Awards and Scholarships

2012 Herman Skolnik Award Presented

Skolnik 2012 The Division of Chemical Information’s 2012 Herman Skolnik Award Symposium honoring Dr. Peter Murray-Rust and Prof. Henry Rzepa took place on Tuesday, August 21, 2012 at the 244th American Chemical Society National Meeting in Philadelphia, PA. The symposium, organized by the awardees, featured a morning session titled “Molecular Science and the Semantic Web” and an afternoon session titled “Intelligent Machines and Chemical Data.”  Speakers covered a broad range of topics such as chemical blogging, Chemical Markup Language, InChI, open chemistry, and semantic tagging for chemical concepts. (More complete coverage of the symposium is provided by an article authored by Wendy A. Warr elsewhere in this issue). The Herman Skolnik Award recognizes outstanding contributions to and achievements in the theory and practice of chemical information science and related disciplines. The award presentation took place at the close of the day-long symposium. A reception honoring Peter and Henry took place in the evening at the Chemical Heritage Foundation. The reception was generously co-sponsored by Imperial College, Microsoft Research, Schrodinger, Unilever, and the Journal of Cheminformatics.

Andrea Twiss-Brooks, Chair, CINF Awards Committee

2012 Val Metanomski Meritorious Service Award Presented

Metanomski 2012

The Division of Chemical Information (CINF) presented the Val Metanomski Meritorious Service Award to Dr. Wendy A. Warr at the CINF Luncheon held on Tuesday, August 21, 2012 during the American Chemical Society National Meeting in Philadelphia, PA. The award is made to a member of CINF for outstanding contributions to the Division. Dr. Wendy Warr was recognized for sustained active contribution to major tasks over many years. The award consists of an engraved plaque, which was presented by CINF Chair, Dr. Rajarshi Guha.

Congratulations, Wendy!

Andrea Twiss-Brooks, Chair, CINF Awards Committee

2012 CINF Scholarship for Scientific Excellence Presented

The scholarship program of the Division of Chemical Information (CINF) of the American Chemical Society (ACS) funded by FIZ CHEMIE Berlin is designed to reward graduate and post-graduate students in chemical information and related sciences for scientific excellence and to foster their involvement in CINF.

Applicants presented their posters at the CINF Welcoming Reception and the Sci-Mix session of the 2012 Fall ACS National Meeting in Philadelphia. Three scholarships valued at $1,000 each were given out at the CINF Luncheon during the same meeting. The winners were presented with cash awards and plaques by Dr. Jost Bohlen, Head of Product Development & Internet, FIZ CHEMIE Berlin. CINF scholarships have been awarded consecutively for the last fourteen ACS National Meetings kindly sponsored by commercial organizations. 

The names of the recipients and the titles of their posters were:

Christin Schärfer, Center for Bioinformatics, University of Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany. “Torsion Fingerprint Deviation: A novel measure to compare small molecule conformations.” 

Co-authors: Tanja Schulz-Gasch, Matthias Rarey, Wolfgang Guba.

Barbara Zdrazil, Department of Medicinal Chemistry, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.  “Prioritization of docking poses in human serotonin and dopamine transporters by the use of Common Scaffold Clustering.

Co-authors: Amir Seddick, Rene Weissensteiner, Harald H. Sitte, Gerhard F. Ecker.

Rodolpho C. Braga, Federal University of Goiás, Goiânia, Brazil. “Integrated chemoinformatics approaches to virtual screening in the search of new lead compounds against Leishmania.

Co-authors: Luciano M. Liao, José C.B. Bezerra, Marina C.B. Vinaud, Carolina H. Andrade.

Guenter Grethe, CINF Scholarship for Scientific Excellence Coordinator

Scientific Excellence 2012

From left to right: Jost Bohlen, Rodolpho Braga, Christin Schärfer, Barbara Zdrazil

2013 Herman Skolnik Award Recipient Announced

Richard Cramer

Dr. Richard D. (Dick) Cramer will be the recipient of the 2013 Herman Skolnik Award presented by the ACS Division of Chemical Information. The award recognizes outstanding contributions to and achievements in the theory and practice of chemical information science and related disciplines. The prize consists of a $3,000 honorarium and a plaque. Dr. Cramer will also be invited to present an award symposium at the Fall 2013 ACS National Meeting.

