Newswise — La Jolla, CA – January 24, 2014 – Chi-Huey Wong, professor of chemistry at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI), has won the 2014 Wolf Prize in Chemistry for his pioneering contributions to the synthesis of compounds vitally important to biology and medicine.
Sometimes cited as the most prestigious award after the Nobel Prize, the Wolf Prize is presented to living scientists and artists for “achievements in the interest of mankind and friendly relations among peoples” by the Israel-based Wolf Foundation, established in 1976 by the late German-born inventor, diplomat and philanthropist Ricardo Wolf.
“This very special honor for Chi-Huey is richly deserved,” said Scripps Research President and CEO Michael A. Marletta. “His fundamental chemistry has had a significant impact on medicine and biology and I am delighted this recognition has come to him and even more delighted that he has remained a Scripps colleague.”
The announcement of Wong’s award cited his development of methods to synthesize complex carbohydrates, glycoproteins and related substances that had been impossible or unfeasible to be synthesized by other methods. His work is used by carbohydrate chemistry and biology researchers to halt progression of cancer and viral infections, and increase immunological functions in the body. The research has led to the development of vaccines, therapeutics and glycan microarrays for analysis of protein-carbohydrate interaction.
Wong, who also serves as president of Academia Sinica in Taiwan, was presented a certificate and a $100,000 award with other Wolf Prize honorees from Israeli President Shimon Peres and Education Minister Shai Piron in a special ceremony this month at the Knesset (Israel’s Parliament).
Wong is the fourth TSRI scientist to receive the Wolf Prize in Chemistry. Previous institute winners include K. Barry Sharpless, Nobel laureate and W.M. Keck Professor of Chemistry; Richard A. Lerner, Lita Annenberg Hazen Professor of Immunochemistry and Institute Professor; and Peter Schultz, the Scripps Family Chair Professor.
About The Scripps Research Institute
The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) is one of the world's largest independent, not-for-profit organizations focusing on research in the biomedical sciences. TSRI is internationally recognized for its contributions to science and health, including its role in laying the foundation for new treatments for cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, hemophilia, and other diseases. An institution that evolved from the Scripps Metabolic Clinic founded by philanthropist Ellen Browning Scripps in 1924, the institute now employs about 3,000 people on its campuses in La Jolla, CA, and Jupiter, FL, where its renowned scientists—including three Nobel laureates—work toward their next discoveries. The institute's graduate program, which awards PhD degrees in biology and chemistry, ranks among the top ten of its kind in the nation. For more information, see www.scripps.edu.