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Symposium honors professor of chemistry Stephen Lippard
MIT NEWS OFFICE, Symposium honors professor of chemistry Stephen Lippard, May 04, 2015

In April each year, the newest class of Franklin Institute laureates participates in a week of celebratory events, including symposia, lectures, and hands-on demonstrations. The week culminates with the Franklin Institute Awards Ceremony and Dinner, at which gold medals are bestowed upon the laureates.

On April 23, a symposium titled "Metals for Life" honored Stephen J. Lippard, the Arthur Amos Noyes Professor of Chemistry at MIT, who is the 2015 recipient of the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Chemistry. The event, sponsored by the Franklin Institute and the University of Delaware, was held at the University of Delaware. Lippard was cited for his pioneering research on the role of metal atoms in biology and medicine, including the study of platinum anticancer drugs and of the structure and function of an enzyme that allows microbes to live on natural gas.

“As a founder of bioinorganic chemistry, Stephen Lippard has unveiled a number of critical roles that metals play in living organisms,” says Klaus Theopold, professor of chemistry and biochemistry at the University of Delaware. “His work has had a significant impact on human health and is advancing potential new energy solutions. He is always breaking new ground.” Theopold is a member of the Franklin Institute’s Committee on Science and the Arts, the group of scientists who pick the recipients of the Benjamin Franklin Medals in various disciplines. Each laureate has a “sponsor” who prepares and presents the laureate’s case for the committee’s consideration; Theopold was Lippard’s sponsor. 

Theopold says that one of the benefits of presenting a laureate’s case is organizing a symposium held at the sponsor’s home institution. Lippard's talk at the symposium was titled: “Understanding and Improving Platinum Anticancer Drugs.” Professors Amy C. Rosenzweig and Thomas V. O’Halloran of Northwestern University and Richard Wooster of Blend Therapeutics also spoke.

The awards ceremony and black-tie dinner were held at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia on the evening of April 23.