Donna Blackmond, professor and Chair of the Department of chemistry at Scripps Research.

The American Chemical Society (ACS) has given its 2023 James Flack Norris Award in Physical Organic Chemistry to Donna Blackmond, PhD. The award, which will be presented to Blackmond at the ACS Spring 2023 National Meeting, recognizes her outstanding contributions to physical organic chemistry.

At Scripps Research, Blackmond is a professor and chair of the Department of Chemistry, and holder of the John C. Martin Chair. Among her many accomplishments, she pioneered the development of Reaction Progress Kinetic Analysis (RPKA), a method for streamlining chemical reactions that is becoming an industry-wide standard for pharmaceutical research and development. Additionally, her groundbreaking work on the molecular geometry that exists in the building blocks of the natural world—a property known as “chirality”—has implications ranging from designing effective therapeutics to understanding the origins of life on earth.

Blackmond has received many prestigious awards and honors for her scientific achievements. She is an elected member of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering, as well as Germany’s National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina. She has received the Chemical Pioneer Award from the American Institute of Chemists, the Physical Organic Chemistry Award from the Royal Society of Chemistry and the IUPAC Award for Distinguished Women in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, among other honors. She is also a Simons Investigator with the Simons Collaboration on the Origins of Life. An advocate for women pursuing scientific careers, Blackmond recently seeded the “Encouraging Women in Science Fund” at Scripps Research, which helps cover the travel expenses associated with attending scientific conferences.

Blackmond earned her doctoral degree in chemical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. She joined the faculty at Scripps Research in 2010.