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Richard named fellow of American Chemical Society

John Richard’s research focuses on how enzymes make slow reactions fast. Photo: Douglas Levere


Published July 24, 2014

John Richard, UB Distinguished Professor in the Department of Chemistry, has been named a 2014 fellow of the American Chemical Society (ACS).

The ACS will recognize Richard and 98 other scientists named fellows on Aug. 11 during at the society’s national meeting in San Francisco.

Fellow status in the ACS, one of the world’s largest scientific societies, is among the highest honors a chemist can achieve, as less than 1 percent of members are awarded the distinction. Recipients are selected for their outstanding contributions to chemistry and the society.

“The American Chemical Society plays an important role in explaining the importance of chemistry to the public and in advancing the careers of professional chemists,” says Richard. “I am happy that the society has recognized my contribution to their mission.”

A UB faculty member since 1993, Richard’s research focuses on how enzymes make slow reactions fast.  

He has studied a range of problems related to the mechanisms for organic reactions and for their catalysis by enzymes — proteins that enormously accelerate the rate of biological reactions, which are essential for sustaining life.

Richard has edited 15 books and authored more than 200 publications, with 84 appearing in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.  He has received numerous awards, including the 1988 First Award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) 2007 Special Creativity Award.

A frequent contributor to the ACS, Richard served six years as secretary of the society’s Division of Biological Chemistry. The ACS Western New York chapter presented him with the 2009 Jacob F. Schoellkopf Award for his service to the chemistry and chemical engineering fields. He also worked as editor and editorial board member for several scientific journals, and as a chair for numerous scientific conferences.

The NIH has continuously funded Richard’s work since 1988, and he has received additional funding from the NSF and the Petroleum Research Fund.

Richard received both his bachelor and doctoral degrees in chemistry from Ohio State University before completing postdoctoral work at Brandeis University.