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Queen Mary academic awarded Royal Society of Chemistry prize

Professor Ray Bonnett, Emeritus Professor of Organic Chemistry at Queen Mary, University of London, will receive the 2012 George and Christine Sosnovsky Award from the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC).

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Professor Ray Bonnett
Professor Ray Bonnett

The former Head of Queen Mary’s Chemistry Department (1982 – 1987) has been recognised for his contribution to the discovery of new compounds called photosensitisers, which can be absorbed by cancer cells and used to help treat cancers, especially of the head and neck.

The biennial award is open to researchers of all nationalities, at any stage of their career. It recognises outstanding work and landmark achievements in the prevention, control and cure of cancer through medicinal and biological chemistry.

Winners are chosen by the RSC’s Chemistry Biology Interface Division and receive a £2,000 prize, a medal and a certificate, to be presented at a symposium arranged around one of four lectures associated with the award.

After a period in the RAF, Ray Bonnett graduated with a BSc from Imperial College before going on to complete a PhD on the chemistry of Vitamin B12 at the University of Cambridge. He later joined a team working on the synthesis of chlorophyll at Harvard. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, a former Chairman of the Tetrapyrrole Discussion Group, and acted as Coordinator of an HCM network (PDT Euronet) made up of 17 European laboratories.

Research interests include the chemistry and biochemistry of tetrapyrroles, that is compounds of the haem, chorophyll and vitamin B12 families, and related compounds. In recent years he has been especially interested in the use of light in medicine, especially in the use of photosensitisers, an area of study called photodynamic therapy (PDT). He has written a textbook on this subject (Chemical Aspects of Photodynamic Therapy, 2000)

The Royal Society of Chemistry recognises and promotes achievements in chemistry by offering lectureships, medals and awards to chemical scientists who have made significant contributions to their field of research or teaching.

The George and Christine Sosnovsky Award was established in 1999 through a generous endowment from Professor George Sosnovsky, Emeritus Professor of Organic Chemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and chemist and physicist Dr Christine Sosnovsky of Milwaukee, USA.

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