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American Chemical Society Announces Speakers for Inaugural Kavli Foundation Lectures

A chemist who has developed synthetic biomaterials that could revolutionize medicine and a scientist who helped institute a global ban on the chemicals that destroy atmospheric ozone will inaugurate The Kavli Foundation Innovations in Chemistry Lectu

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A chemist who has developed synthetic biomaterials that could revolutionize medicine and a scientist who helped institute a global ban on the chemicals that destroy atmospheric ozone will inaugurate “The Kavli Foundation Innovations in Chemistry Lecture” program in 2011.

The lectures, which will be presented at American Chemical Society (ACS) national meetings next year, will address the urgent need for vigorous, new, “outside-the-box” thinking by scientists as they tackle many of the world’s mounting challenges including climate change, emerging diseases, and water and energy shortages. ACS national meetings are held twice a year and attract between 10,000 and 18,000 chemistry professionals and students. The speakers are:

  • Virgil Percec, Ph.D., P. Roy Vagelos Professor of Chemistry at the University of Pennsylvania, who will discuss the bio-inspired synthesis of complex molecular systems during his lecture on March 27 at the 241st ACS national meeting in Anaheim, Calif.
  • Susan Solomon, Ph.D., a senior scientist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), who will deliver her lecture on Aug. 29 at the 242nd ACS national meeting in Denver, Colo.

"Virgil Percec and Susan Solomon are among the world’s most influential scientific innovators,” said ACS President Joseph S. Francisco, Ph.D.. “Their efforts to improve people’s lives through the transforming power of chemistry should inspire us all. They are not just thinking `outside of the box.’ They’re doing it in ways that will reshape our science and remake our world into a better place.”

Percec and Solomon were selected by a special panel of experts including Peter Stang, Ph.D., editor-in-chief of the Journal of the American Chemical Society, and Nancy Jackson, Ph.D., ACS President-Elect. The Kavli Foundation Innovations in Chemistry Lecture program will invite important scientists to speak at each of the ACS national meetings through 2013. The Kavli Foundation, an internationally recognized philanthropic organization known for its support of basic scientific innovation, agreed to sponsor the lectures in conjunction with ACS earlier this year.

“We’re thrilled that these two scientific innovators have agreed to participate in this important lecture series,” Jackson said. “These lectures will be among the highlights of the International Year of Chemistry 2011, a worldwide celebration of the achievements of chemistry and its contributions to the well-being of humankind.”

Percec’s research explores the juncture between organic, supramolecular and macromolecular chemistry. Recently, he led an international collaboration of chemists and engineers to prepare and analyze a library of synthetic biomaterials that mimic cellular membranes. The materials show promise in targeted delivery of cancer drugs, gene therapy, proteins, imaging and diagnostic agents and cosmetics safely to the body in the emerging field called nanomedicine.

Solomon was named one of the NOAA’s top 10 history makers in 2007. According to the NOAA Web site, she “has altered the course of atmospheric research through her pioneering role in the international scientific community’s efforts to discover the cause of depleted atmospheric ozone in the Antarctic, known as the ozone ’hole.’ Her research has also helped institute a global ban on the chemicals that destroy atmospheric ozone and, consequently, threaten human health worldwide.”

On behalf of Fred Kavli and Kavli Foundation, let me express our tremendous enthusiasm about our collaboration between the ACS and The Kavli Foundation,” said Robert Conn, Ph.D., president of The Kavli Foundation. “We are dedicated to advancing science for the benefit of humanity, promoting public understanding of scientific research and supporting scientists and their work. The Kavli Foundation Innovations in Chemistry Lecturer program at the ACS national meetings fits perfectly with our commitment to support ground-breaking discovery and promote public understanding.”

In 2011 and 2012, ACS national meetings will focus on the chemistry of natural resources including air, space and water; life processes, and materials for health. Many of these themes tie directly to The Kavli Foundation’s specific interests.

The Kavli Foundation was established in December 2000 by its founder and benefactor, Fred Kavli, a prominent California business leader and noted philanthropist. The Foundation is actively involved in establishing major research institutes at leading universities and institutions in the United States, Europe and Asia. It also supports scientific conferences and symposia, science journalism, endowed chair professorships and other activities that support and inspire advances in basic science and enhance the public’s appreciation of scientists and their work.

In addition, the Foundation supports the Kavli Prizes, which recognize scientists for their seminal advances in astrophysics, nanoscience and neuroscience. The Prizes, which were first presented in 2008, are awarded every two years in Oslo, Norway. The 2010 Prizes were awarded in September.