NSF gives Ecker $12.5 million

  • Joseph Ecker, Ph.D., known for his research mapping the genome of the plant Arabidopsis thaliana long supported by the National Science Foundation, is part of a consortium that will receive $13 million in grant money from a combination NSF/DOE/USDA grant, to continue the research expected to result in the first complete genome sequence of a plant. The NSF portion of the grant, nearly $12.5 million, is one of its biggest for the year.
       What scientists learn from the study of Arabidopsis, a small plant in the mustard family, is expected to affect many aspects of our lives, from energy production to environmental remediation to plastics production.

Cope Award to Hirschmann

  • Ralph Hirschmann, the Makineni Professor of Bioorganic Chemistry, has received the Arthur C. Cope Award from the American Chemical Society, for his work on the synthesis of molecules with specific biological and medicinal functions. The award, which recognizes outstanding achievement in organic chemistry, includes a gold medal, a bronze replica of the medal, and $25,000 plus unrestricted grant-in-aid of $150,000.

Other chemists honored

  • Alan MacDiarmid, the Blanchard Professor of Chemistry, has received the American Chemical Society Award in the Chemistry of Materials for his discovery of conducting polymers. The award includes a cash prize of $5,000.

  • David Christianson, Ph.D., has been selected to receive the Pfizer Award in Enzyme Chemistry for 1999. The $3,000 award in fundamental chemistry, presented by the American Chemical Society's Division of Biological Chemistry, honors Christianson's work in using X-ray crystallography to determine the 3-D structures of enzymes that require metal ions.

Top prof in Pa.

  • Alan Filreis, professor of English, director of the Writing Program and faculty director of the Kelly Writers House, has been named the 1998-99 Pennsylvania Professor of the Year by The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. The award recognizes Filreis' extraordinary dedication to teaching, commitment to students and innovative teaching methods.

Mental health honor

  • Dwight L. Evans, M.D., has been awarded the annual Klerman Lifetime Research Award by the National Depressive and Manic-Depressive Association. Evans, chairman of psychiatry at the Health System, got the award for his lifetime contributions to research on depression, including the integration of biological and psychosocial factors associated with the onset and course of physical and mental illnesses.

Health hero

  • President Judith Rodin has won a Health Hero Award from American Health for Women magazine for her work on body image and eating disorders. She is among 10 women - including Rosie O'Donnell, Jane Fonda, Rosalynn Carter and Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md. - recognized for raising awareness of women's health issues. The 10, who are profiled in the October issue, are winners of the magazine's second annual Women's Health Hero awards.


  • Joe Durrance, assistant producer for the "World Café," was honored with the prestigious 1998 Regional Edward R. Murrow Award from the Radio and Television News Directors Association for his self-produced and hosted "Public Access" feature on the Philadelphia Rowing Program for the Disabled. This award seconds the 4th Annual Philadelphia AIR Award for Best Documentary, which Durrance received for the same feature.

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    Originally published on October 15, 1998