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DBL%20Hendrix%20small.png College chemistry, 1983

Derek Lowe The 2002 Model

Dbl%20new%20portrait%20B%26W.png After 10 years of blogging. . .

Derek Lowe, an Arkansan by birth, got his BA from Hendrix College and his PhD in organic chemistry from Duke before spending time in Germany on a Humboldt Fellowship on his post-doc. He's worked for several major pharmaceutical companies since 1989 on drug discovery projects against schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, diabetes, osteoporosis and other diseases. To contact Derek email him directly: Twitter: Dereklowe

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« Sugammadex's Problems: Is the Merck/Schering-Plough Deal the Worst? | Main | Nobel Speculation Time »

September 25, 2013

MacArthur Awards in Chemistry

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Posted by Derek

Congratulations to Phil Baran of Scripps for getting a MacArthur Foundation grant. There aren't many of those that have landed in the field of chemistry - a commenter here points out Carolyn Bertozzi at Berkeley, Laura Kiessling at Wisconsin, and Melanie Sanford at Michigan as the past winners. A worthy bunch!

Comments (31) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: General Scientific News


1. Anonymous on September 25, 2013 10:23 AM writes...

The article mixes a superchemist with a 'prominent medicinal chemist' (Derek)... what's going on?

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2. Derek Lowe on September 25, 2013 10:37 AM writes...

Hah! I hadn't even read far enough down to see that I was quoted in that piece. I'll definitely settle for "prominent medicinal chemist", for sure.

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3. Anonymous on September 25, 2013 10:59 AM writes...

@1, maybe Derek nominated Baran for the award?

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4. Anonymous on September 25, 2013 11:33 AM writes...

Although the sample size is small, it's interesting to see that an award of the magnitude of the MacArthur has gone to more women than men.

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5. Anonymous on September 25, 2013 11:36 AM writes...

Edit to my above comment: in chemistry.

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6. a on September 25, 2013 11:42 AM writes...

Another winner Paul Rothemund/Caltech for DNA origami is supramolecular chemistry par excellence IMHO......

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7. JPB on September 25, 2013 11:50 AM writes...

Also Brooks Pate (UVa) in 2001.

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8. Anonymous on September 25, 2013 12:11 PM writes...

This was also running on the San Diego UT website today:
I imagine there's no shortage of chemist ego at Scripps today....

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9. EJC on September 25, 2013 12:32 PM writes...

Phil Baran is the Elon Musk of organic chemistry

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10. The Aqueous Layer on September 25, 2013 2:22 PM writes...

I imagine there's no shortage of chemist ego at Scripps today....

If any of us were 36 and had his CV, we'd probably have a pretty nice ego as well.

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11. Cersei on September 25, 2013 3:23 PM writes...

Anyone who could take out Vinigrol and Palau'amine in the same academic year without the help of "Bionic Bros" is without a genius in my book.

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12. Anonymous on September 25, 2013 3:26 PM writes...

#8, We now know who will NOT receive Nobel this year. They are: Sharpless, Fokin, and Finn. The joker at Thomson Reuters is very good at pick that.

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13. Tywin on September 25, 2013 4:07 PM writes...

No gram-scale, no care.

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14. Tywin on September 25, 2013 4:08 PM writes...

No gram-scale, no care.

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15. Tywin on September 25, 2013 4:08 PM writes...

No gram-scale, no care.

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16. Jon Snow on September 25, 2013 4:20 PM writes...

@Tywin: You know nothing...

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17. Curious Wavefunction on September 25, 2013 4:44 PM writes...

"I imagine there's no shortage of chemist ego at Scripps today...."

*Citation needed*

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18. Ars Chemia on September 25, 2013 6:51 PM writes...

According to the MacArthur Grant web page there have been a total of 15 recipients of the grant who are chemists.

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19. Anonymous on September 25, 2013 7:13 PM writes...

Scripp's researcher gets MacArthur 'genius' grant

Scripp's? Really? Sigh...

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20. leftscienceawhileago on September 25, 2013 8:10 PM writes...

The article about Sharpless sounds just a little "Scripp's" biased...did they even mention Tornøe and Meldal?

Not sure CuAAC has had a real impact on humanity or even our basic understanding of chemistry...tons of fun papers, but nothing (to me) that stands out as fundamental (like asymmetric catalysis).

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21. jacktooth on September 25, 2013 9:06 PM writes...

who cares really,

Another organic chemist pumping out students in a dying profession.

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22. DIFO on September 25, 2013 10:37 PM writes...

@20, anyone who thinks that click chemistry is simply just CuAAC needs to read that Sharpless Angewandte paper again.

Countless cell imaging work owes it to click chemistry, and the whole field of bioconjugation and bioorthogonal chemistry wouldn't have been where it is today without the click concept.

I promise I'm not Scripps-affiliated.

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23. PharmaHeretic on September 25, 2013 11:28 PM writes...

Here is an interesting twist on publishing - phantom authors publishing real research papers.

"The paper's reported findings — that overexpression of two novel proteins in fat cells leads to improvements in metabolic processes related to diabetes and obesity in mice — are, in fact, true. Too true, in the opinion of Bruce Spiegelman, a cell biologist at Harvard Medical School's Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. He says that he has presented similar findings at about six research meetings, and is preparing to submit them to a journal. He suspects that the BBRC paper was intended as a spoiler of his own lab's work."

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24. leftscienceawhileago on September 25, 2013 11:45 PM writes...

I've seen cool imaging work with CuAAC, but not really a standard biological tool (IMHO)...can you name a reasonably fundamental biological insight that was derived from CuAAC labeling?

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25. leftscienceawhileago on September 25, 2013 11:47 PM writes...

Also I read the Angew. paper, something that bothers me is that (today) click is absolutely synonymous with CuAAC; I liked the original idea a lot.

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26. Justin Credible on September 26, 2013 1:19 AM writes...

Its too bad people always forget to acknowledge Rolf Huisgen, one of the greatest chemist of all time.

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27. anon on September 26, 2013 2:46 AM writes...

no one seems to distinguish between Click Chemistry and CuAAC, only because CuAAC is the only reaction that fulfills all the criteria. Its a Huisgen reaction (or Huisgen Cycloaddition), click chemistry is just a concept.

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28. DrSnowboard on September 26, 2013 8:08 AM writes...

Meh, Thomson Reuters predicts winners based on citation scores, no surprise there, and has correctly predicted 27 nobel laureates. Out of how many attempts?

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29. newnickname on September 26, 2013 8:35 AM writes...

@23 PharmaHeretic: "phantom authors publishing real research papers." Wow. A real life variation of "The Bourbaki Gambit" (Djerassi's science-in-fiction novel about legitimate researchers publish legitimate research under a pseudonym), q.v..

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30. plecostomus on September 26, 2013 9:32 AM writes...

Have to agree with @27. The thiol-ene reaction falls under the 'click' chemistry definition, but is used far less often.

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31. Rob on September 26, 2013 1:23 PM writes...

If Sharpless, Fokin, and Finn are going to win for "click chemistry", then they need to include Carolyn Bertozzi for her numerous contribution in this field.

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