Public Release:  Medicine, energy topics of Kavli lectures at American Chemical Society meeting

American Chemical Society

One scientist is pioneering a new field in medicine -- curing diseases by replacing the missing proteins that cause certain disorders, almost like an artificial limb replaces the function of a leg or arm lost to injury. Another is an internationally known leader in science on the cusp of chemistry and biology who focuses on using artificial photosynthesis to make energy from sunlight and water.

They will deliver the next talks in the Kavli Foundation Lecture series at the 246th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), the world's largest scientific society. ACS announced today that Martin D. Burke, M.D., Ph.D., and Harry Gray, Ph.D., will deliver the lectures at the meeting. More than 10,000 scientists and others are expected for the event, which will include about 7,200 reports on new discoveries in science and other topics.

Burke is an associate professor of chemistry and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute early career scientist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He will deliver "The Kavli Foundation Emerging Leader in Chemistry Lecture" on Monday, Sept. 9, 2013, at 4 p.m., in the Indiana Convention Center.

He is a pioneer in the emerging field of "molecular prosthetics," which seeks to treat currently incurable medical conditions caused by missing proteins or proteins that don't work normally. The goal is development of medications that would travel to the site of the missing or malfunctioning protein, and do its work.

Gray is the Arnold O. Beckman Professor of Chemistry and founding director of the Beckman Institute at the California Institute of Technology. He will deliver "The Kavli Foundation Innovations in Chemistry Lecture" on Monday, Sept. 9, 2013, at 5:30 p.m., in the Indiana Convention Center.

He is making strides in developing more affordable catalysts that would replicate the natural process that plants use to make energy from sunlight and water. Gray pioneered a new field of science that combines chemistry and biology and includes such research. He has published more than 800 research papers and 18 books and received numerous awards.

The two lecture series are a result of collaboration between ACS and The Kavli Foundation, an internationally recognized philanthropic organization known for its support of basic scientific innovation.

"The Kavli Foundation Innovations in Chemistry Lecture" series debuted at the Anaheim meeting in March 2011 and will continue through 2013. They address the urgent need for vigorous, new, "outside-the-box" thinking, as scientists tackle many of the world's mounting challenges, like climate change, emerging diseases and water and energy shortages.

"The Kavli Foundation Emerging Leader in Chemistry Lecture" series recognizes the achievements of outstanding young chemical scientists. These presentations feature exceptional scientists younger than 40 years old and not more than 10 years removed from earning their Ph.D.s when nominated.

"The Foundation is delighted to partner on this series, which provides an important platform for vital young scientists whose research is pioneering their fields, often in ways in ways that are impacting the traditional boundaries of science," said Kavli Foundation President Robert W. Conn, Ph.D.

Marinda Li Wu, Ph.D., 2013 ACS president, praised The Kavli Foundation for its support of the lectures and leadership on a broad range of other activities in advancing science. "The Kavli Foundation and the American Chemical Society are excellent partners with remarkably similar missions," Wu said. "I am delighted that these two organizations can work together in their dedication to achieving these goals."

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The American Chemical Society is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. With more than 163,000 members, ACS is the world's largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

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