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Roche Symposium Showcases Accomplishments of Next Generation of Chemists

- Outstanding Graduate Students and Professors Honored for Their Research -

PALO ALTO, Calif., May 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Roche has honored 12 outstanding Ph.D. students and two professors with the company's Excellence in Chemistry Award for research accomplishments in the field of organic chemistry. The winners participated in Roche's annual Chemistry Symposium where they gained a real-world perspective on the important role of organic chemistry in pharmaceutical discovery. This year's fifth annual symposium was held in Palo Alto on May 12 and 13. The event rotates annually between Roche research centers in Nutley, New Jersey, and Palo Alto, California.

"The Chemistry Symposium is a bridge between cutting-edge researchers in academia and at Roche and is intended to honor the accomplishments of the awardees and to demonstrate the importance of chemistry in creating new medicines," said Eric Sjogren, Ph.D., vice president, Roche Medicinal Chemistry. "We hope that this next generation of chemists leaves with a deeper understanding of the vital role organic chemistry plays in the pharmaceutical industry."

During the symposium, students discussed their research projects and were given overviews of the drug discovery process by Roche scientists. In addition, there were plenary lectures by this year's faculty award winners: Professor Jeffrey W. Bode of the University of Pennsylvania and Professor Dirk Trauner of the University of California, Berkeley. The awardees also heard case histories in medicinal and process chemistry and were given a tour of the Roche Palo Alto site.

Representing a range of prestigious institutions, the 12 winners this year were: Melissa Beenen (University of California, Berkeley), Landy K. Blasdel (Harvard University), Mark S. Chen (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), John A. Enquist, Jr. (California Institute of Technology), Kami L. Hull (University of Michigan), Thomas J. Maimone (The Scripps Research Institute), Meredeth A. McGowan (Harvard University), Joshua G. Pierce (University of Pittsburgh), Nathan D. Shapiro (University of California, Berkeley), Eduardas Skucas (University of Texas at Austin), Vladimir Sofiyev (University of California, Berkeley), and Nicole White (University of California, Irvine).

The students were chosen by Roche chemists in Palo Alto and Nutley through a rigorous selection process. More than 45 faculty members at prominent U.S. universities were invited to nominate students to participate in the symposium. Professors were asked to consider students who might be interested in the pharmaceutical industry and who are one to two years from completing their Ph.D. The submissions required a supporting letter from the nominee, the student's resume and a short research summary. Besides the opportunity to attend and present their research projects at the Chemistry Symposium, the students each received a crystal award and an honorarium. Professors Bode and Trauner each received an unrestricted grant to support their ongoing research in addition to the honorarium.

About Roche

Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Roche is one of the world's leading research-focused healthcare groups in the fields of pharmaceuticals and diagnostics. As a supplier of innovative products and services for the early detection, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease, the Group contributes on a broad range of fronts to improving people's health and quality of life. Roche is a world leader in diagnostics, the leading supplier of medicines for cancer and transplantation and a market leader in virology. Located in Palo Alto, Calif., Roche Palo Alto LLC is one of the company's six pharmaceutical research centers. Here scientists focus on the discovery and early clinical development of innovative new medicines to treat inflammatory, respiratory and viral diseases. For more information on Roche, access or

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