Congratulations to Kansas University distinguished professor Val Stella for receiving the Takeru Higuchi Research Prize, the highest international award given in the pharmaceutical sciences.
This is a tremendously prestigious award, and it is being given to a tremendously talented individual. The overly modest native of Australia acknowledged the award was nice, but that “at the end of the day, it’s not the awards that are important in a career.”
Those take a back seat, he said, to moments such as when a Lawrence surgeon recently told him that they had saved a life that day. A patient had gone into seizures on the operating table, the doctor told Stella, but the doctor saved the patient’s live by administering a drug developed in Stella’s laboratory in the late 1970s.
“Getting an award is relatively unimportant,” Stella said. What’s important is that we’re helping people live longer lives.”
Stella completed his doctorate at KU in 1971 in analytical pharmaceutical chemistry and pharmaceutics. His adviser and mentor was Takeru Higuchi, who was recognized worldwide as the “father of physical pharmacy.” Stella became a full professor at KU in 1981 and was named a distinguished professor in 1990.
He and his KU associates have compiled an exceptional record in research, and their work is one of the true centers of excellence at the university.
In addition to his writing, his research, his work in developing new drugs, his entrepreneurship and many other ventures, he also is involved in non-university activities in the community. He and his wife agreed to chair the United Way of Douglas County’s 2011 campaign, and he is sure to devote his intense attention to making the drive a major success, even in the current challenging economic conditions.
Stella reflects great credit on the university, and this most recent recognition of his excellence is sure to attract the attention of highly talented pharmaceutical chemistry students from around the world who would like to attend KU and study under the supervision of Stella and his world-class associates in the KU School of Pharmacy. He also serves as an inspiration to talented young high school and college students who are quick to say they look to him as a model for what they hope to achieve in using education and research to help others.
Again, congratulations and thanks to Val Stella.