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Sarpong wins young investigator awards from Amgen, Abbott

Richmond Sarpong

Richmond Sarpong (photo by Michael Barnes)

June 1, 2007 — by Michael Barnes, Principal Editor

Richmond Sarpong, assistant professor of chemistry, has won two prestigious awards. In March, Amgen selected him to receive the 2007 Amgen Young Investigator’s Award. In May, Abbott awarded Sarpong its Young Faculty Award.

Abbott’s James B. Summers states, “This award recognizes organic chemistry professors who have established a foundation of innovative research and commitment to scientific excellence.”

“Chemistry continues to be the enabling science in the field of drug discovery,” states Amgen’s Paul J. Reider in his letter to Sarpong, “and we recognize that the scientific contributions and commitment to academic excellence from young investigators, like you, greatly impact our industry.”

Sarpong is interested in the total synthesis of biologically active and architecturally complex natural products as a platform for the development of new synthetic methods and strategies. Through collaborations, the Sarpong group utilizes small molecules to address problems in biology and medicine.

Born in Ghana and raised in various African countries, Sarpong is especially interested in parasitic diseases such as malaria, Chagas disease and sleeping sickness, which are found predominantly in developing countries.

The two awards together provide $60,000 to support the group’s research. “I'm pleased and honored to be recognized by both Abbot and Amgen,” says Sarpong. “Their commitment to synthetic organic chemistry research and support of junior faculty is especially gratifying.”

According to department chair Michael Marletta, “Natural products chemistry and synthesis remains a vital part of chemistry and the department. I am very pleased that Richmond is with us and that Amgen and Abbott have recognized his initial efforts.”

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