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by Linda Wang
February 23, 2015 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 93, Issue 8

Credit: M. Scott Brauer
Headshot of Robert S. Langer
Credit: M. Scott Brauer

Robert S. Langer, David H. Koch Institute Professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has been awarded the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering. The prize, worth more than $1.5 million, recognizes engineers whose innovations have benefited humanity globally.

Langer is being honored for his “revolutionary advances and leadership in engineering at the interface with chemistry and medicine.” His research has helped create the field of tissue engineering and led to strategies for delivering protein and peptide drugs.

Langer was the first person to engineer polymers to control the delivery of high-molecular-weight drugs for the treatment of diseases such as cancer and mental illness. He overturned the established thinking that controlled-release drug delivery would not work for large molecules such as peptides or proteins, which are very sensitive to their surroundings and can be degraded easily.

He received numerous awards, including the 2006 National Medal of Science; the 2011 National Medal of Technology & Innovation; the 2012 Priestley Medal, the American Chemical Society’s highest honor; the 2013 Wolf Prize in Chemistry; and the 2014 Kyoto Prize. He is an ACS Fellow.

The queen will present Langer with the award later this year during a ceremony at Buckingham Palace.

Credit: Courtesy of Magid Abou-Gharbia
Headshot of Magid Abou-Gharbia
Credit: Courtesy of Magid Abou-Gharbia

Magid Abou-Gharbia, Laura H. Carnell Professor of Medicinal Chemistry, an associate dean, and director of the Moulder Center for Drug Discovery Research at Temple University, is the recipient of the Grand Hamdan International Award in drug discovery. The award recognizes research breakthroughs that have the potential to have a major impact on health care delivery; it is one of the Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum Awards for Medical Sciences for 2013–14. The awards were presented in December by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, deputy ruler of Dubai and minister of finance for the United Arab Emirates, at the 8th Dubai International Conference for Medical Sciences.

Abou-Gharbia is being recognized for his pioneering work in medicinal chemistry and the discovery of anticancer drugs such as Torisel and Bosulif, and antidepressants such as Effexor and Pristiq. In 2008, he founded the Moulder Center, which recently received $5 million.

He is also a winner of the 2014 Philadelphia Business Journal Educator/Researcher of the Year Innovation Award. The innovation awards recognize the region’s top leaders in health care and the life sciences.

Harry B. Gray, Arnold O. Beckman Professor of Chemistry and the founding director of the Beckman Institute at California Institute of Technology, is the recipient of the 2014 Theodore William Richards Medal Award, presented by the ACS Northeastern Section. Named in honor of the first U.S. Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, the award is given every two years for conspicuous achievement in chemistry and is the section’s oldest and most prestigious award.

Gray’s research interests include molecular orbital theory of inorganic molecules and complexes, bioinorganic chemistry, and more recently the development of renewable energy technologies. He will be honored during a local section meeting on March 5 at Harvard University.

Credit: Linda Wang
Headshot of Reesheda Gilbert
Credit: Linda Wang

Reesheda Gilbert, a senior biochemistry major at Kennesaw State University, in Georgia, is the winner of the ACS Women Chemists Committee’s Overcoming Challenges Award. She was honored at the fall 2014 ACS national meeting.

The award recognizes a female chemistry undergraduate for overcoming hardship. Gilbert received a $250 prize and coverage of travel expenses to attend the national meeting in San Francisco, where she presented a talk.

Graduate students and postdocs in chemical information and related sciences are eligible to apply for scholarships from the ACS Division of Chemical Information (CINF). The scholarships, funded by the Royal Society of Chemistry, recognize scientific excellence and encourage student involvement.

Up to three $1,000 scholarships will be awarded at the fall ACS national meeting in Boston. Applicants must be at an ACS-certified college or university. Awardees will present a poster at the CINF welcoming reception during the national meeting.

To apply, submit an abstract online at by March 13 and notify Guenter Grethe, chair of the selection committee, at Send a 2,000-word abstract to Grethe by June 20 describing the work to be presented.



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