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Academy of Science-St. Louis announces recipients of Outstanding St. Louis Scientist Awards

ST. LOUIS, JANUARY 12, 2011: The 17th annual Academy of Science-St. Awards dinner, honoring top scientists and engineers from the St. Louis region, will be held at the Chase Park Plaza on April 13, 2011.

The academy's Peter H. Raven Lifetime Award recognizes local scientists with a distinguished career in science, engineering or technology. The 2011 prize goes to Marcus E. Raichle, MD, Professor of Radiology, Neurology, Neurobiology, BioMedical Engineering and Psychology at the Washington University School of Medicine. Dr. Raichle has an exceptional body of leading-edge research work in Human cognitive neuroscience and neuroimaging.

Dr. Raichle has profoundly influenced biomedical science by discovering and then creatively applying methods of image human brain function. His PET studies in the late 1980's and early 1990's on language, attention and memory were the turning point for the field of human cognitive neuroscience.

Over the past three decades, Raichle and his colleagues have pioneered a revolution in brain science using noninvasive neuroimaging methods to study human brain function. His specific contributions include advances in the methodology of imaging and groundbreaking work in elucidating cognitive aspects of human brain function. The PET experiments of Raichle and his colleagues on the manner in which the brain processes single words is among the most emulated and cited studies in the functional neuroimaging literature. His impact is evident in myriad fields of study, including memory, emotion, personality differences, depression, anxiety and blindness.

The Science Leadership Award honors an individual or organization that has played an important leadership role in the development of science and scientists in the region. This year's honorees are Emerson and Timothy Eberlein, MD, Director of the Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital.

An innovative technology leader, St. Louis-based Emerson has been recognized by FORTUNE as a Global 500 Company and one of the World's Most Admired Companies.

Thanks to strong global technological innovations, such as the modernization of 100 hydroelectric turbine generators in Ukraine; power inverters and plant-wide controls for what will be California's largest photovoltaic facility; climate technologies that preserve globally transported fruit and vegetables; and scroll compressor heating technology is now being used by major heat pump manufacturers in Asia.

Emerson is a global leader in bringing technology and engineering together to provide innovative solutions for customers in industrial, commercial, and consumer markets through its network power, process management, industrial automation, climate technologies, and appliance and tools businesses. With more than 500 new products per year, Emerson just ended 2010 with net sales of $21 billion.

Timothy Eberlein, MD is the Bixby Professor and Chairman of the Department of Surgery at Washington University School of Medicine. He also serves as the Olin Distinguished Professor and Director of the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University Medical Center. Dr. Eberlein serves as the Surgeon-in-Chief at Barnes-Jewish Hospital.

Dr. Eberlein was the founding Director of the Siteman Cancer Center, a NCI Comprehensive Cancer Center and member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network. Under his leadership, the Center has become one of the largest clinical cancer centers in the country with integrated research programs involving all Departments of the School of Medicine, as well as the Schools of Engineering, Social Work and Arts and Sciences. The Center treats more than 40,000 cancer patients each year and just received a $23 million research grant from the NCI.

Eberlein has held a series of national leadership positions, currently serves as editor-in-chief of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons and is President-Elect of the American Surgical Association.

The James B. Eads Award for outstanding achievement in technology or engineering will be presented to Alexander Rubin, PhD, Senior Technical Fellow, Boeing Research and Technology, The Boeing Company, and Ettigounder (Samy) Ponnusamy, PhD, Principal Scientist, Sigma-Aldrich.

Alexander Rubin is an internationally recognized expert in composite materials, structures and analysis. His breakthrough work in thermoplastic composites led to the first wide spread implementation of structural thermoplastic components on military and commercial aerospace and key international partnerships. Dr. Rubin is also recognized for his international leadership of R & D projects and his work with Saint Louis University and Washington University in St. Louis, where he teaches and mentors students.

Ettigounder (Samy) Ponnusamy embodies the characteristics of a leading edge R&D chemist. His area of specialty, Polyamino acid polymer chemistry, has benefited from his many patents and at least 10 global companies use his advances to facilitate their products. His work is dedicated to the design, improvement and scaling up of novel drug delivery polymers and polyamino acids, to advance new medical devices and chemical entities for the cure and treatment of oncology, heart disease and vaccine therapies. One such innovation, an efficient and green chemical synthesis has led to a safe and less toxic formulation of paclitaxol-a leading oncology drug in the US.

