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TSRI Scientist Receives 2000 Presidential Green Chemistry Award

La Jolla, CA. July 6, 2000 Chi-Huey Wong, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Chemistry and The Skaggs Institute at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI), has been selected to receive a 2000 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award, jointly presented by the Director of the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology and President of the American Chemical Society. The award program provides national public recognition for organizations that are successfully researching, developing and implementing outstanding green chemical technologies. An award ceremony was held last week at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C., and included addresses by several dignitaries representing the White House, National Academy of Sciences, American Chemical Society, and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Wong was selected for his pioneering work on the development of effective enzymes and the design of novel substrates and processes for large-scale organic synthesis. The methods and strategies he developed have made possible synthetic transformations that are otherwise impossible or impractical, especially in areas important in biology and medicine, and have pointed the way toward new green methodologies for use in large-scale industry.

A recent study by the Institute for Scientific Information ranked Dr. Wong in the top 15 of the most cited chemists in the world for the period 1994-1996. According to this study, he is also the most cited chemist worldwide working in the field related to enzymes. The strategies and methods developed by Wong are considered breakthrough achievements that laid the framework for much of the current use of enzymes as catalysts in large-scale organic synthesis. All of the new enzymatic reactions are carried out in environmentally acceptable solvents, under mild reaction conditions, at ambient temperature, and with minimum protection of functional groups.

Wong has been a member of the faculty at TSRI since 1989. Previously, he held a joint appointment as Professor in the Departments of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Biophysics and the Institute of Biosciences and Technology, Texas A&M University. Wong's work has been previously recognized by a number of prominent organizations; he is the recipient of the Searle Scholar Award in Biomedical Sciences, Presidential Young Investigator Award in Chemistry, Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award, the International Carbohydrate Award, the American Chemical Society Harrison Howe Award in Chemistry, Wolfrom Award in Carbohydrate Chemistry, the Claude S. Hudson Award in Carbohydrate Chemistry, and the International Enzyme Engineering Award. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In addition, he is the Editor-in-Chief of Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry.

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