(Credit: Marcetta Darensbourg, Texas A&M University Department of Chemistry.)


Dr. Stephen J. Lippard, Arthur Amos Noyes Professor of Chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a world-renowned bioinorganic chemist, is the 2016 recipient of the F.A. Cotton Medal for Excellence in Chemical Research named for one of the most honored faculty members in Texas A&M University history.

The medal is jointly awarded each year by the Texas A&M Department of Chemistry and the Texas A&M Section of the American Chemical Society (ACS) in tribute to Dr. Albert Cotton, a Texas A&M distinguished professor of chemistry widely considered one of the world's foremost inorganic chemists who passed away on February 20, 2007. He was the inaugural recipient of the medal when it was first awarded in 1995.

Lippard will be honored at an afternoon symposium set for Tuesday, March 8, in the Stephen J. Hawking Auditorium within the George P. and Cynthia Woods Mitchell Institute for Fundamental Physics and Astronomy. In addition to Lippard's keynote presentation, the event will feature talks by Johns Hopkins University chemist Kenneth Karlin and University of Texas at Austin chemist Jonathan Sessler. The symposium will be followed by an invitation-only dinner, at which Lippard will be presented with the Cotton Medal.

"Professor Lippard is a preeminent scientist whose work has made important contributions at the interface of inorganic chemistry and biology," said Dr. Simon W. North, professor and interim head of Texas A&M Chemistry. "As a former doctoral student of F.A. Cotton's at MIT and the recipient of an honorary degree from Texas A&M, his selection as a Cotton Medalist is particularly significant, professionally and personally."

Lippard, who earned his doctorate from MIT and has been a faculty member there since 1983, was born in Pittsburg. He spent a postdoctoral year at MIT during 1965-1966 and then joined the faculty at Columbia University, where he served until moving to MIT. His research spans the fields of inorganic chemistry, biological chemistry and neurochemistry in an effort to understand and improve platinum anticancer drugs, as well as the synthesis and resulting properties of metal-binding complexes.

Lippard studies biological interactions involving metal ions, focusing on reactions and physical and structural properties of metal complexes that can be useful as cancer drugs and as models for the active sites of metalloproteins. Because metal ions also promote key biological reactions in enzymes, metal complexes can be employed to sense biological signaling agents. He recently developed a fluorescent sensor that monitors nitric oxide, a molecule that plays critical roles in the human body, from destroying invading microorganisms to relaying neuronal signals.

Lippard has published 890 papers and co-authored a popular textbook with Jeremy Berg entitled "Principles of Bioinorganic Chemistry." He was an associate editor of the Journal of the American Chemical Society for more than 20 years and holds several U.S. and foreign patents.

In 2011, Lippard's research on platinum complexes led to his co-founding of Blend Therapeutics, which has received U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval to take a new platinum compound into a Phase I clinical trial for cancer treatment.

In addition to the Cotton Medal, Lippard's honors include the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Chemistry, National Medal of Science, the ACS Priestley Medal, the Royal Society of Chemistry's Centenary Medal, the Pauling Medal and the Italian Chemical Society's Sacconi Medal. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Institute of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Royal Irish Academy, the Italian Chemical Society and the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina. Also a member of the ACS, Lippard's many service contributions include a two-year appointment as Chair of the Synthetic and Biological Chemistry Study Section of the National Institutes of Health.

For more information on Lippard or the Cotton Medal and Symposium, contact Texas A&M Chemistry at (979) 845-9829 or via email at chemhead@chem.tamu.edu.

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Contact: Shana K. Hutchins, (979) 862-1237 or shutchins@science.tamu.edu or Dr. Simon W. North, (979) 845-4947 or north@chem.tamu.edu

Hutchins Shana

  • Dr. Stephen J. Lippard

    (Credit: Stephen J. Lippard.)

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