Dr. Ponnusamy is also a driving force in the area of Green Chemistryreducing hazardous waste and chemicals in synthesis.

The Fellows Award recognizes a distinguished individual for outstanding achievement in science. Two professional scientists receiving the 2011 awards are: Duane Grandgenett, PhD, Professor, Institute for Molecular Virology, Saint Louis University School of Medicine, and Toni Kutchan, PhD, Member and Principal Investigator, Donald Danforth Plant Science Center.

Duane Grandgenett is recognized as "the Father of Integrase". He was the first to discover that retroviruses encode a protein responsible for integration of the viral DNA genome into cell DNA. This discovery has now led to the better treatment of thousands with HIV/AIDS by a new drug directed against the integrase with few side effects and new hope for the 33 million patients worldwide. That said, Dr. Grandgenett regards educating young scientist and inspiring students as among his greatest contributions to his field. He has mentored postdoctoral fellows, graduate and medical students, undergraduates and high school students in his laboratory. For a decade he served as director of Saint Louis University's Cell and Molecular Biology graduate program.

Toni Kutchan is a leader in combining genetic techniques with detailed enzyme characterization and chemical structural characterization. This unique ability to be a leader across multiple technical fields influenced her recent election to the German National Academy of Science, whose members have long dominated the phytochemistry arena. Dr. Kutchan's work on the international plant biochemistry stage, in particular regarding medicinal plants, is combined with her outstanding record of mentoring students of all ages.

The Trustees Award recognizes outstanding contributions to the Academy mission of promoting the understanding and appreciation of science, engineering, and technology. Trustee Award recipients for 2011 are: Janey S. Symington, PhD, Molecular Cell Biologist (retired) Washington University and Linda Cottler, PhD, Professor of Epidemiology in Psychiatry and jointly appointed in the Program for Occupational Therapy at the Washington University School of Medicine and in Anthropology in the School of Arts and Sciences.

Dr. Symington's reputation as a promoter of the understanding and appreciation of science began with her early days in molecular cell biology at Washington University. As a young researcher, she was sought after by her colleagues, hoping to tap her expertise with the electron microscope and her leading-edge research on proteins as transfer agents informs many of today's scientists. Yet it is Symington's passion for sharing the wonders and future of science with the next generation that garners her the Academy's Trustees Award.

For close to 20 years, Symington has been a driver, visionary and brain trust for the mission of the Academy of Science and strong supporter of the breadth of scientific discovery in our region. Whether it be fostering translational medicine, plant science research, world ecology, or helping young girls realize they have a place in science, she has been a beacon, living the Academy mission of promoting the understanding and appreciation of science.

Linda Cottler's work has influenced psychiatric epidemiologists globally. Her direct research and outreach on HIV prevention and drug addiction has spanned many continents and she is internationally known for the development of reliable, widely used assessments for substance abuse and other psychiatric disorders in the general population.

Yet, for her international reputation, Dr. Cottler has made an enormous impact on the streets of St. Louis. Her work as a pioneer in community engaged research took shape more than 20 years ago, as she collaborated with the City of St. Louis Health Department and local African American organizations to document high risk behavior rates, develop prevention programs and interventions and create a model for re-engineering the country's community engagement and clinical research programs. Cottler is recognized for her "benchside to curbside" approach to science outreach and understanding.

The Science Educator Award recognizes a distinguished individual or organization on the basis of outstanding contributions to science education or to the public understanding of science, engineering, or technology. The 2011 recipient is the Young Scientist Program, Washington University in St. Louis

Founded by two MD/PhD students in 1991, The Young Scientist Program (YSP) now offers a Summer Focus Scholar program of authentic research opportunities for high school studentsprimarily from underrepresented areas; conducts summer Teacher/Researcher Partnership programs; bring hands-on science programming to K-12 classrooms; and repurposes lab equipment and supplies for classroom use.

YSP Coordinator, Jennifer Moser, leads the volunteer graduate students and doctoral candidates in their mission to engage non-university students in the field of science, while connecting University students to the mission of science outreach and engagement. The YSP is a strong partner with the Academy of Science and other formal and informal science education and outreach organizations in the region.


Contact: Mary Burke
Academy of Science, St. Louis

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