Earlier this year the American Chemical Society announced the recipients of its 2018 national awards. Over 50 areas were recognized, ranging from scientific inventions and discoveries to contributions to the art of teaching, from exceptional work by graduate students and early career investigators to senior researchers who have blazed trails for others to follow.
UC Santa Barbara professor and Reedie, Alison Butler ’77, recipient of the Alfred Bader Award in Bioinorganic or Bioorganic Chemistry, stands squarely in the trailblazer category. Her award citation reads: “For elucidating the bioinorganic chemistry of the marine environment, including the chemistry of siderophores and vanadium haloperoxidases.”
Butler was well-prepared for this work. Her interest in inorganic chemistry was already evident at Reed where she completed a thesis titled, “An intramolecular electron transfer study: the reduction of pyrazinepentaaminecobalt (III) by chromium (II),” under the direction of Prof. Tom Dunne. This was followed by a doctorate from UC San Diego in 1982, and an NIH Postdoctoral Fellowship at UCLA with Joan Valentine and Caltech with Harry B. Gray. She joined the chemistry faculty at UCSB in 1986 where she continues her investigations into mechanistic bioinorganic chemistry, metallobiochemistry and chemical biology.
The ACS awards were presented in a formal ceremony at the Spring National Meeting in March, 2018. A special award symposium was also held to highlight ongoing research in this area of bioinorganic chemistry.