Web Date: July 18, 2007
2006 National Medal Of Science
On July 17, President George W. Bush announced the recipients of the 2006 National Medal of Science. Among them are Marvin H. Caruthers, a professor of chemistry and biochemistry at the University of Colorado, Boulder; Peter B. Dervan, a professor of chemistry at California Institute of Technology; and Robert S. Langer, a professor of chemical and biomedical engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. They join five other scientists being recognized for lifetime achievement in scientific research.
Caruthers is being recognized for his lifetime accomplishments as a chemistry professor, researcher, and biotechnology innovator. His major scientific achievement derives from his research in nucleic acid chemistry, resulting in new methods that are universally used for the chemical synthesis of DNA and RNA.
Dervan is the Bren Professor of Chemistry at Caltech, where he has conducted pioneering studies directed toward understanding the chemical principles for the sequence-specific recognition of DNA. He and his coworkers have combined the art of synthesis, physical chemistry, and biology to create molecules with affinities and DNA-binding specificities comparable to nature's proteins. This chemical approach to DNA recognition underpins the design of programmable cell-permeable small molecules for the regulation of gene expression.
Langer holds the title of Institute Professor at MIT and is renowned for his work on new and different ways to administer drugs to cancer patients and design of new materials for tissue engineering. He holds more than 550 issued and pending patents and has written some 900 research papers.
The Medal of Science awards pay tribute to "individuals for pioneering scientific research in a range of fields, including physical, biological, mathematical, social, behavioral, and engineering sciences," notes the National Science Foundation, which administers the awards.
The other 2006 laureates are Hyman Bass, professor of mathematics at the University of Michigan; Rita R. Colwell, distinguished professor at the University of Maryland, College Park; Nina V. Federoff, professor of biology at Pennsylvania State University; Daniel Kleppner, professor of physics at MIT; and Lubert Stryer, emeritus faculty at Stanford University School of Medicine.
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