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2022 Cope and Cope Scholar Award winners

Recipients are honored for contributions of major significance to chemistry

by Nina Notman, special to C&EN
January 29, 2022 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 100, Issue 4


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The following vignettes highlight the recipients of the 2022 Arthur C. Cope Award and the Arthur C. Cope Scholar Awards, presented by the American Chemical Society. Vignettes for the rest of the ACS National Award recipients were published in the Jan. 24 issue of C&EN. Recipients of the Cope Award and Cope Scholar Awards will be honored at a ceremony in the fall of 2022.

Arthur C. Cope Award: Véronique Gouverneur

This is a photo of Veronique Gouverneur.
Credit: Courtesy of Veronique Gouverneur
Veronique Gouverneur

Sponsor: Arthur C. Cope Fund

Citation: For innovations in organic fluorine (radio)chemistry and applications in diagnostic and pharmaceutical drug discovery, and for enhancing our understanding of metal alkali fluoride reactivity

Current position: Professor of chemistry, University of Oxford

Education: BSc, MSc, and PhD, chemistry, Université Catholique de Louvain

Gouverneur on her hopes for the future: “With a growing human population and Earth’s limited natural resources, we are directing our efforts towards circular processes for the fluorine-containing chemicals that are used as high-performance materials, agrochemicals, and pharmaceuticals. In the next decade, I hope to develop sustainable fluorine chemistry that requires less energy, produces less waste, and will, hopefully, make this world a slightly better place for us humans and all other species to live in harmony.”

What Gouverneur’s colleagues say: “Before Véronique’s entry into positron emission tomography (PET) radiochemistry, the field was mainly confined to biomedical imaging centers with only slow progress being made in opening up methodology for versatile radiotracer synthesis. Her academic prowess, accomplishments, and leadership have played a major role in changing this state of affairs.”—Victor W. Pike, Molecular Imaging Branch, US National Institute of Mental Health

Arthur C. Cope Scholar Awards

Sponsor: Arthur C. Cope Fund

Richard G. Finke

This is a photo of Richard G. Finke.
Credit: Courtesy of Richard G. Finke
Richard G. Finke

Citation: For exceptional and scholarly efforts distinguishing homogeneous from heterogeneous catalysis of organic reactions

Current position: Professor of chemistry, Colorado State University

Education: BS, chemistry, University of Colorado; PhD, chemistry, Stanford University

Finke on the most rewarding parts of his job: “The continual chance to learn—indeed, to be paid to learn; the thrill of discovery; the thrill of seeing students make their first discovery; being surrounded by smart students and outstanding colleagues all interested in pushing science and learning forward; consulting with and learning from great companies; and the fantastic scientists you meet from all over the world, many of which become your collaborators, colleagues, and often good friends.”

What Finke’s colleagues say: “Richard has demonstrated scholarly excellence throughout his career. His work on addressing the classic, challenging, and impactful ‘is it homogeneous or heterogeneous catalysis?’ question is seminal and impacts a broad range of organic chemistry using transition-metal precatalysts. The benefits to society are significant with an estimated $900 billion per year of chemicals and fuels produced from catalysis in the US alone.”—Robert H. Grubbs, California Institute of Technology

Joseph M. Fox

This is a photo of Joseph M. Fox.
Credit: Courtesy of Joseph M. Fox
Joseph M. Fox

Citation: For outstanding achievements in the development of organic reactions with applications in biology, synthesis, and materials science

Current position: Professor of chemistry and biochemistry and director, NIH Center of Biomedical Research Excellence, University of Delaware

Education: AB, chemistry, Princeton University; PhD, organic chemistry, Columbia University

Fox on the most rewarding part of his job: “The most rewarding part of my job is, quite simply, the privilege of working with students and postdocs, and the process of collaborating with them on basic research questions: sketching out a new idea at group meeting, a paper getting accepted, seeing our chemistry find real-world applications, the excitement of a student landing their first job . . . and, my favorite, popping champagne after a PhD defense. Some things just never get old!”