Cramer is best known as the inventor of the technique of Comparative Molecular Field Analysis (CoMFA) and its introduction to the molecular and drug design fields (JACS 1998, 110, 5959-5967). The technique and its implementation was one of the first widely available and usable 3D QSAR software methods and was developed in collaboration with David Patterson and Jeffrey Bunce. The CoMFA process was one of the first patents in the cheminformatics and computational chemistry fields and has been used in the pharmaceutical industry as the standard method for small molecule bioactivity prediction for the last twenty-five years.

Early in his career in the research group of E.J. Corey, he was involved with the first artificial intelligence methods to predict chemical synthesis, coining the acronym ‘LHASA’ (Logic and Heuristics Applied to Synthetic Analysis) for the project, which is known today as one of the very first attempts at computer aided design in chemistry. While his entire later career has been in industry, Cramer has taken an academic approach to solving complex problems and this has resulted in a number of break-through developments that are synonymous with innovation in chemical information and QSAR. He has remained active in research and publishing at the forefront of his field. His work on ‘topomeric’ descriptors, (J. Med. Chem. 2003, 46, 374-388) which allows CoMFA without tedious alignment of ligands is proving a very successful tool in drug discovery allowing the design of more selective ligands (J. Med. Chem. 2011, 54, 3982-3986). Admired by his colleagues, Cramer is described as personable and open to discussing science with all and any interested parties, a “gentleman” scientist.

While Cramer is known to the chemical information world as a top rate scientist, he has made major contributions to another field entirely: baseball1. He became interested in applying computers to baseball statistics and developed a program to feed detailed baseball statistics into the commentator’s box. Cramer consulted with a number of major league teams, and is featured in the book Moneyball by Michael Lewis (recently made into a major motion picture).

Cramer received his AB degree in Chemistry and Physics from Harvard University in 1963 and his PhD in Physical Organic Chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1967. He worked for Polaroid Corporation (1967-1969) and then completed a two-year fellowship under direction of E.J. Corey. After more than a decade working with Smith Kline & French Laboratories, he moved to Tripos in 1983 as Vice President of New Products. Cramer currently serves as Senior Vice President, Science, and Chief Scientific Officer for Tripos, a Certara-Company.

Andrea Twiss-Brooks, Chair, CINF Awards Committee

[1] Murphy, John. “Still hitting home runs/ PROFILE: Richard Cramer”, Scientific Computing World: September / October 2003

Howard and Sally Peters Award for Non-Traditional Careers in Chemistry

The ACS Division of Chemistry and the Law (CHAL) has just established an award for Non-traditional Careers in Chemistry in honor of Howard and Sally Peters. This is the first award established by CHAL in more than twenty years. It was presented for the first time to both Howard and Sally for their significant contributions to non-traditional careers in chemistry at a dinner following the CHAL Executive Committee meeting held on Sunday, August 19, 2012 during the 244th American Chemical Society National Meeting in Philadelphia, PA. It was also announced at the CHAL reception held Monday, August 20, 2012 at the Chemical Heritage Foundation. 

The award presented to Howard and Sally was the first of many annual presentations to come.  Beginning in 2013, CHAL plans to recognize two ACS members each year. Recipients of the award will be those who have significantly contributed to or who have been significantly involved in non-traditional careers in chemistry. There will be an annual honorarium for the award and further details about the award will be featured in the coming months on CHAL's official website which can be found at

Howard was instrumental in establishing CHAL as a subdivision of the Division of Chemical Information (CINF) during the 1980’s. He and Sally combined have 50+ years of membership in CHAL, about 50 years on the ACS Council, and 80 years of ACS membership. Sally has also been a long-term member of CINF.

On behalf of all members of the Division of Chemical Information and those of us who have followed non-traditional career paths in chemistry, I offer sincere congratulations on a well-deserved honor!

Bonnie Lawlor, CINF Councilor

Sally and Howard Peters

Sally and Howard Peters provided an entertaining presentation with delightful treats “Chocolate, Food of the Gods” at the CINF Luncheon, 2011 Fall ACS National Meeting, Denver, CO