Chemistry International
Vol. 21, No.2, March 1999

1999, Vol. 21
No. 2 (March)
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Chemistry International
Vol. 21, No. 2

March 1999

Prizes and Awards

King Faisal International Prize

The 1999 winners of the annual King Faisal International Prize (KFIP) for Science (Chemistry) and Medicine (Allergic Diseases) have been announced in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Professors Ryoji Noyori (Chemistry Department, Nagoya University, Nagoya, Japan) and Dieter Seebach (Laboratory of Organic Chemistry, Federal Polytechnic School ETH, Zurich, Switzerland) have been honored for their outstanding work in developing new methods for the preparation of organic chiral molecules and for the achievement of selective and efficient chemical synthesis. Their contributions enable the manufacture of new compounds with enormous benefits for mankind, ranging from agriculture to medicine. Professor Noyori's work has numerous applications ranging from the formation of many natural products, such as vitamins, nucleic acids, prostaglandins, and alkaloids, to industrial processes. Professor Seebach's work involves the development of new synthetic methods and the use of a wide range of procedures to investigate new organic compounds.

Professors Patrick G. Holt (Senior Principal Research Fellow, National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia, Perth, Australia) and Stephen T. Holgate (Medical Research Council Clinical Professor of Immunopharmacology, University of Southampton, UK) have been honored for their work on respiratory allergies. Professor Holt's pioneering studies on the respiratory immune responses to inhaled allergens have major implications on understanding asthma. His experimental and clinical studies on atopic sensitization and immune modulation very early in life have potential applications in the prevention of allergies in infants. This experimental work could well pave the way for the development of vaccines for the prevention of asthma. Professor Holgate's research has focused on asthma as an inflammatory disease and demonstrated the role of chemical signals from mast cells which play a key role in allergies and the role of specific immune cells in prolonging the inflammatory response. His research on asthma has also included the role of viral infections, fibrosis, and genetic predisposition to allergic diseases.

The KFIP Science and Medicine awards were introduced in 1982 and 1983, respectively, and three KFIP laureates have gone on to win Nobel Prizes. Nominations for each KFIP are accepted from relevant institutions and organizations from around the world, and independent experts examine the work of nominated candidates during two elimination rounds. Finalists are judged by autonomous specialist selection committees in Riyadh. Each award includes a gold medal and a cash endowment of SR 750,000 (USD 200,000).

Nominations for the year 2000 KFIP in Science (Biology) and Medicine (Aging) are due by May 31, 1999. Further information on nomination procedures can be obtained from the General Secretariat, King Faisal International Prize, P.O. Box 22476, Riyadh 11495, Saudi Arabia, Tel: +966-1-465-9030; Fax: +966-1-465-6524; E-mail:, Web site:


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