What Fox’s colleagues say: “Joe has established a research program at the forefront of new reaction development. Many of the transformations developed in his laboratory are in widespread use in academia and industry. His work is notable for its tremendous depth and breadth. His detailed studies on strained alkenes, in particular, have propelled numerous impactful research pursuits in the biological sciences.”—Jennifer A. Prescher, University of California, Irvine

Todd K. Hyster

This is a photo of Todd K. Hyster.
Credit: Courtesy of Todd K. Hyster
Todd K. Hyster

Citation: For the outstanding development of photoenzymatic catalysis as a strategy for expanding the synthetic capabilities of enzymes

Current position: Associate professor of chemistry and chemical biology, Cornell University

Education: BSc, chemistry, University of Minnesota; PhD, chemistry, Colorado State University

Hyster on what he hopes to accomplish in the next decade: “I hope to develop mechanisms that enable nearly every type of radical reaction to be catalyzed by an enzyme. Concurrently, I would like to evolve catalyst variants to perform on par with industrial biocatalysts. If we can achieve these goals, I hope to impact the synthesis of societally valuable molecules.”

What Hyster’s colleagues say: “Todd has established himself as a generational innovation leader in the field of biological catalysis with application in organic synthesis. His training in transition metal catalysis and enzyme evolution brings a unique perspective into the field. He has leveraged this background to quickly develop a novel light-driven approach to enzyme catalysis that holds significant promise.”—F. Dean Toste, University of California, Berkeley

Marisa C. Kozlowski

This is a photo of Marisa C. Kozlowski
Credit: Courtesy of Marisa C. Kozlowski
Marisa C. Kozlowski

Citation: For outstanding original contributions to computation to understand and develop organic reactions

Current position: Chemistry professor, University of Pennsylvania

Education: AB, chemistry, Cornell University; PhD, organic chemistry, University of California, Berkeley

Kozlowski’s message for her younger self: “If you are passionate about a project, don’t give up even if the funding agencies don’t support the work. Often it takes time for a really new approach or idea to gain traction in the community.”

What Kozlowski’s colleagues say: “Marisa’s experimental and computational contributions in catalysis have fundamentally transformed the field, and her unique insight has contributed to new reactions developed in her laboratory and many others around the world.”—Donna M. Huryn, University of Pittsburgh

Guy C. Lloyd-Jones

This is a photo of Guy C. Lloyd-Jones.
Credit: Courtesy of Guy C. Lloyd-Jones
Guy C. Lloyd-Jones

Citation: For fundamental contributions to mechanistic analysis and the resulting practical insights to important synthetic processes

Current position: Forbes Professor of Organic Chemistry, University of Edinburgh

Education: BSc, applied chemistry, Huddersfield Polytechnic; DPhil, organic chemistry, University of Oxford

Lloyd-Jones on what inspired him to become a scientist: “I think that a compulsive curiosity was the major inspiration. As a young boy it repeatedly got me into all sorts of trouble, accidents, and mischief. However, as I grew up, I found that science offers opportunity and reward for the curious, and rather than having to suppress it, I could apply it. Indeed, there are very few careers where not achieving what you set out to do can be a cause for celebration rather than criticism.”

What Lloyd-Jones’s colleagues say: “Guy is a unique force in physical organic chemistry who pushes its boundaries by taking on complex and important problems, particularly those that are significant to the pharmaceutical industry, and by creating holistic approaches to understanding chemical reactivity.”—Ian Manners, University of Victoria

Alison Narayan

This is a photo of Alison Narayan.
Credit: Courtesy of Alison Narayan
Alison Narayan

Citation: For her outstanding accomplishments in organic synthesis and biocatalysis

Current position: Associate professor of chemistry and the Mary Sue Coleman Research Associate Professor at the Life Sciences Institute, University of Michigan

Education: BS, chemistry, University of Michigan; PhD, chemistry, University of California, Berkeley

Narayan on the most rewarding part of her job: “Working with students and postdocs is by far the best part of my job. I was reminded of this tonight on a phone call with one of the first students to join my group—he just got offered the job of his dreams! To be a part of that path for people is a special thing. Plus, the close scientific collaboration within the group stretches me in new directions and keeps things fresh.”

What Narayan’s colleagues say: “Alison is universally respected and acknowledged as a leader in the field. Her publications are uniformly superb and must-read contributions. It is clear that she thinks at a very deep level about the field and will continue to make important and lasting high-impact contributions that appeal to chemical biologists, enzymologists, biochemists, and synthetic organic chemists.”—Phil S. Baran, Scripps Research Institute

David A. Nicewicz

This is a photo of David A. Nicewicz.
Credit: Courtesy of David A. Nicewicz
David A. Nicewicz

Citation: For pioneering research in the development of organophotocatalysts resulting in important new transformational processes in organic synthesis

Current position: Royce Murray Term Professor of Chemistry, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Education: BS and MS, chemistry, University of North Carolina at Charlotte; PhD, chemistry, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Nicewicz on the most rewarding part of this job: “I really enjoy having informal research conversations with my students in the lab, especially ones where we have an ‘aha!’ type moment. This is actually how we hypothesized that the highly oxidizing photocatalysts we use, acridinium salts, could also be super photoreductants upon two-photon absorption. It was really rewarding when that prediction came to pass, and that finding wouldn’t have been possible had I not had these types of interactions with my students.”

