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Magid Abou-gharbia Receives N.J. Inventors Hall of Fame Award, Carb Honors Three for Research

July 5, 2004 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 82, Issue 27

Magid Abou-Gharbia Receives N.J. Inventors Hall Of Fame Award


Magid Abou-Gharbia, vice president and department head of chemical and screening sciences at Wyeth Research, received the 2004 New Jersey Inventors Hall of Fame Award from the New Jersey Institute of Technology and the Research & Development Council of New Jersey on June 23. The award recognizes inventors who have made extraordinary contributions to the advancement of knowledge and human welfare, with the majority of the work performed in New Jersey.

In addition to his contributions to central nervous system, cardiovascular, and asthma research, Abou-Gharbia is being honored for his work on immunosuppressant drugs and for his contributions to rapamycin research. His chemistry team has designed and synthesized more than 700 rapamycin derivatives, leading to a multitude of U.S. and worldwide patents. He was honored as a "Prolific Inventor" of the decade in 1998 in a U.S. Patent & Trademark Technology Assessment & Forecast Report.

Abou-Gharbia received B.S. and M.S. degrees in pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences from Cairo University in 1971 and 1974, respectively. In 1979, he received a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Pennsylvania under Madeleine Joullié and then undertook a three-year National Institutes of Health postdoctoral fellowship at Fels Research Institute and Temple University's School of Pharmacy and department of chemistry. He joined Wyeth in 1982.

Abou-Gharbia has coauthored more than 75 scientific articles and holds 95 U.S. patents and more than 300 patents worldwide. He is a member of the American Chemical Society, the Society for Neuroscience, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Royal Society of Chemistry, and he has served on the editorial or scientific advisory boards of several journals. He also holds academic appointments as an adjunct professor of medicinal chemistry at Temple University and Cairo University.

Other awards he has won include the 2003 Procter Medal, the ACS Earle B. Barnes Award for Outstanding Leadership in Chemical Research Management (2001), the Philadelphia Organic Chemists Club Award for Scientific Research in Organic Chemistry (2001), and the ACS Philadelphia Section Award in Chemistry (1997).


CARB Honors Three For Research

The ACS Division of Carbohydrate Chemistry has selected winners for its three 2004 awards. The honorees will be recognized during a dinner ceremony at the fall national meeting in Philadelphia with a scroll and an honorarium; they will also present a lecture at a symposium in the division's program.

Pharmaceutical entrepreneur P. Dan Cook will receive the Melville L. Wolfrom Award in Carbohydrate Chemistry. The prize acknowledges "outstanding service to the division and to the field of carbohydrate chemistry."

Cook is well known for his work on heterocycles, nucleosides, nucleotides, and nucleic acid-based drugs. He cofounded Isis Pharmaceuticals in 1989 and served as director of chemistry research there until founding NuMAX Pharmaceuticals in 2000. In 2001, NuMAX was sold to Biota Holdings, prompting Cook to form a new biotech company, Carlsbad Pharmaceuticals.

At Isis, Cook built and led the largest medicinal chemistry group pursuing antisense oligonucleotide and nucleoside research in the world. His team studied antisense oligonucleotides, decoy oligonucleotides, aptamers, nucleosides/nucleotides, heterocycles, and combinatorial chemistries directed to a variety of therapeutic applications.

Significant discoveries in Cook's career include initial syntheses of many novel oligonucleotide drug candidates and the design, synthesis, and preclinical product development of a number of antiviral and anticancer agents. He has authored more than 160 publications and is a named inventor of more than 180 issued U.S. patents.

Cook received his Ph.D. in organic chemistry in 1972 from the University of New Mexico. He then spent three years as a postdoc and staff member at ICN Pharmaceutical's Nucleic Acid Research Institute, Costa Mesa, Calif. He served for two years at Parke-Davis Pharmaceutical, where he initiated the antimetabolite drug discovery research team, and then eight years at Warner-Lambert Pharmaceuticals. Later, Cook founded and led the first antisense oligonucleotide drug discovery program in the industry at Eastman Kodak (1986–89).

Geert-Jan Boons will receive the Horace S. Isbell Award in Carbohydrate Chemistry for "excellence in and the promise of continued quality of contribution to research in carbohydrate chemistry" by scientists not over 41 years of age.

Boons, a professor of chemistry at the Complex Carbohydrate Research Center at the University of Georgia, Athens, conducts research in synthetic and biological chemistry, emphasizing the development of efficient methods for glycoconjugate synthesis, the preparation of glycoconjugates of biological importance, the study of cellular activation by bacterial cell wall components, and the development of fully synthetic vaccines. Boons has won the Carbohydrate Research Award for Creativity in Carbohydrate Science and the Northeast Georgia Section's Chemist of the Year Award for Research.

Boons received his bachelor's degree and a Ph.D. from the University of Leiden, in the Netherlands. In 1994, he joined the faculty of the School of Chemistry of the University of Birmingham, in England. After being promoted to professor of bioorganic chemistry in 1998, he moved to the University of Georgia.

assistant professor of chemistry at the University of Maryland's Institute of Human Virology, will receive the second New Investigator Award in Carbohydrate Chemistry. The award recognizes outstanding contributions to research in carbohydrate chemistry by scientists at their first independent faculty position. Wang is being recognized for his work on bioorganic synthesis of glycoproteins and the design of carbohydrate-based HIV vaccines.

Wang received a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Shanghai Institute of Organic Chemistry at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. During his graduate study, he also spent three years at Japan's Institute of Physical & Chemical Research studying oligosaccharide synthesis. After completing postdocs at Johns Hopkins University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Wang joined the Institute of Human Virology in 2000 to help establish a bioorganic chemistry program there.



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