Donna Blackmond, professor and chair of the Department of Chemistry at Scripps Research.

Donna Blackmond, PhD, the John C. Martin Endowed Chair in Chemistry and chemistry Department Chair at Scripps Research, has been awarded the Van ’t Hoff Lectureship Award from the Koninklinjke Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen in the Netherlands. The award is named for Jacobus Henricus van ’t Hoff—the first Nobel laureate in Chemistry in 1901–and recognizes today’s leading scientists and their innovative chemistry research.

Blackmond received the award at the Van ’t Hoff Chirality Symposium in Amsterdam in June. Chirality is a property that describes objects—molecules or macroscopic objects—that are identical in chemical composition and properties but differ only in that they are non-superimposable mirror images of one another, as are your left and right hands. Van ’t Hoff was the first to propose this three-dimensional property of tetrahedral carbon. A trailblazer in this chemistry field herself, Blackmond presented her award-winning lecture at the symposium on the chemical and physical models for the origin of biological homochirality.

At Scripps Research, Blackmond’s discoveries in chemistry have impacted everything from our understanding of the origins of human life to improving drug discovery and development. This includes leading the development of Reaction Progress Kinetic Analysis (RPKA)–a methodology that enables rapid determination of concentration dependence of reactants, and one that many pharmaceutical companies use today.

Blackmond has received numerous awards and honors for her work, including the Max Planck Award for Outstanding Women Scientists, the IUPAC Award for Distinguished Women in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, election to the National Academy of Sciences in 2021, the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, the National Academy of Engineering in 2013 and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2016.