Hecht named outstanding professor

Hecht named outstanding professor

May 18, 2011

May 18, 2011

For his leadership in drug design and development, Sidney Hecht was one of nine outstanding ASU faculty members honored with a 2011 Faculty Achievement Award. Dr. Hecht’s current work as director of the Biodesign Institute’s Center for BioEnergetics has the potential of alleviating the suffering of people with mitochondrial dysfunction.

People with this rare group of diseases number only in the tens of thousands worldwide, but their conditions are often debilitating and progressive. Currently patients with these afflictions are treated with huge doses of vitamins and antioxidants, but with little beneficial effect. One of the drugs Hecht developed for these diseases has recently completed Phase II clinical trials, and he is doing work on other products such as an antitumor agent.

“The drugs he currently has under development represent great strides in providing relief to patients,” says Edward Skibo, professor of chemistry. “Professor Hecht is innovative and highly productive, with 394 published papers and 19 patents. He also has received numerous honors for his work, including an Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship and a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship.”

Seven of the honored faculty were recognized for their research and creative activities, including Dr. Hecht, and two for their excellence in classroom performance. The awards are made for a specific contribution appearing in the last 10 years that meets the highest standards of the discipline or profession. The contributions significantly change their professions in research, creative activities and undergraduate instruction, placing the achievements among the highest at the university.

After receiving input from the faculty, nominations for the Faculty Achievement Awards are made by deans and reviewed by panels of Regents’ and President’s Professors. The nine individuals, representing a wide range of disciplines, were recently honored at an awards presentation by President Michael Crow, Elizabeth D. Capaldi, executive vice president and provost, and the deans.

This is the fifth year for the annual awards. This year’s awardees are the following:

  • Innovation: Sidney Hecht, chemistry and biochemistry
  • Defining Edge Research in Natural Sciences and Math: Gro V. Amdam, School of Life Sciences; and Martha R. McCartney, physics
  • Defining Edge Research in Humanities and Literary Work: Claudia Sadowski-Smith, English
  • Defining Edge Research in Social Science: Curtis W. Marean, School of Human Evolution and Social Change
  • Young Investigator: Eli P. Fenichel, School of Life Sciences
  • Best Performance or Art Work: Melissa Pritchard, English
  • Excellence in Undergraduate Instruction: Amber Wutich, School of Human Evolution and Social Change
  • Excellence in Undergraduate Student Mentoring: Peter Jurutka, Division of Mathematical and Natural Sciences