K. C. Nicolaou And Stuart L. Schreiber Share 2016 Wolf Prize | January 20, 2016 Issue - Vol. 94 Issue 4 | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 94 Issue 4 | p. 9 | News of The Week
Issue Date: January 25, 2016 | Web Date: January 20, 2016

K. C. Nicolaou And Stuart L. Schreiber Share 2016 Wolf Prize

Awards: Chemists garner honor for work in total synthesis of complex molecules, advances in chemical biology
Department: Science & Technology
News Channels: Organic SCENE
Keywords: Wolf Prize, Nicolaou, Schreiber
Credit: Rice University
A picture of chemist K.C. Nicolaou.
Credit: Rice University
Credit: Courtesy of Stuart L. Schreiber
A picture of chemist Stuart L. Schreiber.
Credit: Courtesy of Stuart L. Schreiber

A master of making complex molecules and a chemical biology pioneer will share the 2016 Wolf Prize in Chemistry. K. C. Nicolaou and Stuart L. Schreiber will split the $100,000 prize, given by the Israel-based Wolf Foundation. The Wolf prizes honor achievements in agriculture, chemistry, mathematics, medicine, physics, and the arts; this year’s winners were announced on Jan. 13.

Nicolaou, a chemistry professor at Rice University, is being honored “for advancing the field of chemical synthesis to the extremes of molecular complexity, linking structure and function, and expanding our dominion over the interface of chemistry, biology, and medicine.” Nicolaou’s group has tackled the total synthesis of myriad complex natural products, including the anticancer drug paclitaxel, the immunosuppressant rapamycin, and the antibiotic vancomycin.

“I am deeply moved and grateful to the Wolf Foundation for this special honor and wish to share the joy that it brings with my many students and colleagues around the world and thank them for their support and dedication to the field of organic synthesis,” Nicolaou says. He tells C&EN that he received the call from the Wolf Foundation just moments after his assistant had stepped out of the office to buy Powerball lottery tickets for his lab. He received the news, he says, “with more joy than any winning lottery ticket could ever bring.”

Schreiber, a chemistry professor at Harvard University and the Broad Institute, was recognized “for pioneering chemical insights into the logic of signal transduction and gene regulation that led to important new therapeutics, and for advancing chemical biology and medicine through the discovery of small-molecule probes.” Discoveries in the Schreiber lab revealed key proteins and cellular mechanisms and paved the way to several therapeutics, including the cancer drugs temsirolimus and vorinostat.

“My mentors and colleagues have provided guidance throughout my career to help me navigate life as a scientist. And the trainees who joined my lab have been fearless, dedicated, and determined to make a difference. They make it a joy to come to lab every day,” Schreiber says. “I am extremely grateful for this group, and deeply honored to share this recognition with my friend, K.C. Nicolaou.”

Nicolaou and Schreiber will be honored at a ceremony at the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, in June.

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Dr. Bonepally Karunakar Reddy (January 20, 2016 9:51 PM)
K.C Nicolaou showed the path, how to achieve the complex natural products with strategic synthetic plans, and Stuart L. Schreiber showed the path how to synthesize complex non-natural molecules through simple chemical synthesis for chemical biology and drug discovery. Both well deserved for the WOLF prize-2016...Many congratulations both of you inspirers for many young chemists.
KC Nobel-now? (January 23, 2016 9:46 PM)
The Wolf is a "pre-Nobel", right???
Moursi Hosni Ali Abu Bieh (January 24, 2016 11:04 AM)
Many congratualtion to Prof. stuart schleiber,.and prof.Dr. K.C Nicolaou ,. that both has a great influence in the field of organic synthesis,.and natural products synthesis,. many and good congratulation to the field of organic synthesis.
Dr. Lawrence MacPherson (January 26, 2016 5:42 PM)
I am quite shocked that Stu Schreiber is even considered for such a prestigious prize after his long time personal assistant, Tysen Julian, was arrested by the FBI for felony fraud in 2013. From 2009-2013, she stole $135K of NIH money all while working closely with Stu. It diminishes the achievements of K.C. Nicolaou, a man of real integrity, that he has to share the prize with someone who often has been questioned about his ethics.

I know both men well. I was in the Harvard chemistry dept with Stu in the late 1970s, and served as the Director of Medicinal Chemistry at the Broad Institute fro 2008-2010.

I knew KC by serving as the recruiter for Novartis and visited Scripps for many years.

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