A Kansas University distinguished professor of pharmaceutical chemistry is the recipient of the Distinguished Pharmaceutical Scientist award given by the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists.
Val Stella becomes the second member of the KU faculty to receive the award, joining fellow distinguished professor Ron Borchardt, who received the honor in 1997.
The award is given only once every two years, and only when a qualified candidate is identified. Stella said he was honored to receive the award.
“The biggest honor, of course, comes from recognition by your peers,” Stella said.
Stella is named as the inventor or co-inventor on 34 patents that have led to treatments for epilepsy, cancer and AIDS.
“Seldom in the modern history of pharmaceutical sciences has the field had a scientist like Professor Stella, who has demonstrated the ability to so frequently translate his basic research findings into commercial products that are used to treat human diseases,” Borchardt said in a prepared statement. “In my opinion, the only other pharmaceutical scientist during my professional life who has demonstrated this very unique skill was Professor Stella’s teacher and mentor, the late Professor Takeru Higuchi.”
He will receive the award at the AAPS annual meeting Oct. 23 in Washington, D.C., and will deliver a lecture at the meeting a day later.
Stella recalled seeing a quotation from novelist Zora Neale Hurston that made him reflect on his career recently.
“Research is formalized curiosity. It’s poking and prying with a purpose,” he said, recalling the quote from Hurston. “That’s what I’ve done for 40 years.”