Chemists Fourkas, Miller Win Early-Career Awards

By Michael Seele
Chronicle Editor

Two Boston College chemists have been recognized with prestigious awards for their past accomplishments and future potential in research and teaching.

Assistant professors of Chemistry John Fourkas and Scott Miller were awarded Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar and Cottrel Scholars awards, respectively. Each is awarded to outstanding scientists in the early years of their careers who have demonstrated accomplishment in research and teaching, and whose work shows promise for the future.

Fourkas' honor comes with a $60,000 award, which will be used to support his research into the dynamics of single molecules, work which could have implications in biochemistry. Nominated by the Chemistry Department, he is one of 20 chemists and chemical engineers to receive the award nationally this year.

Assistant Professors of Chemistry John Fourkas (left) and Scott Miller.
"This is one of the pinnacle awards you can win at this point in your career," said Fourkas. "It's an exciting affirmation that our research program is catching people's interest, and that our efforts in education are recognized as well."

Miller's Cottrel Scholars Award is one of just 18 awarded nationally to chemists, physicists and astronomers, the result of a proposal he authored. The $50,000 prize that comes with it is largely for use at the scholar's discretion. Miller said he will use the funding to further his lab's study of small molecules that mimic the activity of certain enzymes, research that could have implications for the manufacture of pharmaceuticals.

Miller said he also will use a portion of the award to increase the number of undergraduates now assisting him in the lab.

"This award is significant because it recognizes the importance of integrating research and the teaching enterprise," Miller said. "Teaching in the sciences these days is absolutely synonymous with having undergraduates integrated in research in the laboratory."

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