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07/07/1998 07:00:00

Richard Roberts Awarded Beckman Young Investigator Award

PASADENA— Dr. Richard Roberts, an assistant professor of chemistry at the California Institute of Technology, has been named a Beckman Young Investigator by the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation of Irvine, California.

Roberts will receive $200,000 over the next two years for his work on the generation of molecules that can act as therapies against diseases, improving a technique he developed to design and isolate peptides and proteins, the signaling molecules that are involved in all biological processes.

Dr. Steven E. Koonin, vice president and provost at Caltech, said in endorsing the nomination of Dr. Roberts that his research "takes a physical chemist's approach to the problems of molecular biology, an interdisciplinary approach to problem solving that will serve him well at Caltech."

In 1997 Roberts came to Caltech from Harvard. From 1993 to 1997 he was a postdoctoral fellow in the department of genetics at the Harvard Medical School and in the department of molecular biology at Massachusetts General Hospital. He received his BS in chemistry from the University of Kansas in 1987 and his PhD in chemistry from Yale University in 1993.

The Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation, located in Irvine, California, makes grants to nonprofit research institutions to promote research in chemistry and the life sciences. Also, the grants are intended to foster the invention of methods, instruments, and materials that will open up new avenues of research in science.

The Beckman Young Investigators program is intended to provide research support to the most promising young faculty members in the early stages of academic careers in the chemical and life sciences.

Founded in 1891, Caltech has an enrollment of some 2,000 students, and a faculty of about 280 professorial members and 284 research members. The Institute has more than 19,000 alumni. Caltech employs a staff of more than 1,700 on campus and 5,300 at JPL.

Over the years, 26 Nobel Prizes and four Crafoord Prizes have been awarded to faculty members and alumni. Forty-three 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 75 fellows of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; and on the faculty and Board of Trustees, 68 members of the National Academy of Sciences and 46 members of the National Academy of Engineering.

Written by Sue McHugh