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05/08/2003 07:00:00

Johnson & Johnson Awards $180,000 Grant for Antileukemic Drug Research

PASADENA, Calif. — What do leukemia, the evergreen plum-yew tree in southeast Asia, and California Institute of Technology faculty member Brian Stoltz have in common?

Stoltz, an assistant professor of chemistry, is utilizing the yew to create antileukemic drugs.

To assist him in this effort, health-care product manufacturer Johnson & Johnson has awarded Stoltz a $180,000 grant over three years as part of its Focused Giving Program.

Stoltz's research in natural product synthesis and synthetic methodology has focused on developing highly selective methods for oxidizing organic compounds using a small amount of a precious metal called palladium in conjunction with oxygen.

"This grant will enable us to further develop this chemistry and to apply this technology to the laboratory synthesis of meaningful quantities of important antileukemic agents isolated in trace quantities from the yew tree as well as completely novel synthetic agents," said Stoltz.

Focused Giving Grants are awarded to academic investigators doing basic research to advance science and technology in medical fields. This competitive program opens doors to new scientific developments, as well as promotes mutually beneficial relationships between scientists working for the Johnson & Johnson family of companies and those who carry out their work at universities or research centers.

David MacMillan, a professor of chemistry at Caltech, was a previous recipient of the grant.

Founded in 1891, Caltech is a private university with an enrollment of some 2,000 students, and a faculty of about 280 professorial members, 65 research members, and some 560 postdoctoral scholars. The Institute has more than 20,000 alumni. Caltech employs a staff of more than 2,400 on campus and 4,800 at JPL.

Over the years, 30 Nobel Prizes and four Crafoord Prizes have been awarded to faculty members and alumni. Forty-seven Caltech faculty members and alumni have received the National Medal of Science; and eight alumni (two of whom are also trustees), two additional trustees, and one faculty member have won the National Medal of Technology. Since 1958, 13 faculty members have received the annual California Scientist of the Year award. On the Caltech faculty there are 80 fellows of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; and on the faculty and Board of Trustees, 70 members of the National Academy of Sciences and 45 members of the National Academy of Engineering.

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