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Daniel Armstrong, Chemistry, (515) 294-1392
Dave Gieseke, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, (515) 294-7742
Kevin Brown, News Service, (515) 294-8986


AMES, Iowa -- Daniel Armstrong, the Caldwell Professor of chemistry at Iowa State University, has received the 2003 Chirality Medal.

The Chirality Medal will be presented to Armstrong at the 15th International Symposium on Chirality, Oct. 20 to 23, Shizuoka, Japan. Armstrong will also give a key lecture at the symposium. He is one of only six Americans to receive this award since its creation in 1991 by the Societa Chimica Italiana (Italian Chemical Society).

Chirality is a term used in chemistry to describe molecules that are not superimposable on their mirror image. The atoms of these molecules are attached in the same order, but differ in their special orientation. Most of the molecules that make up living systems are chiral. Also the majority of pharmaceutical compounds (medicines) are chiral. The presence of hard-to-remove chiral impurities can cause serious side effects in drugs.

Armstrong is one of the world's leading authorities on the theory, mechanism, and use of enantioselective (chiral) molecular interactions in biological and chemical systems. He invented several ways to remove chiral impurities from drugs making them safer and more effective. He has more than 300 publications, including 18 book chapters and one book, and eight patents.

His current work crosses the boundary between biology and chemistry. He has developed the first rapid, high-efficiency methods to simultaneously identify, quantify and characterize mixtures of microorganisms. This may have a significant impact on the diagnoses of diseases, real-time monitoring and evaluation of fermentations and evaluation of microbe-molecule interactions. He is also working on a new class of solvents known as room temperature ionic liquids.

Armstrong has received many awards for his research, including an R&D 100 Award in 1995 and the American Chemical Society Award in Chromatography in 1999.

The Chirality Medal honors internationally recognized scientists who have made a distinguished contribution to all aspects of chirality.


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