Professor Ghosh selected as 2015 recipient of Purdue's Herbert Newby McCoy Award

September 22, 2015  

Arun Ghosh

Arun K. Ghosh, the Ian P. Rothwell Distinguished Professor in the departments of Chemistry and Medicinal Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, is the recipient of the 2015 Herbert Newby McCoy Award. (Photo provided)
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Arun K. Ghosh, the Ian P. Rothwell Distinguished Professor in the departments of Chemistry and Medicinal Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, is the recipient of the 2015 Herbert Newby McCoy Award.

The award, announced Monday (Sept. 21), recognizes Ghosh for his extraordinary contributions in broad areas of organic, bioorganic and medicinal chemistry that have improved human health.

"The totality of Professor Ghosh's scientific achievements are remarkable," said Suresh Garimella, Purdue's executive vice president for research and partnerships and the Goodson Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering, in announcing this year's winner. "His extensive research work, described in over 285 original research publications, is of the highest quality with far-reaching impact on bioorganic and medicinal chemistry and human medicine. Professor Ghosh's scholarship has dramatic implications for chemistry, biology and human health."

As the 2015 McCoy awardee, Ghosh will deliver the Herbert Newby McCoy Distinguished Lecture this fall at 3:30 p.m. Nov. 9 in Stewart Center's Fowler Hall. The lecture is free and open to the public.

"I am deeply honored to receive the Herbert Newby McCoy Award," Ghosh said. "At Purdue University, a lot of exciting things are going on in our laboratories. I am fortunate to work with talented researchers here."

Ghosh's research group is involved in multidisciplinary projects in synthetic organic, bioorganic and medicinal chemistry. His extensive knowledge of aspartyl proteases' structure-function relationships and synthetic organic chemistry, coupled with his creativity, has led him to be recognized as one of the world's foremost leaders in the field of structure-based molecular design.

His seminal contributions in this area include his concept-based design and discovery of a potent HIV protease inhibitor, named darunavir, which has shown unprecedented drug resistance profiles against HIV. It was approved by the Food and Drug Administration as the first treatment for multidrug-resistant HIV and received expanded approval in 2008 for all HIV/AIDS patients including pediatrics.

Ghosh, who joined the Purdue faculty in 2005, also designed a molecule that has significant promise in treating Alzheimer's disease. The molecule is a highly potent beta-secretase inhibitor with unique features that ensure it goes only to its target and is less likely to cause harmful side effects. Several drugs based on this molecular target have made it to clinical trials, including one based on a molecule Ghosh designed previously.

In addition, Ghosh and his team created a compound that prevents replication of the virus that causes SARS/MERS and could lead to a treatment for the disease. The compound also provides new insights into a group of proteins found in a range of diseases including childhood croup, herpes and cancer.

Ghosh has made significant contributions in the synthesis of natural products in biology, development of tools for design of novel enzyme inhibitors and molecular probes and new synthetic methodologies. His research accomplishments have led to more than 50 issued patents and pending patent applications in chemistry and medicinal chemistry.

His book, "Structure-based Design of Drugs and Other Bioactive Molecules: Tools and Strategies," was published by Wiley-VCH in 2014. He also edited "Aspartic Acid Proteases as Therapeutic Targets," which was published by Wiley-VCH in 2010.

Ghosh, who was inducted into the ACS Medicinal Chemistry Hall of Fame in 2013, received the CRSI Medal from the Chemical Research Society of India in 2012, the National Institutes of Health MERIT Award in 2011, the Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award in 2010, the IUPAC-Richter Prize in 2010 and the Robert Scarborough Excellence in Medicinal Chemistry Award in 2008.

He was a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2005, a University Scholar at the University of Illinois in 1998-2000, a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University in 1985-1988, and a National Scholar for the Government of India in 1976-1981.

Ghosh received his bachelor's degree, with honors, in chemistry from Calcutta University in 1979 and a master's degree in science from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, in 1981. He received his doctorate degree from the University of Pittsburgh in 1985.

The McCoy Award, established in 1964 by Ethel Terry McCoy in memory of her husband, a distinguished Purdue alumnus, is presented annually to a Purdue student or faculty member for outstanding contributions to the natural sciences. The 2015 award comes with a cash prize of $4,000 and $7,000 for Ghosh's university scholarly activities.

A native of Richmond, Indiana, Herbert Newby McCoy earned a bachelor's and master's degree in chemistry at Purdue before receiving his doctorate at the University of Chicago in 1898.

Writers: Phillip Fiorini, 765-496-3133,

             Pam Burroff-Murr, 765-496-3381,

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