David A. Evans, the Abbott and James Lawrence Professor of Chemistry Emeritus, was awarded the 2012 Welch Award in Chemistry in recognition of his pioneering research into antibiotic therapies and the design and construction of complex molecules to fight disease, including cancer and AIDS. The award comes with a $300,000 prize. Evans is the seventh Harvard faculty member to receive the recognition.
In nearly three decades at Harvard, Evans and his laboratory have developed innovative new approaches to molecular design, creating new tools and techniques that have transformed the synthesis of complex organic structures. He was also responsible for replicating more than 50 bioactive molecules found in nature, enabling their therapeutic use in chemotherapies, antibiotics, and AIDS drugs.
“Dr. Evans has revolutionized the way scientists think about and carry out complex-molecule synthesis,” said Wilhelmina E. Robertson, chair of the Welch Foundation. “This has opened the door to produce large quantities of beneficial compounds found in nature to battle disease, as well as to ensure ever-more targeted delivery of chemotherapeutics.”