Contact: Bob Nelson Embargoed for release
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email@example.com Monday, Sept. 8, 1997
Danishefsky Wins Top Chemistry Award
Samuel Danishefsky, the internationally-renowned organic chemist,
professor of chemistry at Columbia University and director of the Laboratory for
Bioorganic Chemistry at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, will receive
the American Chemical Society's highest award at its fall meeting next year.
The Arthur C. Cope Award, which includes a gold medal, a $25,000 award
and a $150,000 award for chemical research, will be presented to Professor
Danishefsky Aug. 25, 1998, at the society's Cope Symposium at ACS's fall national
meeting in Boston.
"I'm delighted to receive the Cope medal, all the more so because it reflects
on the mass of accomplishments of my graduate students and postdoctoral
colleagues over the years, including the current world-class groups," Professor
Three other Columbia chemists - Gilbert Stork, Ronald Breslow and Koji
Nakanishi - have won the Cope Award, which was established in 1972 "to
recognize outstanding achievement in the field of organic chemistry the
significance of which has become apparent within the five years preceding the
year in which the award will be considered."
Professor Danishefsky is renowned for his work in synthesizing the three-
dimensional structures of many compounds, a field that has become central to
pharmaceutical research and one pioneered by his Columbia mentor, Professor
Stork. In 1993, Professor Danishefsky, then at Yale, announced a highly efficient
synthesis of certain polysaccarides, compounds of linked sugars, using tools he
and Professor Stork had developed. The two researchers won the 1995-96 Wolf
Prize in chemistry for their work.
Professor Danishefsky has been honored on many occasions for his
syntheses of compounds previously found only in nature, including terpenes,
steroids and alkaloids that have antibiotic and anticancer properties. In the last
10 years, he has developed a building-block approach to carbohydrate synthesis,
using glycals, carbon rings with one oxygen atom, as the basic unit to build
oligosaccarides, very complex carbohydrates, and glycopeptides, carbohydrates
attached to peptides. A synthetic carbohydrate molecule he synthesized is being
evaluated at Memorial Sloan-Kettering as a cancer vaccine.
He is a graduate of Yeshiva and Harvard and was a postdoctoral fellow at
Columbia. He resides in Englewood, N.J.
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