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Chemistry prof receives Polanyi Prize


Chemistry professor Derek Pratt is one of five Ontario researchers to receive the prestigious John Charles Polanyi Prize for 2007.

Valued at $20,000, the prize is targeted at researchers in the early stages of their careers who are planning to continue post-doctoral studies at an Ontario university.

“These outstanding researchers stretch our understanding and make a real difference in our lives,” said Premier Dalton McGuinty in announcing the award. “Ontario has long been home to some of the world’s foremost thinkers and innovators. Supporting their work and celebrating their success helps foster even greater opportunities and will keep Ontario moving forward.”

Canada Research Chair in Bioorganic and Physical Organic Chemistry, Dr. Pratt focuses on understanding the chemistry of “free radicals” in the human body and in industrial materials. Radical reactions are often related to degenerative diseases, such as cancer or cardiovascular diseases, and to the breakdown of motor oils, rubbers, foodstuffs and polymer materials. An understanding of how these reactions can be controlled or prevented will have broad implications for medicine and also for the energy, materials and agriculture sectors.

Initiated in 1987 in honour of Nobel Prize recipient and U of T professor John Polanyi., the awards are given annually in the fields of chemistry, literature, physics, physiology and medicine or economics. Recipients are chosen by a panel of experts under the Ontario Council of Graduate Studies.

Other 2007 recipients are: Quincy Almeida, of Wilfrid Laurier University (physiology and medicine); Sarah Phillips Casteel, of Carleton University (literature); Darren Gobert, of York University (literature); Naomi Matsuura, of the University of Toronto (physiology/medicine and physics).


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