the Pedler Award, an annual honor recognizing contributions to any area of organic chemistry from researchers under the age of 55, while Gladysz earned the Organometallic Chemistry Award, which biennially celebrates trailblazing aspects of organic chemistry relating to the main group and transition metals.

"Each year research and teaching achievements by chemistry department faculty are recognized with national level awards," said Dr. David H. Russell, Applied Biosystems/MDS Sciex Professor of Mass Spectrometry in Chemistry and head of the Department of Chemistry. "The RSC awards to Dr. Burgess and Dr. Gladysz reflect the high levels of impact of their research programs in a more global sense."

Specifically, Burgess was cited "for his important contributions in both synthetic and biological chemistry, such as the development of asymmetric hydrogenation and peptidomimetics, respectively." Meanwhile, Gladysz was cited "for his diverse and creative contributions to synthetic inorganic chemistry, including new forms of coordinated carbon, metal-based molecular devices, fluorine-rich catalysts and chiral metal complexes."

Since joining the Texas A&M Department of Chemistry in 1992, Burgess has built a program around a diversity of interests, establishing himself as one of the most innovative and influential organic chemists of his generation in the process. In the simplest of terms, he specializes in making chemistry more efficient for industries that span the gamut of medicinal research and pharmacology. He designs compounds, dubbed "Frankenstein molecules," to disrupt protein-protein interactions that impact a host of diseases, including cancer, diabetes and neurological disorders. In addition, he is developing new fluorescent dyes to monitor these disruptions, paving the way for potential spectroscopic imaging tools useful in cell biology and pharmaceutically related areas.

Burgess' research has attracted simultaneous funding from the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation and The Robert A. Welch Foundation. In 2012, he started his own company, Small Molecule PPI Mimics, to capitalize on some of his discoveries and further aid in research development. He also has edited a book, Solid Phase Syntheses, and authored an undergraduate problem text, Organic Chemistry By Inquisition. He has co-authored monthly contributions to the Highlights section of the journal Chemistry and Industry since 1985.

Gladysz, a native of the Kalamazoo, Michigan area, has been a member of the Texas A&M faculty since 2007. Previously he spent 10 years at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, where he held the Chair of Organic Chemistry, and had faculty positions at the University of Utah (1982-98) and UCLA (1974-82). Gladysz's research spans a wide range of problems in the general areas of synthetic and mechanistic organometallic chemistry and catalysis, impacting a broad spectrum of fields and industries. His work has been described in more than 400 widely-cited publications and earned him international acclaim, most notably an Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Research Award for Senior Scientists (1995). He also has received the American Chemical Society's Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award (1988) and Award in Organometallic Chemistry (1994) as well as the International Fluorous Technologies Award (2007).

A longtime member of the ACS, The Chemical Society and the Gesellschaft Deutscher Chemiker, Gladysz is a past Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellow (1980-84) and Camille and Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Grant recipient (1980-85). A former associate editor of Chemical Reviews (1984-2010), the journal with the highest impact factor in chemistry, Gladysz has served since 2010 as editor-in-chief of Organometallics, the nation's top journal at the interface of organic and inorganic chemistry.

The Royal Society of Chemistry is the largest organization in Europe for advancing the chemical sciences. Supported by a worldwide network of members and an international publishing business, the RSC's activities span education, conferences, science policy and the promotion of chemistry to the public.

For a complete list of winners and further information on individual awards, visit www.rsc.org/awards.


Contact: Shana K. Hutchins, (979) 862-1237 or shutchins@science.tamu.edu

Hutchins Shana

  • Dr. Kevin Burgess

    (Credit: James Lyle, Texas A&M Foundation.)

  • Dr. John A. Gladysz

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