College of Chemistry, Berkeley

ChemiCAL Science and Engineering

Chemistry and chemical engineering professor Jean Fréchet has won the Esselen Award.

Fréchet wins Esselen Award

Jean M. J. Fréchet, Rapoport Chair of Organic Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley, and Head of Materials Synthesis at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has been named the recipient of the 19th Gustavus John Esselen Award. The Award will be presented to Dr. Fréchet by the Northeastern Section of the American Chemical Society on April 14, 2005 in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Dr Fréchet’s research at the interface of organic, biological and materials chemistry is directed towards functional polymers, their design, synthesis, and applications. His work includes both fundamental and mission-oriented studies with targets such as the control of macromolecular architecture, the establishment of structure-activity relationships, the design of macromolecules for catalysis, energy harvesting and conversion, therapeutic applications, separation and microfluidic media, and nanolithography.

At the University of Ottawa in 1973 he started a research program aimed at the development of functional polymers as reagents and supports for solid-phase syntheses. These synthetic approaches became widely used nearly two decades later with the advent of combinatorial chemistry. The concept of chemical amplification used today for the microlithographic fabrication of nearly all state-of-the-art microelectronic devices emerged from his 1979 work in collaboration with C. G. Willson of the IBM Research Laboratory on functional polymers as photoresists. His approach to precise biocompatible dendritic carriers for the targeted delivery of anticancer drugs has been licensed and is under consideration for commercial development.

Among the honors and awards Dr. Fréchet has received are honorary doctorates from the University of Ottawa and from the University of Lyon I, the Kosar Memorial Award from the Society of Imaging Science and Technology, and the IUPAC Canadian National Committee Award. Within the American Chemical Society he has received the 2001 Salute to Excellence Award, a Cope Scholar Award, the ACS Award in Polymer Chemistry, the ACS Award in Applied Polymer Science, the Cooperative Research Award in Polymer Science, and the Doolittle Award in Polymer Materials Science & Engineering. Professor Fréchet has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering as well as elected fellow of the AAAS, the PMSE Division of the ACS, and the American Academy of Art and Sciences. Dr Fréchet is the author of more than 650 papers.

Presented annually since 1987 by the Northeastern Section of the American Chemical Society, the Gustavus John Esselen Award for Chemistry in the Public Interest honors outstanding scientific achievement in scientific and technical work which contributes to the public well-being and has thereby communicated positive values of the chemical profession. The award has been presented to such publicly renowned chemists as F. Sherwood Rowland and Mario J. Molina (effect of chlorofluorocarbons on the ozone layer), Carl Djerassi (birth-control drugs), Kary Mullis (polymerase chain reaction) and Ronald Breslow (biomimetic chemistry). The Esselen Award is given to honor the memory of G. J. Esselen, past chair of the Northeastern Section and founder of Esselen Research Corporation.

In recognition of his contributions, Dr. Jean Fréchet will receive the Gustavus John Esselen Award for Chemistry in the Public Interest on Thursday, April 14, 2005, in a ceremony at Harvard University's Mallinckrodt Chemistry Laboratories at 8pm. Free and open to the public, Dr. Fréchet's award lecture, to follow the presentation, is entitled “Functional Macromolecules: From Design and Synthesis to Applications.”

Further information concerning the award can be found at the Northeastern Section’s website,

Related sites:

Jean Frechet website