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Princeton professor David MacMillan receives 2017 Kosolapoff Award

Published: 04/06/2017

By: Candis Birchfield

The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and the Auburn Section of the American Chemical Society named David W. C. MacMillan, professor of chemistry at Princeton University, the recipient of the 2017 Kosolapoff Award.

Named in honor of Professor G. M. Kosolapoff, an Auburn Chemistry professor renowned for his teaching, the Kosolapoff award lectures bring outstanding chemists to speak each year on topical areas in chemistry that would be of wide interest to the general public. Of the 30 award winners to date, 12 have been Nobel laureates.  

MacMillan is a Fellow of the Royal Society, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and he has received numerous awards for his work in organic chemistry. He is a co-founder and advisor of Chiromics, a drug-discovery group, and he is on the advisory board of Lexicon Pharmaceuticals, Materia, Inc., and Merck Research Laboratories. He is editor-in-chief of the global journal Chemical Science, and he serves on the editorial advisory board for several additional scientific publications. MacMillan is also a scientific consultant for Takeda Pharmaceuticals, Biogen, Gilead Pharmaceuticals, Amgen Pharmaceuticals, Merk Research Laboratory, Bayer Pharmaceuticals, Johnson & Johnson, and AbbVie.

MacMillan was born in Bellshill, Scotland, and received his undergraduate degree in chemistry at the University of Glasgow, where he worked with Dr. Ernie Colvin. In 1990, he began his doctoral studies under the direction of Professor Larry Overman at the University of California, Irvine, before undertaking a postdoctoral position with Professor Dave Evans at Harvard University. He began his independent career at University of California, Berkeley, in July 1998 before moving to Caltech in June 2000, where he was the Earle C. Anthony Chair of Organic Chemistry.

In 2006, MacMillan moved to the east coast to take up the position of James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor at Princeton University, and he served as Department Chair from 2010-15.

MacMillan’s lecture at Auburn University was titled, “Why is Catalysis of Value to Society?” A photo gallery of the event is available to view on the COSAM Facebook page.

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