Prestigious international award for three UC Davis scientists


Three UC Davis scientists, including Distinguished Professor Bruce Hammock, are part of the Who's Who “click-chemistry team” that won the Royal Society of Chemistry's Horizon Team Award for advancing chemistry and “pushing the boundaries of science.”

UC Davis Distinguished Professor Bruce Hammock (left) and researcher Christophe Morisseau in the Hammock lab. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
UC Davis Distinguished Professor Bruce Hammock (left) and researcher Christophe Morisseau in the Hammock lab. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

In announcing the Horizon Team Award on June 8, the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) applauded the 47 worldwide collaborators “for the development of multidimensional click chemistry, a next-generation click-technology that extends perfect bond creation into the three-dimensional world, opening doors to new frontiers in biomedicine, materials science, and beyond.”

K. Barry Sharpless of the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, who won the 2001 Nobel Prize for Sharpless expoxidation, led the team. “His magic is like the click-chemistry he invented,” said Hammock, who holds a joint appointment with the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology and the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The award-winning team includes researcher Christophe Morisseau of the Hammock lab and Seiya Kitamura, who completed his doctorate in the UC Davis Pharmacology/Toxicology Graduate Group working with Hammock and Morisseau before starting a postdoctoral position at the Scripps Research Institute.

“Barry is probably best known for his development of click-chemistry, now used in many fields of biology, engineering and medicine,” Hammock related. “Click chemistry joins two molecules in such a simple and transparent way that people do not even realize they are using what a chemist would call cycloaddition. Barry's chemistry not only joins molecules, it joins diverse disciplines like engineering and medicine. The special magic of Barry Sharpless is he also joins people across disciplines and continents.”

Morisseau described click chemistry as “such a ubiquitous tool in multiple aspects of science that kits are sold and the chemistry utilized without even recognizing where it comes from. Many of the beautiful and informative fluorescent pictures of cells on journal covers are based on click chemistry.”

“Click chemistry has had a profound impact on drug discovery,” the team wrote in the award packet. “It is now the 'go-to' technology in every corner of molecular science.”

The list of the team members reads like a Who's Who of modern organic chemistry at multiple stages of their careers, Hammock noted. They will receive a trophy and each member will receive a certificate.

The RSC Horizon Prizes “highlight the most exciting, contemporary chemical science at the cutting edge of research and innovation,” according to its website. “These prizes are for teams or collaborations who are opening up new directions and possibilities in their field, through ground-breaking scientific developments."

The original story, written by Kathy Keatley Garvey, was posted on Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California blog.

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