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St. John's Professor Named an American Chemical Society Fellow

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Vijaya L. Korlipara, Ph.D., Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Director of the Institute for Biotechnology at St. John’s University, has been named a Fellow of the American Chemical Society (ACS), in recognition of “outstanding achievements in and contributions to Science, the Profession and the Society.”

Dr. Korlipara is one of 96 researchers the ACS selected as fellows nationwide from a wide range of disciplines in academia, government and industry. They were honored at the society’s fall national meeting in Philadelphia on August 20. With more than 164,000 members, ACS is the world’s largest organization representing professionals in all fields of chemistry.

The society “is especially proud to honor these chemists, who have given so much to the community and the profession,” said Nancy B. Jackson, Ph.D., immediate past president of ACS. “They are leaders whose work is having a lasting beneficial impact, not just on science but also on the ACS community.”

“We are all proud of this well-deserved honor that Dr. Korlipara has received — and of her outstanding work as a scholar, researcher and teacher,” said Robert Mangione, Ed.D., Interim Provost and former Dean of the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences at St. John’s. “This recognition reflects the consistently high quality of her contributions to medicinal chemistry and is characteristic of the great dedication of our exemplary students and faculty in the varied disciplines of the University.”

“It is a tremendous honor to be recognized by my peers in ACS,” said Dr. Korlipara. “I am humbled to be named alongside illustrious chemists from such a wide variety of colleges, universities, industries and agencies — all of whom I greatly admire.”

Dr. Korlipara, who teaches medicinal chemistry in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, joined the faculty of St. John’s College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences in 1992. An active member of ACS, she has received the New York Section’s Outstanding Service (2008) and Salute to Excellence (2007) awards. St. John’s presented her with its Faculty Outstanding Achievement Medal in 2006. She was named Director of the University’s Institute for Biotechnology in January, 2011.

The author of numerous scholarly articles, Dr. Korlipara conducts laboratory research that has been supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the University itself. Her work uncovers the ways that certain molecules bind to receptor sites on target proteins, and she uses this knowledge to develop “pharmacological tools” to aid in therapeutics discovery.

“In this way,” Dr. Korlipara explained, “new categories of drugs can be developed. Drug discovery is a very elaborate process. You need to produce thousands of molecules before one becomes a drug.”

This research, Dr. Korlipara added, benefits from the creativity and support she finds within the faculty and administration at St. John’s. “It’s one of the reasons I originally came to St. John’s,” she said. “You know that foundational work of this kind — by professors and students, along with involvement in professional organizations — is valued at the University.”