posted September 23, 2008

Moses Lee Honored for Fostering Undergraduate Research

 Dr. Moses Lee, who is dean for the natural and applied sciences and a professor of chemistry at Hope College, is receiving a national award for his role as a mentor to undergraduate students involved in his research program.

He is receiving the 2009 "American Chemical Society (ACS) Award for Research at an Undergraduate Institution," which honors a chemistry faculty member whose research in an undergraduate setting has achieved wide recognition and contributed significantly to chemistry and to the professional development of undergraduate students.  The award consists of $5,000 and a certificate as well as a $5,000 grant by Research Corporation, the award's sponsor, to Hope in support of Lee's research.

ACS is presenting awards in more than 50 categories to scientists around the world who are engaged in education and industry.  The recipients will be honored during a ceremony that will take place on Tuesday, March 24, in conjunction with the 237th ACS national meeting, being held in Salt Lake City, Utah.

As dean for the natural and applied sciences at Hope, Lee leads a program which emphasizes involving undergraduate students in faculty-directed research projects.  The ACS award, however, recognizes his work as a mentor in involving students in his cancer-research program specifically.

Hope's provost, Dr. James Boelkins, called the honor well-deserved. "Moses Lee is a prime example of what it means to be successful in research at an undergraduate institution," Boelkins said.  "He is a tireless advocate for the benefits of undergraduate research as a key to learning science by doing science. Both at FurmanUniversity and now at Hope, Dr. Lee has maintained a strong research program focused on cutting-edge problems and his research efforts have been continually funded by external grants. He has mentored 10 to 15 students in his lab each year and has published the results of his research in major journals, most of the papers including student co-authors.  Dr. Lee is a most deserving recipient of this distinguished award from the American Chemical Society and we are proud of his accomplishment."

Lee's research focuses on the genetic functioning of compounds that inhibit and destroy cancer cells as well as the development of anti-cancer drugs based on such compounds.  His research program includes multiple Hope students who work part-time in his laboratory during the school year, and students from Hope and other colleges and universities who conduct research with him full-time for 10 weeks each summer.  The team also includes two full-time, post-doctoral research associates, Dr. Sameer Chavda and Dr. Hilary Mackay.

Lee joined the Hope faculty as dean and professor of chemistry in 2005.  He was previously the Rose J. Forgione Professor of Chemistry at FurmanUniversity in Greenville, S.C.

External recognition of his teaching and scholarship has included both a Camille and Henry Dreyfus Scholar-Fellow Award and a Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award.  Funding for his research program has come from federal agencies including the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH); private foundations including Research Corporation, Petroleum Research Fund, Dreyfus Foundation, Beckman Foundation and the Council on Undergraduate Research; and corporations including Glaxosmithkline, Pfizer, Milliken, Spirogen Ltd., Taiho Pharmaceutical Co. and Enzacta.  Recent major funding has included a three year, $399,000 research award from the NSF that he received this summer.

Lee has published more than 140 scientific papers and two books, and received four patents, in various fields including anticancer drug design, biochemistry, molecular pharmacology of anticancer and anti-infective drugs, as well as chemical education. His research group has given more than a hundred presentations at regional and national professional meetings, and he has been invited to speak at universities, symposia and professional workshops more than 50 times. He has supervised 10 post-doctoral research fellows, 32 M.S. students and 225 undergraduates, and has also co-supervised five Ph.D. students.

He served on the advisory committee of Research Corporation from 1996 to 2000 and as an expert consultant at the NSF-Chemistry Division from 2002 to 2003, and he has just completed a six-year term as a member on the advisory board of ACS Petroleum Research Fund.  Lee currently serves on a panel at the Murdock Charitable Trust, and he represents Research Corporation on the advisory team for the Chemistry Department of Western Washington University and James Madison University. He has also served on a number of NSF proposal review panels and was a member of the NSF-REU (Research Experiences for Undergraduates) leadership group, which is charged to improve the quality and culture of undergraduate research in the United States. Lee serves as a consultant for Milliken Chemical Company (South Carolina), Taiho Pharmaceutical Company (Japan), and Spirogen Ltd. (UK).

After receiving his B.S. in biochemistry in 1983 and a Ph.D. in organic synthesis in 1986 from the University of Guelph, Canada, Lee spent a year as a postdoctoral fellow in Professor J. W. Lown's laboratory at the University of Alberta, where he began his studies on small molecule-DNA interactions. From there, he moved to SynPhar Laboratories, Inc. (a subsidiary of Taiho Pharmaceutical Company of Japan), where he worked as a medicinal chemist on projects aimed at developing anti-HIV, anti-cancer, and anti-ulcer compounds before joining the Furman faculty in 1989.

The American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society, is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences.  The society's membership includes more than 160,000 professionals in the chemical sciences worldwide.  Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

In addition to being honored during the national meeting in March, the recipients were listed in the Monday, Sept. 8, edition of "Chemical and Engineering News," and will be featured more extensively in the magazine early in 2009.