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Feb. 28: Multidisciplinary Chemist Jean M.J. Fréchet To Receive Carnegie Mellon's Dickson Prize


Jocelyn Duffy                       

Multidisciplinary Chemist Jean M.J. Fréchet
To Receive Carnegie Mellon's Dickson Prize

Fréchet Will Give Annual Dickson Prize Lecture, March 19

PITTSBURGH — Carnegie Mellon University will award the 2007 Dickson Prize in Science to Jean M.J. Fréchet, a polymer chemist best known for his contributions in a wide range of fields including modern electronics and biotechnology. Fréchet will receive the award, which includes a medal and a cash prize, before giving the annual Dickson Prize Lecture at 4:30 p.m., Wednesday, March 19 in the Mellon Institute Auditorium, 4400 Fifth Avenue. His lecture, which is free and open to the public, is titled "Polymer Science: From Plastic Electronics to Therapeutics."

FrechetFréchet's research focuses on organic synthesis and polymer chemistry as applied to nanoscience and nanotechnology, specifically the design, fundamental understanding, synthesis and application of functional macromolecules.

"Fréchet has made an enormous impact on organic chemistry, polymer chemistry, microelectronics and biomedical engineering," said Krzysztof Matyjaszewski, the J.C. Warner University Professor of Natural Sciences in the Mellon College of Science's Department of Chemistry, who nominated Fréchet for the award. "Very rarely has one individual influenced so many areas of science and engineering."

In his early work, Fréchet developed chemical amplification in high resolution imaging systems, which enabled the production of modern photoresists and integrated circuits - key components in the development of the modern computer and other electronics. His later work focused on creating a new method to synthesize branched molecules called dendrimers. This method allowed the molecules to be applied to a number of therapeutic applications, including targeted drug delivery.

Today, Fréchet continues to explore the application of polymer chemistry to both electronics and biotechnology, conducting research into the use of photovoltaics to efficiently harvest solar energy and the use of endosomal nanoparticles to deliver gene therapy.

Fréchet holds the Henry Rapoport Chair of Organic Chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley, where he is a professor of chemical engineering. He also is the director of the Organic and Macromolecular Facility for the Molecular Foundry at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. A member of the National Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Engineering, Fréchet holds more than 70 U.S. patents and has co-authored about 750 scientific papers.

The late Pittsburgh physician Joseph Z. Dickson and his wife, Agnes Fisher Dickson, established the Dickson Prize in Science in 1969. Carnegie Mellon awards it annually to individuals in the United States who make outstanding contributions to science.

For more information about the lecture, visit the Dickson Prize Web site at