Honors and Awards

Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award

Adapted from UBNow article written by Laura Hernandez

The American Chemical Society named Prof. Sherry R. Chemler as a recipient of the 2017 Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award, which recognizes excellence in organic chemistry.

Sherry Chemler.

Chemler joined the UB faculty in 2002 after serving as a postdoctoral fellow at Sloan-Kettering Institute for Cancer Research. Her research has primarily focused on the development of new chemical reactions for the synthesis of chiral nitrogen and oxygen heterocycles — valuable organic compounds that enable drug discovery.

Her research team, known as the Chemler Research Group, focuses on developing and discovering new reactions for organic synthesis with the use of transition metal catalysis. The team also studies the effects of small organic molecules in a biological setting.

In the lab, students apply readily available chiral copper complexes to serve as Earth-abundant catalysts in a range of remarkable transformations that involve regio and stereocontrolled addition of

readily available amines and alcohols to alkenes — a series of unsaturated hydrocarbons containing a double bond.

These reactions involve reactive yet wellbehaved organic radical intermediates that can participate in powerful C-H bond functionalization, among other couplings. The novelty of the copper-catalyzed alkene additions is very high.

The Chemler group discovered this unanticipated reactivity and has spent the past decade expanding the scope of the transformations, as well as studying the reaction mechanism in great detail. Chemler praises the students and collaborators she has worked with at UB to develop this research program.

“It is very gratifying for our scientific contributions to be recognized by the American Chemical Society through this Cope Scholar Award,” she says. “I think this really helps underscore the broader impact and significance of our research efforts.”

John Richard Named SUNY Distinguished Professor

By Sue Wuetcher

John Richard.

Prof. John Richard, was appointed SUNY Distinguished Professor in 2019. He has studied a range of problems related to the mechanisms for organic reactions and for their catalysis by enzymes — proteins that sustain life by enormously accelerating the rate of chemical reactions in the cell. He is currently working to unite seemingly disparate theories on how enzymes achieve their rate accelerations.

A member of the UB faculty since 1993, Richard has edited 15 books and authored more than 225 publications, with 95 appearing in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, the society’s flagship publication.

He has served as editor and editorial board member for several scientific journals, and as a chair for numerous scientific conferences. He has presented more than 225 talks and invited lectures at universities, and at national and international conferences in more than 20 countries. These talks served as the springboard for many collaborative studies.

Richard has NIH and the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) 2007 Special Creativity Award. He was elected a fellow of the American Chemical Society (ACS) in 2014 in recognition of his long service to the society, which included a six-year stint as secretary of its Division of Biological Chemistry. The ACS Western New York chapter presented him the 2009 Jacob F. Schoellkopf Award for his service to the chemistry and chemical engineering fields.

The NIH has funded Richard’s work since 1988, and he has received additional funding from the NSF and the Petroleum Research Fund.

John D & Frances H. Larkin Foundation Professors

Jochen Autschbach.
Janet Morrow.

Prof. Jochen Autschbach and Prof. Janet Morrow were each appointed John D & Frances H Larkin Foundation professors in July 2018. This honor, established in 1930, provides support for professors who rank high in the science of Chemistry and who have established reputations as teachers. Prof. Autschbach was selected on the basis of his prolific research program in computational chemistry, his extraordinary record of publications, and his contributions to teaching, mentoring, and curricular development in our physical chemistry courses. Prof. Morrow was selected in recognition of the sustained excellence of her research program in bioinorganic chemistry, her service to the discipline, and her wide-ranging impact in teaching and mentoring at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Troy Wood.

Professor Troy Wood

Every year, graduating seniors from the College of Arts and Sciences are invited to nominate a faculty speaker for each of the two undergraduate commencement ceremonies to share some parting thoughts with their class. In 2018 Prof. Troy Wood received this honor.


Professor Paras Prasad

Prof. Paras Prasad received the 2018 Peter Debye Award in Physical Chemistry from the American Chemical Society!

This national ACS award recognizes outstanding research accomplishments in theoretical and experimental physical chemistry. Paras joined an exceptional list of recipients.