Issue Date: January 8, 2018
James Flack Norris Award in Physical Organic Chemistry: Cynthia J. Burrows
Sponsor: ACS Northeastern Section
Citation: For seminal studies to elucidate the mechanistic pathways of oxidation of guanine and its derivatives to further our understanding of DNA damage and repair.
Current position: Thatcher Distinguished Professor and Presidential Endowed Chair of Biological Chemistry, University of Utah
Education: B.A., chemistry, University of Colorado; Ph.D., chemistry, Cornell University
Burrows on the future of her field: “Physical organic chemistry in 2018 is not so much a focused discipline as it is a way of thinking about structure and mechanisms pertaining to carbon-containing molecules. In the 20th century, physical organic chemistry was about reactive intermediates—carbocations, carbenes, radicals. Now it spans materials, devices, catalysis, and biological mechanisms. I’m happy to be a part of this field, grounded in fundamental studies but with ultimately very broad implications.”
What her colleagues say: “She is recognized as a world expert in the study of mechanisms of DNA base oxidation. Her work is characterized by keen chemical insight and creative approaches to understanding the broader implications of oxidative DNA damage.”—Dale Poulter, University of Utah
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