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Illinois professor wins Packard
Physical Sciences Editor
(217) 244-1073; firstname.lastname@example.org
by Bill Wiegand
honors Scott K. Silverman, a UI professor of chemistry, is
among 16 U.S. researchers named 2003 Packard Fellows
in natural sciences. He will receive $625,000 during
the next five years to enhance his research efforts.
K. Silverman, a professor of chemistry at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, is among 16 U.S.
researchers named 2003 Packard Fellows in natural sciences by the David
and Lucile Packard Foundation. He will receive $625,000 during the next
five years to enhance his research efforts.
Silverman, 31, joined the Illinois faculty in July 2000. He received
his fellowship in recognition of his work on developing unconventional
applications of DNA for use in chemistry, biochemistry and nanotechnology.
"Professor Silverman is the eighth member of the Illinois chemistry
department to win a Packard Fellowship," said Gregory Girolami,
the head of the department. "No other chemistry department in the
nation has more than four Packard Fellows."
Silverman joins Andrew Gellman, Martin Gruebele, Eric Jacobsen, Neil
Kelleher, Nancy Makri, Todd Martinez and Jonathan Sweedler as previous
Illinois chemistry faculty who have won this award. "This record
is a tangible measure of the high quality of our department and our
continued success in attracting the best scientists to our faculty,"
Silverman earned his bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 1991 from
the University of California at Los Angeles, and his doctorate in chemistry
in 1997 from the California Institute of Technology. Before coming to
Illinois, Silverman carried out postdoctoral research at the University
of Colorado with professor Thomas Cech, winner of the 1989 Nobel Prize
As a graduate student at Caltech, Silverman solved major problems in
the area of organic magnetism, working with professor Dennis Dougherty.
He then made a dramatic shift, and in collaboration with professor Henry
Lester’s group, began to study ion channel proteins by the incorporation
of unnatural amino acids using molecular biological techniques. His
current research interests are in RNA folding and catalysis, as well
as using DNA as a novel basis for control of molecular structure and
catalysis of chemical reactions.
Among his awards, Silverman recently received a Basil O’Connor
Starter Scholar Research Award from the March of Dimes Foundation and
a New Investigator Award in the Pharmacological Sciences from the Burroughs
Wellcome Fund. He is a member of the American Association for the Advancement
of Science, the American Chemical Society and the RNA Society.
The Packard Foundation, founded in 1964 and based in Los Altos, Calif.,
provides funding to early-career scientists to pursue their science
and engineering research with few restrictions. Each year, new fellows
are chosen from nominations submitted by the presidents of 50 universities.