Archive for Monday, September 18, 1995


September 18, 1995


A Nobel Prize-winning researcher will speak in October at Kansas University as part of the 1995 Takeru Higuchi Memorial Lectures.

Gertrude Belle Elion, scientist emeritus at Burroughs Wellcome Co., will present two public lectures at KU.

The first will be at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 12 in Alderson Auditorium of the Kansas Union. Elion will speak on "Challenges and Rewards of Pharmaceutical Research."

She also will give a scientific lecture on "The Mechanisms of Selectivity of Antiviral Agents" at 9:30 a.m. Oct. 13 in Room 1005, Haworth Hall.

Elion, 77, is credited with the synthesis and co-development of two of the first successful drugs for the treatment of leukemia, as well as azathioprine, an agent to prevent the rejection of kidney transplants. She also played a major role in the development of allopurinol for the treatment of gout and of acyclovir, the first selective antiviral agent against herpesvirus infections.

As a result of her innovative research, Elion has won several honors and awards, including the 1988 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine.

"She is a really interesting woman in that she actually doesn't have her Ph.D. and developed a lot of her science at the bench," said Valentino Stella, director of the Center for Drug Delivery Research at KU.

The Higuchi series is named for Takeru Higuchi, a distinguished professor of pharmacy and chemistry who died in 1987. Higuchi was long described as "The Father of Physical Pharmacy."

Funding for Elion's visit to KU comes from the department of pharmaceutical chemistry in the School of Pharmacy; the department of chemistry; Higuchi Bioscience Centers; the Higuchi family; and Teikoku Seiyaku Co. Ltd., a Japanese firm.

"She is a very good speaker," Stella said. ``She is truly a great role model for all scientists, especially for women scientists."

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