Two researchers in Virginia Tech's College of Science have been presented with top honors in their respective fields of chemistry.

David G.I. Kingston and James E. McGrath, both University Distinguished Professors, have been selected to receive the awards, as announced at the fall national meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS) recently. Presentation of the awards will be at the spring meeting in April 2008, to be held in New Orleans.

Kingston was awarded the Ernest Guenther Award in the Chemistry of Natural Products, which recognizes outstanding work in the analysis, structure elucidation, and chemical synthesis of natural products. He was the first chemist in the United States to study the chemical qualities of paclitaxel, or Taxol , now the world’s best-selling anticancer drug. His research also made tremendous impact on efforts to preserve vital tropical rain forests in South America and Madegascar.

McGrath received the ACS Award in Polymer Chemistry, for his synthesis and characterization of high-performance matrix polymers and structural adhesives, fire-resistant polymers and composites, and high-temperature polymers for computers. In addition, McGrath is internationally known for his work in developing fuel cell materials and is currently conducting fuel cell research with a $1.5 million grant from the Department of Energy. In 2002, McGrath received the ACS Award in Applied Polymer Science.

“David and Jim are extraordinary faculty in their respective fields,” said Joe Merola, chair of the chemistry department. “Both have been great contributors to the department and the university for more than 30 years. These awards are clear recognition by the chemistry community of their accomplishments.”

McGrath received his bachelor’s degree from Siena College and a master’s degree and Ph.d. from the University of Akron. Kingston received his bachelor’s degree, master’s degree and Ph.D. from Cambridge University.

With more than 160,000 members, the ACS is the world’s largest scientific society. This year’s conference theme was “Biotechnology for Health and Wellness” and included more than 9,500 presentations.

The College of Science at Virginia Tech gives students a comprehensive foundation in the scientific method. Outstanding faculty members teach courses and conduct research in biology, chemistry, economics, geosciences, mathematics, physics, psychology, and statistics. The college is dedicated to fostering a research intensive environment and offers programs in many cutting edge areas, including those in nanotechnology, biological sciences, information theory and science, and supports the university’s research initiatives through the Institute for Critical Technologies and Applied Sciences, and the Institute for Biomedical and Public Health Sciences. The College of Science also houses programs in intellectual property law and pre-medicine.