Yale chemist Seth Herzon has been named a 2012 Cottrell Scholar by the Research Corporation for Science Advancement.
The $75,000 award will help Herzon, assistant professor of chemistry, pursue a research project aimed at the syntheses of complex natural products and develop a new undergraduate teaching initiative.
Herzon’s primary research concerns the chemical synthesis of sometimes scarce natural products that perform important biological functions. His group recently developed a process to synthesize the neuroprotective agent huperzine A and is now working with a private partner to advance this material into clinical trials.
With the support of the Cottrell award, he’ll seek to complete the synthesis of an unusual natural product with powerful anticancer activities. The compound, lomaiviticin, is produced naturally by a rare marine bacterium, but little is known about the origins of its biological effects. Herzon also intends to improve Yale’s sophomore organic chemistry course by implementing a research-based approach to instruction and learning.
The Research Corporation for Science Advancement supports scientific innovation and research in U.S. colleges and universities. The Cottrell Scholar Awards, which honor researcher-teachers, are named in honor of Frederick Gardner Cottrell, inventor of the electrostatic precipitator, which helped reduce pollution from smokestacks.