December 3, 2014

Chemistry department to present Hamilton Award Dec. 4

Laura Kiessling

Laura Kiessling

The Department of Chemistry will present its 33rd Hamilton Award on Dec. 4 to Laura Kiessling, a Steenbock Professor of Chemistry and Laurens Anderson Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Festivities begin at 2:45 p.m. with a reception in Hamilton Hall, room 548.

Kiessling, a former MacArthur Fellow and founding editor of the journal ACS Chemical Biology, will be recognized for her outstanding contributions to the field of organic chemistry. Her research interests include numerous issues surrounding carbohydrate coat assembly, recognition and functioning.

At 3:30 p.m., Kiessling will give a lecture titled “Us Versus Them: Distinguishing Humans from Microbes with Carbohydrates” in 110 Hamilton Hall. On Dec. 5, she will present “Chemical Probes of Mycobacterial Cell Wall Biosynthesis” at 3 p.m. in 112 Hamilton Hall.

The colloquia and reception are free, open to the public and require no registration.

“Laura Kiessling is an excellent scientist and a pioneer at the interface of organic chemistry and glycobiology,” said David Berkowitz, a Willa Cather Professor and chair of the UNL chemistry department. “She is also a real leader in the chemical biology community.”

Nine Nobel Prize winners have received the Hamilton Award, which represents the chemistry department’s highest honor and was first given in 1979.

Both the award and Hamilton Hall are named in honor of Cliff Hamilton Sr., a former department chair and dean of the graduate college who retired in 1957. Among his many accomplishments, Hamilton Sr. helped develop an anti-malaria drug that remains in clinical use to this day. His son and other relatives will represent the family at the Dec. 4 reception.

“Cliff S. Hamilton was a mighty leader at Nebraska, where he chaired the chemistry department for 16 years, and at the national level, where he led the organic division of the American Chemical Society and served on editorial boards of major journals. His work was also highly translational, leading to the development of two therapeutic drugs,” Berkowitz said. “We are honored to have Clif Hamilton Jr. and his wife Yvonne represent the family as we celebrate the house that Hamilton built.”