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Harran Is Winner of 2007 Hackerman Award

March 19, 2007 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 85, Issue 12

Patrick G. Harran, Mar Nell & F. Andrew Bell Distinguished Chair in Biochemistry at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, is the winner of the Norman Hackerman Award in Chemical Research for his pioneering work in synthetic organic chemistry and biochemistry.

The Welch Foundation gives the $100,000 award annually to honor promising scientists in Texas colleges and universities who are age 40 or younger.

"Dr. Harran is judged by his peers in synthetic chemistry as one of the most talented and accomplished young chemists in the nation," says Welch Foundation Board Chairman J. Evans Attwell.

Harran is known for his work on diazonamide A, a rare marine natural product. In the process of synthesizing diazonamide A, Harran discovered that the initial structure reported for the molecule in 1991 was flawed. He used X-ray crystallography and nuclear magnetic resonance data to assign the correct structure to the natural product. Harran's group has since prepared derivatives that have potent anticancer properties.

Harran and his colleagues are currently developing small molecules that mimic the action of key death-promoting proteins in cells. The research could lead to more effective cancer therapies and a greater understanding of cell-death pathways.


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