If you have an ACS member number, please enter it here so we can link this account to your membership. (optional)

ACS values your privacy. By submitting your information, you are gaining access to C&EN and subscribing to our weekly newsletter. We use the information you provide to make your reading experience better, and we will never sell your data to third party members.



2024 ACS National Award winners: Part IV

by Nina Notman, special to C&EN
January 5, 2024 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 102, Issue 1


Guangbin Dong.
Credit: Courtesy of Guangbin Dong
Guangbin Dong

Elias J. Corey Award for Outstanding Original Contribution in Organic Synthesis by a Young Investigator: Guangbin Dong

Sponsor: Endowed fund established by Pfizer

Citation: For the revolutionary development of catalytic carbon-carbon bond activation, palladium/norbornene cooperative catalysis, and carbonyl functionalization methods, enabling streamlined and efficient organic synthesis

Current position: Weldon G. Brown Professor of Chemistry, University of Chicago

Education: BS, chemistry, Peking University; PhD, organic chemistry, Stanford University

Dong’s message to his younger self: “Give your first-year graduate students some easier projects so that they can quickly build up confidence earlier on in their research career.”

What Dong’s colleagues say: “Guangbin’s rise in stature in the chemical community can only be described as meteoric. In the 11 years since he embarked on his independent career, he has been highly prolific and innovative. The importance of Guangbin’s contributions is underscored by the fact that they are rapidly being adopted by others in the field.”—Stephen Martin, University of Texas at Austin

Suzanne C. Bart.
Credit: Courtesy of Suzanne C. Bart
Suzanne C. Bart

F. Albert Cotton Award in Synthetic Inorganic Chemistry: Suzanne C. Bart

Sponsor: Endowed fund established by F. Albert Cotton

Citation: For the development of synthetic methodologies for actinide organometallics, especially those enabling multielectron chemistry in the synthesis of elusive actinide-element multiple bonds

Current position: Professor of inorganic chemistry, Purdue University

Education: BS, chemistry, University of Delaware; MS and PhD, chemistry, Cornell University

Bart’s message to her younger self: “Be more confident in your abilities. Focus on why you became a scientist in the first place. Take advantage of the amazing scientists around you. Learn as much as you can at every turn from anyone that is willing to teach you. Also, get a dog—they are an amazing support system.”

What Bart’s colleagues say: “Suzanne is an emerging star and one of the leaders in organoactinide chemistry. Among many unique contributions by Suzanne, the synthesis of uranium tris(imido) and tetrakis(imido) [compounds] has redefined the landscape of uranium-ligand multiple-bond chemistry, a feat that would make Al Cotton proud.”—Tong Ren, Purdue University

Joseph A. Loo.
Credit: Courtesy of Joseph A. Loo
Joseph A. Loo

Frank H. Field and Joe L. Franklin Award for Outstanding Achievement in Mass Spectrometry: Joseph A. Loo

Sponsor: Waters

Citation: For contributions to the characterization of protein complexes using top-down and native mass spectrometry

Current position: Professor of chemistry and biochemistry, University of California, Los Angeles

Education: BS, chemistry, Clarkson University; MS and PhD, analytical chemistry, Cornell University

Loo on his scientific hero: “Fred McLafferty at Cornell University was my PhD mentor and hero. He was tenacious in pursuit of novel discoveries, the epitome of excellence, and [he] was the most collaborative scientist that I have ever known. These are all traits that I aspire to have. He made seminal discoveries in both industry and academia, and also early (McLafferty rearrangement) and late (top-down mass spectrometry) in his career. His career path and longevity have been inspiring to me.”

