Todd Lowary is one of the 2020 recipients of the Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award—an award that recognizes and encourages excellence in organic chemistry. Image provided.
A University of Alberta chemist’s contributions to cutting-edge organic chemistry are being recognized by the American Chemical Society (ACS), as Todd Lowary, professor in the Department of Chemistry, receives an Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award—the first to be awarded to a UAlberta researcher.
The ACS is the world’s largest scientific society, and the 10 Arthur C. Cope Scholar Awards given out each year serve to recognize excellence in organic chemistry.
“My team develops approaches to make carbohydrate molecules that are found in nature—using chemistry to put them together, and then studying how they interact with biological systems,” said Lowary, who is also scientific director of GlycoNet, a pan-Canadian research network specializing in carbohydrates. “Our research has applications in helping us better understand the role of carbohydrates in disease and infection, and enabling new diagnostic tools.”
One such breakthrough Lowary’s lab has been involved in is a urine test able to detect tuberculosis in HIV-positive people. Tuberculosis kills millions around the world every year and is the leading cause of death for people living with HIV. Diagnostic tests like this are just one application of the research in which Lowary’s team is involved.
Lowary credits a supportive collegial environment as a contributing factor to collective success.
“There are a lot of great chemists here at the University of Alberta,” said Lowary. “While I may have been nominated for the award, it really recognizes the hard work of all the students and postdoctoral researchers in our team. It’s an honour to be recognized by the international scientific community for the work we’re doing.”
One of Canada's most research-active, the Department of Chemistry is ranked second in the country with award-winning professors recognized for both teaching and research. Many of the 37 research-active faculty members are Canadian Society for Chemistry winners, and Lowary joins three that have received awards from the American Chemical Society.