The SCI, America International Group, will award the Perkin Medal to Richard B Silverman, the John Evans Professor of Chemistry at Northwestern University. He will be presented with the medal at the Perkin Medal dinner, now in its 103rd year, in Philadelphia on 15 September 2009.
Silverman is being awarded the Perkin Medal for his development of the drug Lyrica, which is used to treat epilepsy, neuropathic pain, and fibromyalgia. His work studying enzymes and how they assemble proteins, hormones, and other molecules led not only to Lyrica, but to a better understanding of how enzymes are responsible for the synthesis and degradation of the important neurotransmitters gamma-aminobutryic acid and glutamate.
‘Richard is the kind of person who translates innovative research into products that change people’s lives,’ said Andrew Liveris, SCI America Group Chairman and the President, CEO, and Chairman of the Board of the Dow Chemical Company. ‘Richard and Lyrica have made all the difference in the world for people suffering from some really debilitating conditions.’
In an associated event, SCI and the Chemical Heritage Foundation (CHF) will also hold the 5th Annual Innovation Day at CHF. Innovation Day gathers more than 200 scientific leaders from the chemical and molecular science industries to discuss cutting edge research.
About Richard B Silverman
Dr Richard B Silverman is the John Evans Professor of Chemistry at Northwestern University and also holds an appointment in the Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Cell Biology. Dr Silverman is a member of the Center for Molecular Innovation and Drug Discovery, the Northwestern University Institute for Neuroscience, the Interdepartmental Biological Sciences Program, the Chemistry of Life Processes Institute, and the Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center.
In 2008 Dr Silverman was the recipient of a Distinguished Alumni Award from The Pennsylvania State University. In 2003 he received an Arthur C Cope Senior Scholar Award from the American Chemical Society for innovative research related to the mechanism and inactivation of enzymes. Other awards that Dr Silverman has received for creative research include selection as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1990 and a Fellow of the American Institute of Chemists in 1985; he also received a National Institutes of Health Research Career Development Award in 1982, an Alfred P Sloan Research Fellowship in 1981, and a DuPont Young Faculty Fellowship in 1976. Dr Silverman is the author of over 250 research articles, has written three books (one in its second edition), and holds 41 domestic and foreign patents.
Dr Silverman received his Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from The Pennsylvania State University in 1968. He started his graduate studies in organic chemistry at Harvard University in 1968, but was drafted into the US Army. After receiving a US Army Commendation Medal for meritorious service in 1971, he returned to Harvard University and completed his masters and doctoral degrees in 1972 and 1974, respectively. Following two years of postdoctoral research in the study of enzyme inactivation in the Graduate Department of Biochemistry at Brandeis University, Dr Silverman began his independent career at Northwestern University.
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About the SCI Perkin Medal
The award is recognised as one of the highest honors given for outstanding work in applied chemistry in the United States. It commemorates the discovery of the first synthetic dye (the so-called Perkin mauve) by Sir William Henry Perkin in 1856. This discovery was a significant step forward in organic chemistry that led to the birth of a major segment of the chemical industry. The Perkin Medal was first awarded to Sir William at a banquet held by the SCI in New York in 1906. Since then, more than 90 such awards have been given to notable scientists.
About the Chemical Heritage Foundation
The Chemical Heritage Foundation (CHF) is a library, museum, and center for scholars. Located in Philadelphia, CHF maintains world-class collections, including instruments and apparatus, rare books, fine art, and the personal papers of prominent scientists, all related to the story of chemistry.