Scripps Research professor of Chemistry Chi-Huey Wong, PhD, has been named winner of the 2023 Award for Excellence in Medicinal Chemistry in Memory of Barry Cohen. The award is presented by the Medicinal Chemistry Section of the Israel Chemical Society (MCS-ICS). Wong is being honored for his pioneering work in glycoscience, the study of chains of sugars and their role in health and disease.
This international prize, which is awarded annually by the MCS-ICS, became possible thanks to an endowment fund donated by Teva Pharmaceutical Industries in memory of Abraham (Barry) Cohen, a longstanding member of Teva’s board of directors. Wong will receive his award at a prize ceremony during the MCS-ICS meeting in July 2023, at the Weizmann Institute.
Wong is the Scripps Family Chair Professor of Chemistry at Scripps Research and holds a joint appointment as Distinguished Professor at Genomics Research Center, Academia Sinica. His lab is focused on developing tools that illuminate the role of sugar modifications (known as glycosylation) in cells. Specifically, his discoveries and technologies he developed are revealing how these complex sugars impact everything from cancer progression to bacterial and viral infections to neurodegenerative disorders. The overarching goal of Wong’s research is to translate these scientific insights into therapeutics, such as universal vaccines, antibodies and inhibitors involved in key glycosylation pathways.
Wong’s extensive list of awards and honors include the Tetrahedron Prize for Creativity in Organic Synthesis, the American Institute of Chemists Chemical Pioneer Award, the Robert A. Welch Award in Chemistry, the Royal Society of Chemistry Robert Robinson Award, and the Wolf Prize in Chemistry. He is also an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and Academia Sinica.
Wong received his PhD in organic chemistry from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and his MS and BS in biochemical sciences from National Taiwan University.