UB Professor to Receive 2009 Schoellkopf Award

Release Date: October 20, 2009

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John Richard, UB chemistry professor, was honored for his outstanding research in the fields of physical organic and bioorganic chemistry.

Buffalo, N.Y. – John P. Richard, PhD, University at Buffalo professor in the Department of Chemistry in the College of Arts and Sciences, has been chosen to receive the 2009 Jacob F. Schoellkopf Award.

The award, which honors an individual in the Niagara Frontier for outstanding work and service in the fields of chemistry or chemical engineering, is given each year by the Western New York section of the American Chemical Society. The local chapter has been presenting the medal annually since 1931, making it the oldest of its kind given continuously by the American Chemical Society. UB scientists also won the award in 1996, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2005 and 2007.

In selecting Richard, the jury cited Richard's "outstanding research in the field of physical organic and bioorganic chemistry; specifically, the study of reaction mechanisms of biologically significant enzymatic and non-enzymatic reactions."

A UB faculty member since 1993, Richard has for the last three decades, been interested in understanding how enzyme catalysts make slow reactions fast. He has studied a wide range of problems related to the mechanism for organic reactions in water, the lifetimes of carbocation and carbanion intermediates of these reactions and the mechanism for catalysis of biologically important reactions.

Richard's most recent work has provided important insight into the role of flexible loops in enzymatic catalysis; played a central role in defining the mechanism of action of orotidine 5'-monophosphate decarboxylase and contributed heavily to the understanding of the mechanism for catalysis of carbon deprotonation of the alpha-amino acids.

Richard's work has been funded continuously since 1988 by the National Institutes of Health; he has received additional funding from the National Science Foundation and the Petroleum Research Fund. He has edited 15 books and published more than 160 papers in the chemical and biochemical literature.

Richard served for six years as secretary of the American Chemical Society's Division of Biological Chemistry; he also has served as editor or editorial board member of several scientific journals. He was co-chair of the 2006 Gordon Research Conference on Enzymes, Coenzymes and Metabolic Pathways and will chair the 2010 Gordon Research Conference on Isotopes in the Biological and Chemical Sciences as well as the 2011 Winter Enzyme Mechanisms Conference.

He is an active participant in the UB 2020 strategic strength in molecular recognition in biological systems and bioinformatics.

He earned his undergraduate and doctoral degrees in chemistry from Ohio State University and did post-doctoral work at Brandeis University and the Fox Chase Cancer Center; he also was a Herchel Smith Fellow in Organic Chemistry at Cambridge University. He previously was a faculty member at the University of Kentucky.

Richard is married to Tina L. Amyes, UB adjunct associate professor in the Department of Chemistry. They live in Williamsville.

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, a flagship institution in the State University of New York system and its largest and most comprehensive campus. UB's more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of the Association of American Universities.

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