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UAlberta synthetic chemist Frederick West recognized with 2020 Bernard Belleau Award.

Andrew Lyle - 14 February 2020

Professor Frederick West in the Department of Chemistry has been awarded the 2020 Bernard Belleau Award by the Canadian Society for Chemistry, recognizing his research program’s contributions to medicinal chemistry and improving human health.

“I am very happy to receive this recognition, and I feel a great sense of pride on behalf of all of the graduate students and postdoctoral fellows that I have worked with,” said West, vice dean of the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Science. “I also want to thank my many excellent collaborators both on campus and beyond, as well as thanking my colleague Dennis Hall, whose handling of award nominations has brought many, many major recognitions to our department and our faculty.”

The annual award is presented to a Canadian scientist who has made a distinguished contribution to the field of medicinal chemistry through research involving biochemical or organic chemical mechanisms—something core to West’s research. “The common thread throughout my research program is chemical synthesis—the construction of new chemical entities through a carefully planned, multistep route,” said West, whose lab is focused on discovering and understanding entirely new types of chemical reactivity.

“The focus of some of our projects is the design and synthesis of organic molecules to bind to targets involved in important biological processes.” explained West. “This work is driven by questions in biology or medicine that can only be answered with unique compounds.”

Some of the applications of these molecules include cancer imaging and potential use as antiviral drugs, explains West, who is also a co-director of the Cancer Research Institute of Northern Alberta.“We are especially interested in using chemistry to develop ways to treat cancer, and some of the molecules we set out to make may help other drugs or our body’s own immune system fight cancer—or they may help prevent terrible side-effects of cancer treatment.”

Congratulations Frederick!

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