Professor Mark W. Grinstaff has won the inaugural Innovator of the Year Award from BU’s Office of Technology Development, recognizing a faculty member who translates research into innovations that benefit humankind. The Innovator of the Year Award seeks to highlight translational research at BU by recognizing an entrepreneurial faculty member and the potential for commercialization and/or wider adoption of their inventions. It also encourages faculty to become entrepreneurial while promoting role models who can inspire graduate students to pursue entrepreneurial careers.
Professor Grinstaff, who has joint appointments in Chemistry and Biomedical Engineering, co-founded three companies now commercializing his research ideas: Hyperbranch Medical Technology, Flex Biomedical, and recent start-up Acuity Bio that is commercializing a new drug delivery device for the prevention of tumor recurrence after surgical resection – a significant unmet clinical need. His current work includes research into new macromolecule and amphiphile syntheses, self-assembly chemistry, tissue engineering, and drug delivery. As he presented the award, President Bob Brown said that “Professor Grinstaff is an entrepreneurial scientist, whose practical approach to science has led to the formation of three companies producing beneficial products … His accomplishments in the past year include 15 peer-reviewed papers published, two invention disclosures, a patent filing, and more than $1 million invested in Flex Biomedical.”
Professor Grinstaff received a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois and was an NIH postdoctoral fellow at the California Institute of Technology. His honors include the ACS Nobel Laureate Signature Award, NSF Career Award, Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship, Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences, Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar, and the Edward M. Kennedy Award for Health Care Innovation.
The Ignition Award Program provides funds to evolve BU research to the stage where it can be licensed, form the basis of a new company, or be used to create a new, non-profit social enterprise. In June 2010, two Chemistry faculty, John Porco and John Snyder, received these highly competitive awards for their respective commercially promising projects.
Professor Porco’s research is the “Development of Novel Protein Synthesis Inhibitors as Chemotherapeutic Agents.” The work will involve synthesis of novel silvestrol (rocaglate) derivatives and their evaluation as protein translation inhibitors in the Pelletier laboratory at McGill University. Promising derivatives will be tested in the National Cancer Institute’s 60 cancer cell line panel and then advanced to animal models for B-cell leukemias and other cancers that are highly susceptible to translational control.
Professor Snyder’s research focuses on the “Development of New Anti-Tuberculosis Agents.” Three synthetic compounds from the Center for Chemical Methodology and Library Development (CMLD-BU) were determined to be “hits” against Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the tuberculosis-inducing microorganism. The preliminary biological activity data against M. tuberculosis, coupled with the unique structures of the lead compounds have justified advancing these compounds toward commercialization through the biological assays needed to establish the scope of activity and bioavailability.
Boston University has again recognized Chemistry’s distinction in teaching and advising by conferring a 2010 Metcalf Award for Excellence in Teaching on Professor John Caradonna and the 2009/2010 Templeton Prize for Excellence in Student Advising on Dr. Binyomin Abrams.
Student’s have found John Caradonna’s teaching to be the most remarkable and enriching academic experience of their undergraduate careers. In “exit interviews” with graduating seniors, Professor Caradonna was consistently recognized as one of the most respected and valued faculty members in the Department of Chemistry.
When asked to recall their very best experiences as chemistry majors, many students named their time in his CH232 Inorganic Chemistry course as a truly inspiring educational experience. His contributions to Chemistry’s educational mission also include great teaching in first-year Chemistry courses and in graduate program, his work as a mentor to undergraduate and graduate research students, his strong voice for excellence and rigor in our academic programs, and his leadership as Director of Undergraduate Studies. John Caradonna is the fifth Chemistry faculty member to receive a Metcalf Award.
Previous recipients have included
To learn more about Professor Caradonna and his philosophy of teaching, please go to the article about him in BU Today.
Professor John A. Porco, Jr. has received the distinguished 2003 Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) Award in Synthetic Organic Chemistry. The grant provides a total of $300,000 of unrestricted research support over a three-year period and is one of only two given by BMS worldwide each year to support the academic research community.
The award acknowledges the outstanding record of achievement of Professor Porco and his research team in the field of synthetic organic chemistry. Synthetic organic chemistry has long been a critical tool in the drug discovery efforts of pharmaceutical companies and biotechnology firms. Research in the Porco laboratory focuses on the development of new synthetic methodology for the efficient chemical synthesis of complex molecules and the utilization of parallel (or combinatorial) synthesis techniques towards the synthesis of complex chemical libraries.
Recent total synthesis accomplishments include the synthesis of the salicylate enamide natural products lobatamide C and oximidine II, and the epoxyquinoid natural products torreyanic acid, epoxyquinol A, and panepophenanthrin. The Porco team recently employed parallel synthesis approaches to prepare complex spiroketal libraries and highly functional angular structures from epoxyquinol dienes. Professor Porco is the Director of the new Center for Chemical Methodology and Library Development at Boston University (CMLD-BU).
Professor Straub received the award in recognition of his dedication to improving academic programs in Chemistry and in the Core Curriculum. Teaching both undergraduate and advanced courses, his classes have always received the highest ratings from students who write comments such as:
“[Professor Staub] was passionate and funny, but most importantly he cared about us. I learned more in one of his lectures [in CH 101] than I did all last semester.”
An associate chairman of the Department of Chemistry, Professor Straub leads the Graduate Affairs Committee. He is also an internationally recognized researcher in the fields of theoretical and computational chemistry and biophysics. In addition to his work with undergraduates, Professor Straub is devoted to advancing the research and careers of his graduate students, many of whom have moved into prestigious positions in both academic and non-academic institutions.