Cynthia J. Burrows Receives 2018 Willard Gibbs Medal and James Flack Norris Award

ACS Publications and the staff of Accounts of Chemical Research would like to congratulate the journal’s Editor-in-Chief, Professor Cynthia J. Burrows of the University of Utah, on winning two prestigious awards: the Willard Gibbs Medal and the James Flack Norris Award in Physical Organic Chemistry.

The Willard Gibbs Medal, one of the most prestigious honors in chemistry, “recognizes eminent chemists who have brought to the world developments that enable everyone to live more comfortably and to understand this world better.” A national jury of eminent chemists representing multiple disciplines selected Cindy for the award for her work and contributions to pure or applied chemistry. Burrows is the first University of Utah chemist to win this award since Henry Eyring in 1968.

The James Flack Norris Award, sponsored by the ACS Northeastern Section, is given for outstanding achievement in the teaching of chemistry and recognizes Burrows’ “wide-ranging effect on chemical education.” Specifically, the award honors her studies illuminating the mechanistic pathways of oxidation of guanine and its derivatives to further the collective understanding of DNA damage and repair.

When asked about the future of the field, Burrows said, “Physical organic chemistry in 2018 is not so much a focused discipline as it is a way of thinking about structure and mechanisms pertaining to carbon-containing molecules. In the 20th century, physical organic chemistry was about reactive intermediates-carbocations, carbenes, radicals. Now it spans materials, devices, catalysis, and biological mechanisms. I’m happy to be a part of this field, grounded in fundamental studies but with ultimately very broad implications.”

Burrows is the Thatcher Presidential Endowed Chair of Biological Chemistry at the University of Utah, where her research includes both organic and biological chemistry, with a focus on chemical modifications of DNA and RNA bases. Her past honors include the ACS Cope Scholar Award.

To learn more about Cynthia J. Burrows and her work with Accounts of Chemical Research, read her editor profile.

Get stories like this one in your inbox every month. Sign up for a custom newsletter from ACS Axial.

If you have comments or questions for the author of this post, please e-mail: Axial@acs.org.