Top honour for ANU researcher

14 August 2018

A researcher from the Australian National University has been recognized for his outstanding contributions to chemical research.

Professor Martin Banwell from the Research School of Chemistry at ANU has been named the recipient of the Ryoji Noyori Award, the highest accolade conferred by the Asian Chemical Editorial Society (ACES).

Professor Banwell's research is focused on the synthesis of a wide range of organic compounds that are potentially useful for medical treatments - including producing anti-malarial agents from waste paper.

"I see this award as a tribute to the outstanding efforts of the many talented co-workers I have had the absolute pleasure and privilege of being associated with over many decades. This award really belongs to all of them," Professor Banwell said.

Selection committee member Professor Kazyuki Tatsumi from Nagoya University in Japan acknowledged the challenging nature of the Banwell Group's work.

"It requires a full knowledge of organic reactions, development of new synthetic methods, and perseverance to complete the lengthy multistep processes," Professor Tatsumi said.

"Professor Banwell has overcome these difficulties and accomplished the synthesis of key organic natural products, including the alkaloids (-)-colchicine and pancratistatin and heterocyclic marine alkaloids discoipyrroles A-D."

Such compounds have potential applications in developing treatments for cancer and viral infections as well as neurodegenerative and inflammatory diseases.

ACES is an organization of 13 major chemical societies in the Asia-Pacific region, representing over 120,000 members.

They established the biennial Ryoji Noyori ACES Award in 2017 to honor the instrumental role of Nobel Laureate Ryoji Noyori in nurturing the collaborative spirit of ACES, and as the founding Chairman of Chemistry - An Asian Journal.