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An historic shot of the monumental staircase at the west entrance of the Texas A&M University Chemistry Building. (Credit: Cushing Memorial Library and Archives, Texas A&M University.)

COLLEGE STATION --

Dr. Jon Clardy, Hsien Wu and Daisy Yen Wu Professor in Harvard Medical School's Department of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology and a world-renowned bioinorganic chemist, is the 2016 recipient of the A.I. Scott Medal for Excellence in Biological Chemistry Research named for one of the leading faculty members in Texas A&M University's chemistry 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. A. Ian Scott, a Texas A&M distinguished professor of chemistry who made tremendous scientific contributions, both to the university and to the international chemistry community, during his 30-year career.

Clardy will be honored during an afternoon symposium set for Friday, October 21, within Texas A&M's Interdisciplinary Life Sciences Building. In addition to Clardy's 4:30 p.m. keynote presentation, the event will feature talks by University of California, San Diego chemist Brad Moore and Stanford University chemist Elizabeth Sattely. The symposium will be followed by an invitation-only dinner, at which Clardy will be presented with the Scott Medal.

Scott was a pioneering chemist who came to Texas A&M in 1977 and achieved worldwide recognition for his discovery of how bacteria produce vitamin B12 as well his study of the cancer drug taxol. Named a distinguished professor of chemistry and biochemistry at Texas A&M in 1981, Scott held the Robert A. Welch Chair in Chemistry and also was the D.H.R. Barton Professor of Chemistry. He contributed to numerous other works, including breakthroughs related to the essential life pigments chlorophyll and heme along with antibiotics that fundamentally impacted the field of biosynthetic investigation and helped revolutionize both organic and natural product chemistry, before his untimely death in 2007 at age 79.

This year's event will feature an expanded format -- specifically, a second day in celebration of Scott as one of the trailblazers of Texas A&M Chemistry during its past 50 years as a department within the Texas A&M College of Science, which also is commemorating its 50th anniversary as a stand-alone college in 2016. The A.I. Scott Medal Symposium for Biological Chemistry is the second in a series of five "excellence events" honoring key professors who defined specific branches of chemistry at Texas A&M and within the chemical sciences during the past half century.

Saturday's (October 22) salute to Scott and five decades of biological chemistry accomplishment will include a poster session and presentations by The Scripps Research Institute's Jeff Kelly, the National Cancer Institute's Joel Schneider, Codexis' Jim Lalonde, Johns Hopkins University's Craig Townsend, the University of Kent's Martin Warren and Pfizer Oncology Research and Development's Stephan Grant.

Clardy, who grew up in Arlington, Va., received his undergraduate training at Yale University and his Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Harvard University. He has been a faculty member at Harvard Medical School since 2002 and prior to that was the Horace White Professor in Cornell University's Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology. He was also a Senior Associate Dean in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Cornell.

Clardy's research focuses on biologically active small molecules, especially those from natural sources. He has published important papers on their discovery, their mechanisms of action and their ecological roles as well as on ways to find more such molecules. His current research projects involve bacterial symbionts of eukaryotes from plants to humans, the ways bacteria deal with each other, and what one can learn from the small molecules involved in these exchanges -- projects with medical applications in a variety of areas.

An elected as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Academy of Microbiology, Clardy has received numerous prizes and named lectureships. A popular instructor at Harvard, he was awarded the Faculty of Arts and Sciences highest teaching award at Cornell. He currently teaches a freshman seminar entitled Psychoactive Molecules: From Babylon to Breaking Bad.

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

To see the complete list of 50 Years of Chemistry Excellence events, visit http://www.chem.tamu.edu/50years/.

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About Research at Texas A&M University: As one of the world's leading research institutions, Texas A&M is at the forefront in making significant contributions to scholarship and discovery, including that of science and technology. Research conducted at Texas A&M represented annual expenditures of more than $866.6 million in fiscal year 2015. Texas A&M ranked in the top 20 of the National Science Foundation's Higher Education Research and Development survey (2014), based on expenditures of more than $854 million in fiscal year 2014. Texas A&M's research creates new knowledge that provides basic, fundamental and applied contributions resulting in many cases in economic benefits to the state, nation and world. To learn more, visit http://research.tamu.edu.

-aTm-

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. A. Ian Scott, equally at home in his office and laboratory elements. (Credit: Cushing Memorial Library and Archives, Texas A&M University.)

  • Dr. Jon Clardy, recipient of the 2016 A.I. Scott Medal for Excellence in Biological Chemistry Research. (Courtesy photograph.)

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