Roche Symposium Showcases Expertise of Up and Coming Chemists
Elegant science sets backdrop for discussions on new approaches in organic chemistry
NUTLEY, NJ – May 23, 2012 – This week, Roche honored 12 outstanding PhD students and two professors with the company’s Excellence in Chemistry Award for research accomplishments in the fields of synthetic organic chemistry, bio-organic chemistry, and computational chemistry. The winners, who participated in Roche’s annual two-day Roche Symposium: Excellence in Chemistry, gained first-hand knowledge on the important role chemistry plays in pharmaceutical discovery.
The symposium serves to recognize graduate students and faculty members who are providing significant advances various fields of chemistry. During the event, students had opportunities to discuss their research projects, hear about the drug discovery process from Roche scientists, as well as case histories in medicinal and process chemistry.
2012 Student Recipients
Representing 10 prestigious institutions, the 12 winners for 2012 are: Lynn McGregor (Harvard University), Yingda Ye (University of Michigan), Jeff Bandar (Columbia University), Christina M. Woo (Yale University), Alexander D. Huters (UCLA), Aaron Lackner (University of California, Berkeley), Julian A. Codelli (California Institute of Technology), Keary Mark Engle (The Scripps Research Institute), Alexandria P. Brucks (Columbia University), Paul A. Novick (Stanford University), Justin Kim (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and Will R. Gutekunst (The Scripps Research Institute).
“The Roche Symposium is an outstanding opportunity to connect with future leaders in the field of chemistry,” said Karen Lackey, Vice President and Head, Medicinal Chemistry at Roche. “The symposium is also a great way to showcase the science that awardees have pioneered, which has the potential to increase the impact chemistry has in drug discovery.”
Two faculty members who have demonstrated both excellence and originality in their research were also chosen to participate. This year, plenary lectures were offered by the 2012 Faculty Award winners, Professor Neil Garg from the Department of Chemistry at the University of California, Los Angeles and Professor Abigail Doyle from the Department of Chemistry at Princeton University, who shared their knowledge and insights in the fields of complex molecule synthesis and nucleophilic fluorination.
“The students and professors presented on topics which are critically important to our work in drug discovery,” said Eric Mertz, Senior Scientist, Discovery Chemistry at Roche. “Furthermore, it was quite exciting for the awardees and also Roche chemists to have so many in-depth discussions regarding our research and new ideas in chemistry.”
Students were nominated by their faculty advisors and selected by a committee comprised of Roche scientists. Eligible students were advanced graduate students who might be interested in the pharmaceutical industry as a career. Besides the opportunity to attend and present their research projects at the symposium, the students each received a crystal award and honorarium.
Research in the pharmaceutical industry provides one of the most stimulating, challenging and rewarding environments for the research chemist. The ability of research chemists to design and efficiently synthesize compounds with the desired pharmacological and safety profile is essential for innovative pharmaceutical research. Whether in medicinal chemistry or process development chemistry, a research chemist plays a critical role in the discovery of new medicines.
Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Roche is a leader in research-focused healthcare with combined strengths in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics. Roche is the world’s largest biotech company with truly differentiated medicines in oncology, virology, inflammation, metabolism and CNS. Roche is also the world leader in in-vitro diagnostics, tissue-based cancer diagnostics and a pioneer in diabetes management. Roche’s personalized healthcare strategy aims at providing medicines and diagnostic tools that enable tangible improvements in the health, quality of life and survival of patients. In 2011, Roche had over 80,000 employees worldwide and invested over 8 billion Swiss francs ($9 billion US) in R&D. The Group posted sales of 42.5 billion Swiss francs ($47.8 billion US). Genentech, United States, is a wholly owned member of the Roche Group. Roche has a majority stake in Chugai Pharmaceutical, Japan. For more information: www.roche.com or www.roche-nutley.com.