Stony Brook University Chemistry Professors Iwao Ojima, PhD, and Nancy Goroff, PhD, have been selected to receive 2013 American Chemical Society (ACS) Awards for pioneering work in their respective specialties.

Dr. Ojima, a Distinguished Professor and Director of the Institute of Chemical Biology and Drug Discovery at Stony Brook, will be awarded the 2013 ACS Award for Creative Work in Fluorine Chemistry at the Spring American Chemical Society Meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana, April 7-11, 2013, and will also present the award address at the Biennial Winter Fluorine Conference in St. Pete Beach, Florida, January 13-18, 2013. The award consists of $5,000 and a certificate.

Dr. Goroff, an Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry at Stony Brook, will receive the 2013 ACS Award for Creative Research and Applications of Iodine Chemistry at the Spring American Chemical Society Meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana, April 7-11, 2013, at which she will present an award address. The award consists of $10,000 and a certificate.

“Stony Brook University is extremely proud to have two renowned Chemistry professors receiving these prestigious awards,” said Stony Brook University President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., MD. “Iwao Ojima and Nancy Goroff are truly deserving of this recognition from the world’s largest scientific society. Their contributions, leadership, quality of research, dedication and professionalism are valued assets and resources to the institution. On behalf of Stony Brook University, I congratulate them on this well-deserved honor.”

Iwao Ojima
Dr. Ojima will receive the ACS award “for his outstanding contributions to fluorine chemistry through his pioneering and creative research in synthetic methodology and biomedical applications.”

Dr. Ojima’s research, a combination of both transition metal catalysis and medicinal chemistry, has had a profound impact on the fluorine chemistry at the biomedical interface. This is his third ACS National Award in addition to the Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award (organic chemistry) in 1994 and the E. B. Hershberg Award (medicinal chemistry) in 2001, illuminating the exceptional breadth and excellence in his research.

The element fluorine plays an important role in our everyday lives as a component of common substances such as toothpaste, Teflon, coolants, air conditioners, air sprays, extinguishers, as well as pharmaceutical drugs. Today, enormous numbers of synthetic fluorine-containing compounds have been widely used in a variety of fields because the incorporation of fluorine atoms or fluorinated groups often furnishes quite unique properties to molecules, which cannot be attained by any other elements.

Dr. Ojima first introduced catalytic processes into organofluorine chemistry in the early 1980s, and developed highly-efficient methods for the practical synthesis of optically active fluoro-amino acids by means of catalysis and enzymatic resolution. His invention of a highly efficient process for the synthesis of 5-trifluoromethyluracil was commercialized for the production of trifluridine (antiviral drug). He developed successful fluorine-containing molecules for the treatment of high blood pressure and as pain killers. Most recently, he synthesized taxol derivatives containing fluorine as anticancer agents, probes of chemical and structural biology, and to enhance drug potency. “These fluoro-taxoids have been incorporated as “warheads” into tumor-targeting drug delivery systems for efficacious cancer chemotherapy,” according to Dr. Benjamin Hsiao, Vice President for Research, and former Chair of Chemistry, at Stony Brook…