Issue Date: January 8, 2018
Alfred Burger Award in Medicinal Chemistry: Dennis C. Liotta
Sponsor: Gilead Sciences
Citation: For inventing antiviral drugs that more than 90% of HIV-infected persons on therapy in the U.S. take or have taken.
Current position: Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Chemistry, Emory University
Education: B.A., chemistry, Queens College, City University of New York; Ph.D., chemistry, City University of New York
Liotta on his scientific role model and why: “Although I have many scientific role models, the one that inspired me the most was Gertrude (Trudy) Elion, the 1988 Nobel laureate in Physiology or Medicine. She was, of course, brilliant and creative. But she also had to struggle throughout most of her professional life to get the recognition she so amply deserved. When she had an idea that she believed in, she pursued it relentlessly until she figured out how to make it work. Creativity without persistence probably won’t result in anything of lasting value.”
What his colleagues say: “As one of the discoverers of the antiviral agent FTC and numerous other antiviral agents, professor Liotta has changed the lives of countless numbers of HIV/AIDS patients. Not only are these drugs extremely effective in controlling the virus, but their incorporation into once-daily treatment combinations has significantly enhanced the quality of life of these individuals.”—George R. Painter, Emory University
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