Mostafa El-Sayed Wins Priestley Medal | Chemical & Engineering News
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Web Date: June 15, 2015

Mostafa El-Sayed Wins Priestley Medal

ACS Awards: Georgia Tech nanomaterials pioneer honored for research and ACS community service
Department: Science & Technology
News Channels: Materials SCENE, Nano SCENE
Keywords: El-Sayed, Priestley, ACS awards, nanomaterials, nanomedicine
Credit: Georgia Tech
Photo of El-Sayed.
Credit: Georgia Tech

Some people just don’t know when to slow down. Eighty-two-year-old Mostafa A. El-Sayed is one of them.

For nearly 60 years, El-Sayed, who is a Regents’ Professor and the Julius Brown Chair at Georgia Institute of Technology , has conducted highly acclaimed chemistry research and served as a chemistry educator and journal editor. He is as active in science now as ever. In recognition of his decades-long contributions to chemistry, El-Sayed will receive the Priestley Medal, the American Chemical Society’s highest honor, in 2016.

“This is wonderful news, just fantastic,” an ecstatic El-Sayed told C&EN from Egypt, where he manages research groups at Cairo University and the National Research Centre of Egypt, also in Cairo.

“I am lucky to have been in the right place and with the right society,” he added, referring to his many years of service to ACS, especially as editor-in-chief of the Journal of Physical Chemistry, a position he held for 24 years.

During his extensive scientific career, El-Sayed, who is currently the director of Georgia Tech’s Laser Dynamics Laboratory, has carried out numerous lines of research. Early on he developed molecular spectroscopy techniques to elucidate the molecular mechanisms and dynamics of molecules, gas-phase clusters, solids, and photobiological systems.

More recently, El-Sayed’s research group has focused on developing nanoscale materials and using those materials in catalysis, medicine, and sensing. The work has had quite an impact on the field, garnering numerous citations.

Custom-made gold nanoparticles prepared by El-Sayed’s group penetrate human cancer cell nuclei, serving as microscopic beacons for apoptosis.
Credit: ACS Nano
A roughly spherical arrangement of gold-colored dots. Much higher concentrations of dots are seen in three places.
Custom-made gold nanoparticles prepared by El-Sayed’s group penetrate human cancer cell nuclei, serving as microscopic beacons for apoptosis.
Credit: ACS Nano

For example, one of the group’s review papers outlining the connections between the shapes of nanocrystals and their chemical and physical properties has been cited some 5,000 times since it was published in 2005. Another paper, this one detailing the synthesis of gold nanorods with narrow size and shape distributions, has remained Chemistry of Materials’ most cited and downloaded paper for several years in a row. El-Sayed’s group led the way in explaining the exceptionally intense fluorescence signal generated by these nanorods and how to use them for cancer diagnostics and phototherapy.

In related work, the team showed that custom-made nanoparticles could be used with Raman spectroscopy to observe real-time molecular changes in single cells and to follow the dynamics of drug delivery in cancer cells and their ensuing apoptosis.

El-Sayed’s colleagues are quick to share their enthusiasm for the nanomaterials pioneer. Chemistry Nobel Laureate Ahmed H. Zewail of California Institute of Technology asserts that El-Sayed has made “significant and seminal contributions to several areas of physical and biophysical chemistry.” Pointing to El-Sayed’s recent cancer studies, Zewail adds that El-Sayed “masterfully shows his innovative and creative approach and the ability to tackle interesting and broad-ranging problems.”

ACS Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director Thomas M. Connelly Jr. concurs. “Mostafa El-Sayed is an outstanding choice” to receive ACS’s most prestigious award, Connelly says. He adds that El-Sayed’s contributions to nanoscience are “truly groundbreaking,” and it is fitting that El-Sayed be recognized for inspiring students throughout his career and for his many years of journal editing. Connelly adds that he’s looking forward to hearing El-Sayed share reflections on his career during the Priestley award address at the March 2016 ACS national meeting in San Diego.

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Nasrin (June 15, 2015 3:32 PM)
Best News!He deserved it.
Mostafa Elamir (June 16, 2015 3:06 PM)
He deserves it (y)
Ibrahim Sadek (June 17, 2015 8:10 AM)
This is an honor to all Egyptian People Congratulation Prof. Mostafa El-Sayed.
Ricardo A. Silva, Ph.D. (June 17, 2015 4:12 PM)
I cannot think of a more deserving scientist to receive this award than Mustafa El-Sayed He is both an outstanding scientist and a concerned human being.
Andre Bolaffi (June 18, 2015 6:37 PM)
A Big MABROOK!!! (as we say) and all the best.

Andre Bolaffi, Ph.D.
San Francisco, CA 94113
Wesam Qayed (June 18, 2015 9:28 PM)
This is an honor to all Egyptian People Congratulation Prof. Mostafa El-Sayed
amor hafiane (June 19, 2015 12:45 AM)
Pr amor hafiane, Tunisia
Zeid A. ALOthman (Ph.D) Associate Professor of Chemistry Supervisor of Advanced Materials Research Chair Chemistry Department, College of Science King Saud University Riyadh 11451, Saudi Arabia (June 26, 2015 7:57 AM)
Congratulations Prof. Mustafa, you deserve it.

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