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U Alberta researcher in same group as Darwin and Hawking

EdmontonJohn Vederas, a University of Alberta professor in the department of chemistry, has been named to the Royal Society, the national academy of science of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth. The ceremony takes place the week of July 6 in London.

Included in the Royal Society's membership are Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin and Stephen Hawking. There are more than 60 Nobel laureates among the society's 1,400 members.

Vederas is being recognized for a body of research that centers on the identification of antibiotic peptides in bacteria. Antibiotic peptides play an important role in food preservation and may have potential for human use, such as combating hospital-acquired infections. Peptides are 1,000 to 1 million times more active than conventional antibiotics and are effective against infectious bacteria resistant to commonly used antibiotics. Currently, more than 50 per cent of hospital-acquired infections are resistant to common antibiotics. Veredas' work also centres around biosynthesis by fungi of important metabolites including cholesterol-lowering drugs such as statins.

"The appointment is a great honour and I was very surprised and pleased," said Vederas. "The Royal Society has many programs to advise and assist scientists and government policy makers, as well as promote understanding science by the general public. I certainly plan to participate in some of these activities as a new fellow of the Royal Society."

Vederas joined the University of Alberta in 1977. He obtained a bachelor of science degree from Stanford University and a PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Vederas has received several awards for research and teaching at the U of A. He has written more than 235 research publications and has created 13 patents.


Contact: Brian Murphy
University of Alberta

Page: 1

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