What Loo’s colleagues say: “Joe is a global key opinion leader in mass spectrometry. He not only has a drive to evolve fundamental mass spectrometric research but also has a keen understanding of how the research needs to be applied to real-life therapeutic and scientific problems.”—Iain D. G. Campuzano, Amgen

Donna M. Huryn.
Credit: Courtesy of Donna M. Huryn
Donna M. Huryn

Francis P. Garvan–John M. Olin Medal: Donna M. Huryn

Sponsor: Endowed fund established by Francis P. Garvan and the Olin Corporation Charitable Trust

Citation: For a unique combination of leadership in medicinal chemistry, service to the chemistry community, and unwavering commitment to improve the lives of women in chemistry

Current position: Professor of practice, University of Pennsylvania, and adjunct professor of pharmaceutical sciences, University of Pittsburgh

Education: BS, chemistry, Cornell University; PhD, organic chemistry, University of Pennsylvania

Huryn on her most memorable project: “Early in my career, I worked on developing drugs for HIV/AIDS. At that time, we were just starting to understand the disease and the virus, and how best to find effective treatments. The urgency, the excitement at the pace of research, and the collaboration between industry, government, and academia was inspiring and resulted in life-saving medicines developed in record time. That experience always reminds me of the power of chemistry.”

What Huryn’s colleagues say: “Donna has shown all of us that being an accomplished scientist, dedicated educator, successful drug hunter, and generous human being and colleague is possible.”—Nicole C Goodwin, GSK

Christopher M. Reddy.
Credit: Courtesy of Christopher M. Reddy
Christopher M. Reddy

James T. Grady–James H. Stack Award for Interpreting Chemistry for the Public: Christopher M. Reddy

Sponsor: ACS

Citation: For communicating the value of environmental chemistry to diverse audiences and for building connections between the scientific community and societal stakeholders

Current position: Senior scientist, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Education: BS, chemistry, Rhode Island College; PhD, chemical oceanography, University of Rhode Island

Reddy on his most memorable project: “It was a project to determine if some unknown brominated organic compounds commonly found in marine mammals were naturally produced or synthetic. We cut, diced, blended, and extracted 10 kg of whale blubber to isolate 1 mg of a suspect compound. The work was tedious and a bit gruesome. Several blenders perished along the way. Radiocarbon dating revealed it was natural and provided definitive proof that natural compounds can bioaccumulate in animals.”

What Reddy’s colleagues say: “Over his 25-year career and as an American Chemical Society Expert since 2016, Chris has committed himself to incorporating the voice of scientific reasoning in societal issues, increasing the public’s understanding of chemistry, and encouraging and training other scientists to become comfortable, competent science communicators.”—David L. Valentine, University of California, Santa Barbara

V. Sara Thoi.
Credit: Courtesy of V. Sara Thoi
V. Sara Thoi

Harry Gray Award for Creative Work in Inorganic Chemistry by a Young Investigator: V. Sara Thoi

Sponsor: Endowed fund established by Harry Gray and others

Citation: For creative experimental implementation of inorganic chemistry to address challenges in energy science, including energy storage and sustainable catalytic formation of energy-relevant compounds

Current position: Associate professor of chemistry, Johns Hopkins University

Education: BS, chemistry, University of California San Diego; PhD, chemistry, University of California, Berkeley

Thoi on what inspired her to become a scientist: “I have always been very passionate about sustainability and energy conservation. I was the kid who shoddily constructed solar concentrators from cardboard and aluminum foil and made almost-usable biodiesel from french fry oil. In my high school chemistry class, I was fascinated by our ability to manipulate atoms and bonds. Ever since, chemistry has been my conduit for channeling my passion for sustainability.”

What Thoi’s colleagues say: “The metal-organic framework (MOF) field is ultracompetitive, but Sara’s imaginative approach to use MOFs as a platform for electrochemical studies in energy storage and nitrogen and carbon dioxide reduction are the first of its kind and highly insightful.”—Hong-Cai “Joe” Zhou, Texas A&M University

John L. Wood.
Credit: Courtesy of John L. Wood
John L. Wood

Ernest Guenther Award in the Chemistry of Natural Products: John L. Wood

Sponsor: Givaudan Flavors

Citation: For innovation and countless achievements in the field of natural product total synthesis

Current position: Robert A. Welch Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Baylor University

Education: BA, chemistry, University of Colorado Boulder; PhD, organic chemistry, University of Pennsylvania

Wood on the most rewarding part of his job: “Without question, it is witnessing the transformation that takes place in students as they begin contributing intellectually to their projects and have those ideas come to fruition. The self-confidence and independence that develops is totally awesome to watch and leaves me feeling privileged to have been a part of it.”

