Congratulations to Chuan He for winning the Tetrahedron Prize for Creativity in Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry!

August 29, 2023

Chuan He
Photo by Jason Smith

Elsevier and the Board of Executive Editors of Elsevier’s Tetrahedron journal series are pleased to announce that the 2023 Tetrahedron Prize for Creativity in Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry has been awarded to Professor Chuan He, Department of Chemistry, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Chicago.

“I still cannot believe I have been awarded the Tetrahedron Prize,” says He. “I was trained as a synthetic chemist, and one of my first synthetic works was published in Tetrahedron back in 2000 with my PhD advisor Professor Stephen J. Lippard. I want to thank the committee for giving me this incredible honor. I am so humbled when looking through the list of past winners—many are my scientific heroes. I am the one receiving the award, but my past and present coworkers did all the work. I want to thank them and my collaborators for everything they have done and for their inspiration.”

About Chuan He

Chuan He is the John T. Wilson Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Chemistry, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Chicago. He was born in P. R. China in 1972 and received his BS (1994) from the University of Science and Technology of China. He received his PhD from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in chemistry in 2000 with Professor Stephen J. Lippard. After being trained as a Damon-Runyon postdoctoral fellow with Professor Gregory L. Verdine at Harvard University from 2000–2002, he joined the University of Chicago as an assistant professor and was promoted to associate professor in 2008 and full professor in 2010. He was selected as an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in 2013.

His research spans a broad range of chemical biology, nucleic acid chemistry and biology, epigenetics, biochemistry, molecular biology, and genomics. His recent research concerns reversible RNA and DNA methylation in biological regulation. Chuan He’s laboratory discovered reversible RNA methylation as a new mechanism of gene expression regulation in 2011. His work led to the elucidation and understanding of how RNA methylation regulates gene expression at the post-transcriptional level as well as at the transcriptional level. He’s group also spearheaded the development of enabling technologies to study the biology of 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5hmC) in mammalian genomes. He is a winner of the 2017 Paul Marks Prize for Cancer Research, 2019 ACS Chemical Biology Lectureship, and 2023 Wolf Prize in Chemistry.

About the Tetrahedron Prize for Creativity

The Tetrahedron Prize for Creativity in Organic Chemistry was established in 1980 by the Executive Board of Editors and the Publisher of Tetrahedron Publications. It is intended to honor the memory of the founding co-Chairmen of these publications, Professor Sir Robert Robinson and Professor Robert Burns Woodward.

The Tetrahedron Prize is awarded on an annual basis for creativity in Organic Chemistry or Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry. The prize consists of a gold medal, a certificate, and a monetary award of US $15,000. It is awarded to a chemist who has made significant original contributions to the field, in its broadest sense.

Award Presentation

The Tetrahedron Prize will be presented during the 2024 Fall National Meeting of the American Chemical Society, in Denver (August 18­–22).

Adapted from a story that originally appeared on the ScienceDirect Tetrahedron website.

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