Four professors from the University of Michigan are preparing to receive honors at the 2020 American Chemical Society (ACS) meetings this spring and fall. The ACS announced its national award winners for this year last August.

"One professor winning a national award would be an outstanding achievement. It is quite remarkable to have four professors win in one year,” says Chemistry Department Chair Robert Kennedy.  "It attests to the breadth and depth of research in the department and the hard work of our professors and students.”  

Charles Brooks III received the ACS Award for Computers in Chemical & Pharmaceutical Research which includes $5000 and a certificate. A current Brooks’s lab project aids in rapid drug discovery, using computers to quickly identify new molecules with medical potential. Another project on constant pH molecular dynamics simulates the motion of proteins with many different protonation states.

Dr. Brooks credits being positioned to receive this award to his incredible students and younger colleagues. “They demonstrate for me the vigor and boundless enthusiasm for scientific exploration that I want to keep as part of my own core practice,” he says.

Mark Meyerhoff received the ACS Analytical Chemistry award, also consisting of $5000 and a certificate. Of late, Dr. Meyerhoff has been developing novel biomedical devices to slowly release nitric oxide (NO) gas. The slow release of NO can prevent clotting around an intravenous sensor, which can throw off measurements of blood components like CO2 or glucose. His work is even applied to prevent dangerous blood clots from forming around the tools of open-heart surgery. He says he’s particularly honored to win this award since the last University of Michigan winner was Dr. Phillip Erving, the namesake of his professorship. Like Dr. Brooks, Dr. Meyerhoff emphasizes the importance of his students in being positioned to receive this award. He plans to hold a dinner with his former graduates and post docs at the ACS spring meeting this year to celebrate.

Corinna Schindler was awarded the ACS national award for pure chemistry in recognition of her outstanding achievements during the first five years of her career. Her work is in synthetic organic and organometallic chemistry. Specifically, her group creates biologically active molecules using earth abundant metals and investigates the biological activity of these molecules. The award for pure chemistry is supported by the Alpha Chi Sigma fraternity and includes a $5000 prize to continue her work.

Corey Stephenson was named an Arthur C. Cope scholar. This award recognizes outstanding achievements in organic chemistry. Dr. Stephenson will receive $5000 and a certificate along with another grant to help him continue his research in photoredox catalysis, methods that increase the productivity of chemical reactions while generating less waste using light.

Dr. Schindler, Dr. Meyerhoff, and Dr. Brooks will be honored at an awards ceremony at the Spring ACS national meeting in Philadelphia. Dr. Stephenson will be honored next August in San Francisco at the Fall ACS national meeting.

The ACS National awards were created to “encourage the advancement of chemistry in all its branches, to support research in chemical science and industry, and to promote the careers of chemists.”