What Wood’s colleagues say: “John has consistently taken innovative approaches to the synthesis of complex natural products. These approaches have taken the chemistry in unusual directions and resulted in the development of new, unforeseen general reaction chemistry.”—Brian M. Stoltz, California Institute of Technology

Cato T. Laurencin.
Credit: Courtesy of Cato T. Laurencin
Cato T. Laurencin

Kathryn C. Hach Award for Entrepreneurial Success: Cato T. Laurencin

Sponsor: Endowed fund established by Kathryn C. Hach

Citation: For pioneering and outstanding work in entrepreneurship involving polymer-based materials for musculoskeletal regeneration and repair

Current position: CEO, Cato T. Laurencin Institute for Regenerative Engineering, University of Connecticut

Education: BSE, chemical engineering, Princeton University; MD, Harvard Medical School; PhD, biochemical engineering and biotechnology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Laurencin on the most rewarding part of his job: “All of my job is rewarding: seeing patients; performing surgery; leading the Cato T. Laurencin Institute; conducting groundbreaking basic, applied, and translational research; mentoring the next generation of students; inventing new things that directly help people; and bringing the technology to people (for which I am receiving this award).”

What Laurencin’s colleagues say: “Cato is the complete entrepreneur. He has developed technologies with revolutionary fundamental chemistry principles that are on the market, guided companies from early-stage to late-stage development, and developed ecosystems for advancing entrepreneurship, all while mentoring the next generation of scientists to do the same.”—Kazem Kazerounian, University of Connecticut

Holger Braunschweig.
Credit: Courtesy of Holger Braunschweig
Holger Braunschweig

M. Frederick Hawthorne Award in Main Group Inorganic Chemistry: Holger Braunschweig

Sponsor: Endowed fund established by M. Frederick Hawthorne; Diana Hawthorne; the University of California, Los Angeles; and others

Citation: For groundbreaking discoveries in the chemistry of hypocoordinate and hypovalent boron compounds

Current position: Head of inorganic chemistry, Julius Maximilian University of Würzburg

Education: Diplom and Dr. rer. nat., chemistry, RWTH Aachen University

Braunschweig on the most rewarding part of his job: “The freedom to pursue challenges of your own choice is the most rewarding part of an academic scientist’s job.”

What Braunschweig’s colleagues say: “Holger’s track record is characterized by consistent top-level research and a constant output of novel molecules and enabling synthetic techniques, punctuated by frequent major discoveries that change the direction of the field in general.”—Guy Bertrand, University of California San Diego

Paramjit S. Arora.
Credit: Courtesy of Paramjit S. Arora
Paramjit S. Arora

Ralph F. Hirschmann Award in Peptide Chemistry: Paramjit S. Arora

Sponsor: Merck Research Laboratories

Citation: For outstanding accomplishments in peptide design and for a remarkable blend of creativity and rigor, as exemplified by the development of imaginative helix-stabilization and helix-mimicry strategies

Current position: Professor of chemistry, New York University

Education: BS, chemistry, University of California, Berkeley; PhD, chemistry, University of California, Irvine

Arora on the most rewarding part of his job: “The best part of my day is overhearing a scientific conversation among my students. It is enthralling to hear a senior student explain to a younger student why X is the correct approach to pursue and why Y is not. These conversations mean that there is a functional ecosystem that allows scientific know-how to flow to the next generation of students.”

What Arora’s colleagues say: “Bobby’s work has exerted a broad impact among peptide scientists. His nonclassical approach has generated important contributions to our understanding of peptides and proteins and our ability to manipulate protein activities with imaginatively designed compounds.”—Samuel H. Gellman, University of Wisconsin–Madison.


This article has been sent to the following recipient:

Chemistry matters. Join us to get the news you need.