What Nicewicz’s colleagues say: “Dave has pioneered the development of new catalysis technologies through what can best be described as disruptive innovation. He has broken new ground in synthetic organic chemistry that relies on the use of organophotocatalysts to create valuable new reactions, and these methods have been translated to innumerable applications, a hallmark of an impactful program.”—Gary Molander, University of Pennsylvania

Emma Parmee

This is a photo of Emma Parmee.
Credit: Courtesy of Emma Parmee
Emma Parmee

Citation: For her contributions to innovation in organic chemistry and its successful application to the invention of new medicines

Current position: Global head of therapeutics discovery, Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson

Education: BA, chemistry, and D. Phil., organic chemistry, University of Oxford

Parmee on what she hopes to accomplish in the next decade: “The biology and targets we are tackling are more complex than ever before, but there are exciting novel modalities evolving that will allow us to modulate these targets. Thus, in the future, there should be no limit to the chemical space we can interrogate, and no target should be considered undruggable. My hope is to play a role in helping us realize that vision and bring more novel therapies to patients by taking a truly modality agnostic approach to drug discovery.”

What Parmee’s colleagues say: “Emma is held in the highest stature, not only within the pharmaceutical industry but also as a member of the broader scientific community. From my own personal interactions with a number of pharmaceutical companies, I always find that Emma is viewed as a great manager, a deep scientist, and a role model to everyone around her. Her impact on both medicinal chemistry and on human pharmaceutical sciences is second to none.”—David W. C. MacMillan, Princeton University

Theresa M. Reineke

This is a photo of Theresa M. Reineke
Credit: Courtesy of Theresa M. Reineke
Theresa M. Reineke

Citation: For the discovery of scalable syntheses for, and applied methodologies using, organic polymers designed for delivery of nucleic acid/small molecule drugs or as sustainable plastics

Current position: Distinguished McKnight University Professor, University of Minnesota

Education: BS, chemistry, University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire; MS, chemistry, Arizona State University; PhD, chemistry, University of Michigan

Reineke on her proudest career moments: “Mentoring students and postdocs (our next generation of scientists) and sharing in their discoveries are the biggest highlights of my career. Moreover, the many recent clinical successes of nucleic acid therapeutics coupled with synthetic carriers have been extremely validating to my lab’s research. I’ve had many people tell me this drug paradigm would never work . . . but it’s now a reality and leading health-care research and development.”

What Reineke’s colleagues say: “Theresa is an outstanding chemist who is reshaping the field of organic polymer chemistry with highly creative work that also has important practical utility.”—Geoffrey W. Coates, Cornell University

Jennifer M. Schomaker

This is a photo of Jennifer M. Schomaker.
Credit: Courtesy of Jennifer M. Schomaker
Jennifer M. Schomaker

Citation: For the development of new methods to achieve tunable, chemo-, site-, and stereoselective carbon-nitrogen bond formation for the synthesis of densely functionalized amines and N-heterocycles

Current position: Chemistry professor, University of Wisconsin–Madison

Education: BS, chemistry, Saginaw Valley State University; MS, chemistry, Central Michigan University; PhD, chemistry, Michigan State University

Schomaker on the most rewarding part of her job: “I have enjoyed the myriad opportunities in academia to move outside my scientific comfort zone. While I still rely on my training in synthesis and methods development, the ability to apply these skills to answer diverse questions, especially in collaboration with others, is one of the most interesting aspects of my work. The twists and turns provided by a research-based career have been both immensely challenging and rewarding.”


What Schomaker’s colleagues say: “Professor Schomaker has distinguished herself in research and in service to organic chemistry. To me, Schomaker’s distinct, creative vision has been the development of flexible reactions that enable the synthesis of complex, densely functionalized structures with complete control over their stereochemistry, regiochemistry, and constitution. These types of structures are of intense interest in the pharmaceutical industry, where it is recognized that ‘too flat’ molecules can lead to problems.”—Daniel Weix, University of Wisconsin–Madison


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