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Biological Chemistry

Phil Baran wins Blavatnik Award

by Linda Wang
August 8, 2016 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 94, Issue 32

Phil Baran
Credit: John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
Photo of Phil Baran.
Credit: John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Phil Baran, professor and Darlene Shiley Chair in Chemistry at Scripps Research Institute, California, has been named the 2016 Blavatnik Laureate in Chemistry. He is among three winners of the 2016 Blavatnik National Awards from the Blavatnik Family Foundation and the New York Academy of Sciences.

The awards honor exceptional young scientists and engineers, and each winner receives an unrestricted cash prize of $250,000.

Baran is being honored for his transformative research in the field of natural product synthesis and his development of a new synthetic methodology that enables chemists to design scalable, efficient, and economically viable synthetic routes to potential new drugs. One of the recent successes in the Baran laboratory is the synthesis of the plant-derived ingenol, derivatives of which have been approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration to treat skin cancer.

The other two Blavatnik awardees are Harvard University astronomer David Charbonneau and University of California, Berkeley, molecular biologist Michael Rape. The award ceremony will take place in New York City on Sept. 12.

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