A. Ian Scott, the Texas A&M University chemist who discovered how bacteria produce vitamin B12 and replicated the process in a test tube, received a national chemistry prize Tuesday for his work in revealing how organisms from yeast to yews manufacture natural medicines.

The American Chemical Society presented Scott the Nakanishi Prize, which comes with a $3,000 cash award, during the society's annual meeting in New Orleans.

Koji Nakanishi, Centennial Professor of Chemistry.

A. Ian Scott, Distinguished Professor of Chemistry.

Scott, a distinguished professor of chemistry and biochemistry who holds the Robert A. Welch Chair in Chemistry and is the D.H.R. Barton Professor of Chemistry, was recognized for his pioneering contributions to the quest to harness Nature's medicine shop. Plants, bacteria and other organisms produce substances that are used as medicines for people. Replicating their manufacture in the laboratory is important because some of the organisms are rare or produce their salutary substances in tiny quantities.

Scott revealed and replicated an intricate chemical pathway by which bacteria produce vitamin B12, a vitamin essential to good health. He also has made significant progress in revealing the pathway for the cancer drug taxol, originally derived from the bark of Pacific yews.

The Nakanishi Prize, awarded in alternating years by the American Chemical Society and the Chemical Society of Japan, recognizes "significant work that extends chemical and spectroscopic methods to the study of important biological phenomena."

Scott directs the Texas A&M Center for Biological Nuclear Magnetic Resonance. His many awards include the Davy Medal of the Royal Society of London and the Queen's Royal medal of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. He was the 2002 Distinguished Texas Scientist of the Year.


Contact: Mark Minton, Communications Specialist, Texas A&M University College of Science; (979) 862-1237 or mminton@science.tamu.edu

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