John Porco Honored with 2009 Cope Scholar Award

Contact: Ronald Rosenberg, 617-358-1240 |

(Boston) – Boston University chemistry professor John A. Porco, Jr., whose research expertise is in the development of new synthetic methodologies for efficient chemical synthesis of complex molecules and the synthesis of complex chemical libraries, has received 2009 American Chemical Society Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award.

The award is given to recognize and encourage excellence in organic chemistry and is one of the most prestigious prizes in the field.

As Director of BU’s NIH-funded Chemical Methodology and Library Development Center (, Porco, along with colleagues and students, have focused on approaches to identify transformations leading to complex molecules including the use of combinatorial or parallel synthesis techniques to develop new methods to make highly diverse libraries of organic compounds. Synthetic organic chemistry has long been a critical tool in the drug discovery efforts of pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.

“Porco was cited for ‘methodology development and synthesis of a number of complex natural products, including torreyanic acid, hexacyclinol, lobatamide C, silvestrol, and kinamycin C.’”

“The creativity of John’s approach is exhibited in the design and execution of experiments that address important problems in contemporary synthetic chemistry,” noted John Straub, Chairman of the BU Chemistry Department. “His work has been widely supported by awards from Bristol Myers Squibb, the American Cancer Society and peer-reviewed grant proposals from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).”

The Cope Scholar award, from a list of nominees in the United States and abroad, is given to 10 chemists annually. Each receives a $5,000 cash prize, a certificate and an unrestricted $40,000 research grant. Porco is the second Cope Scholar from the Chemistry Department, joining James Panek, a 2002 award recipient.

“This year’s award to John Porco is only earned by individuals who have made a very significant contribution and impact to the field of organic chemistry,” said Panek. “If ever there was a case where an award was well deserved and long overdue, it was this one for John.”