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Biological Chemistry

Ronald Breslow Award for Achievement in Biomimetic Chemistry: Benjamin G. Davis

by Linda Wang
January 2, 2017 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 95, ISSUE 1

Benjamin G. Davis
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Credit: Courtesy of Benjamin Davis
Credit: Courtesy of Benjamin Davis

Sponsor: Ronald Breslow Award Endowment

Citation: For the development of selective and benign bond-forming strategies applied to biology, enabling functional mimicry of synthetic biomolecules, bioconjugates, cells, and viruses in vitro and in vivo.

Current position: professor of chemistry, University of Oxford, U.K.

Education: B.A., chemistry, Keble College, Oxford; D.Phil., organic chemistry, Keble College, Oxford

What Davis hopes to accomplish in the next decade: “It’s a cliché to say that, ‘It’s never been a better time to be a chemist,’ but I genuinely think that this is true in the context of chemistry driving a true understanding of molecular mechanisms in biology, medicine, and plant science. The tools and techniques that we and others use and develop now allow one to genuinely consider what I would call a ‘real’ synthetic biology to come to fruition—one can now imagine application of synthetic methodology to bond-breaking and bond-making inside living systems to study and modulate their function. We see this as an exciting path to explore.”

What his colleagues say: “Professor Davis is a superstar in the field of biomimicry, having developed elegant chemical methods for generating biomolecule analogs with enhanced therapeutic function as well as technologies for exploring and engineering metabolism in biological systems.”—Carolyn Bertozzi, Stanford University

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