Northeastern pharmacy graduate honored with two American Chemical Society awards
The American Chemical Society’s Division of Medicinal Chemistry has conferred two of its highest awards on Virginia Commonwealth University School of Pharmacy professor Richard A. Glennon. Glennon earned his B.S. in pharmacy and his M.S. in medicinal chemistry at Northeastern University. While pursuing those degrees, he also worked as a staff pharmacist and community pharmacist in the Boston area.
Glennon was inducted into the American Chemical Society’s 2014 Division of Medicinal Chemistry Hall of Fame. He also received the Fifth Annual Philip S. Portoghese Medicinal Chemistry Lectureship Award.
The ACS, the world’s largest scientific society, has as its mission to improve people’s lives through the transforming power of chemistry. More than 161,000 members belong to 32 technical divisions; the Division of Medicinal Chemistry formed in 1909.
Glennon, who joined the VCU School of Pharmacy faculty in 1975, is the Alfred and Frances Burger Professor of Medicinal Chemistry and serves as chairman of the Department of Medicinal Chemistry.
“Dr. Glennon has been a prolific scholar over many years with significant contributions to our understanding about how drugs work in the brain,” said School of Pharmacy Dean Joseph T. DiPiro. “He has had many collaborators here at VCU and across the U.S. These awards are well-deserved recognition of his work.”
“Either of these awards would have been a capstone to my career,” Glennon said. “But both? I am humbled.”
The Medicinal Chemistry Hall of Fame induction took place at ACS 248th National Meeting & Exposition in San Francisco. Glennon has been invited to speak at the 250th National Meeting in Boston next August.
The Portoghese Lectureship is named for the long-standing editor-in-chief of the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, who jointly administers the award with the ACS Division of Medicinal Chemistry. It honors the contributions of individuals who have had a major impact on medicinal chemistry research.
Glennon will present his Portoghese Lectureship address during ACS 249th National Meeting in Denver next March.
At VCU, Glennon has trained more than 100 graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and visiting scientists, whom he terms “some of the most talented people imaginable!” He holds more than a dozen patents and has published more than 400 articles and book chapters.
His research has been funded for over 40 years by the National Institutes of Health and other governmental agencies. While he has multiple research interests, his major focus – and the research area for which he is best known — is the effect of drugs on brain receptors.
He helped pioneer the application of the drug discrimination paradigm to drug studies, a “drug detection” procedure that uses animals as subjects to investigate the actions and mechanism of action of drugs that act in the brain. The technique is used in academia and the pharmaceutical industry worldwide.
Glennon is a senior/associate editor of the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry and editor emeritus of Medicinal Chemistry Research, both of which were founded by Alfred Burger. Tapped by Burger himself for the Medicinal Chemistry Research editorship, Glennon also serves on the editorial board of Burger’s Medicinal Chemistry and Drug Discovery.
Previous recognition includes VCU’s highest faculty honor, the University Award of Excellence (for teaching, research and service); VCU’s Distinguished Scholarship Award; the APhA-Academy of Pharmaceutical Research and Science Research Achievement Award; and the European Federation of Medicinal Chemistry’s Order of the Oak and Tulip Medal.
After leaving Boston and spending a year as a research chemist with Warner-Lambert/Parke-Davis in New Jersey, Glennon obtained his Ph.D. in medicinal chemistry from the State University of New York at Buffalo. He was recruited by VCU following an Alcohol, Drug Abuse, Mental Health (ADAMHA) postdoctoral fellowship in psychopharmacology at SUNY School of Medicine.
(Information obtained from Virginia Commonwealth University Press Release, Cynthia McMullen, Director of Public Relations and Communication)