Larry Overman First UCI Scientist to Receive Top Prize for Organic Chemists
Larry Overman, a UC Irvine Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, has been awarded the Arthur C. Cope Award by the American Chemical Society.
The Cope Award, one of the most significant honors in chemistry, recognizes outstanding achievement in the field of organic chemistry. Past recipients include Nobel Prize winners and some of the leading scientists of the past 50 years. The honor consists of a gold medallion, a certificate, a cash award of $25,000 and an unrestricted grant-in-aid of $150,000 in support of research efforts. Overman, the first UCI researcher to receive the award, will be presented the medal in September 2003 at the 226th ACS National Meeting in New York.
"Larry Overman exemplifies the best in a research university," said Ronald Stern, dean of the School of Physical Sciences. "This prestigious award recognizes an extraordinary scientist who has mentored hundreds of undergraduate students, Ph.D. students, post-doctoral scholars and researchers from around the globe."
Overman is among the most honored organic chemists in the United States. A member of the National Academy of Sciences, he has won more than 25 distinguished awards and fellowships, including selection as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.
Overman joined the UCI faculty in 1971 and has since blazed a research trail that has been influential in building one of the nation's best graduate programs in organic chemistry. He served as the chair of the Department of Chemistry from 1990 to 1993 and in 1994 was named a Distinguished Professor, UCI's highest academic title.
"I am honored to receive this prestigious award recognizing the impact of our UCI research," Overman said. "An award of this type recognizes the accomplishments of many -- foremost the talented undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral researchers who have trained in my laboratory."
In his research, Overman works at one of the most fundamental levels of chemistry, creating molecules -- both those that have never before existed and ones identical to those found in nature. He and his team search for ways to build complex compounds from inexpensive precursors, particularly for molecules that show promise as medicines. They also construct complex molecules that serve as focal points for developing new chemical tools -- in Overman's case, the chemical reactions that convert one molecule to another. Overman holds five patents for his discoveries.
Overman also is editor-in-chief of the book series "Organic Reactions" and has served as a consultant to five pharmaceutical companies. The Corona del Mar resident received his bachelor's in chemistry from Earlham College in Indiana and his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.