Yale’s Herzon wins inaugural award for chemistry research

Yale chemist Seth Herzon is the winner of the A.V. Rama Rao Award for his organic and bioorganic chemistry research.
Seth Herzon
Seth Herzon

Yale chemist Seth Herzon, whose research into the emergent properties of bioactive natural products has led to novel therapies for fighting brain cancer, mechanistic understanding of microbiome-driven cancers, and a deeper understanding of small molecule-nucleic acid interactions, is the inaugural winner of the A.V. Rama Rao Award, given by the Council of the Chemical Research Society of India (CRSI).

The award, which is given to an organic chemist who has made an original contribution and created a signature in the areas of organic/bioorganic chemistry, was announced on July 26. It comes with a $10,000 prize.

Herzon, the Milton Harris ’29 Ph.D. Professor of Chemistry in Yale’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences, is a member of the Yale Cancer Center and holds joint appointments in pharmacology and therapeutic radiology at Yale School of Medicine.

I was very happy to receive the Rama Rao award, which recognizes the contributions of my lab at Yale to the fields of organic and bioorganic chemistry,” Herzon said. “Our work in bioorganic chemistry is highly interdisciplinary and is enabled by collaborations with several other laboratories at Yale. Our successes are a testament to the collaborative spirit of our community.”

He will accept the award next year during a CRSI National Symposia in Chemistry in India, where he will also deliver a lecture.

The award is named after Dr. A.V. Rama Rao, former director of the Indian Institute of Chemical Technology Hyderabad, chairman of the A.V. Rama Rao Foundation and founder of the AVRA Group.

Herzon and Ranjit Bindra, the Harvey and Kate Cushing Professor of Therapeutic Radiology at Yale School of Medicine, are co-founders of the Yale start-up company Modifi Biosciences, which is working to develop novel therapies for the treatment of drug-resistant brain cancers.

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