H. Dupont Durst Graduate Student Award in Organic Chemistry
Dr H. Dupont Durst received his BS from LSU in 1965. He completed a MS thesis in Biochemistry under the direction of Gerald Risinger titled, “On the Mechanism of the Thiamine Catalyzed Reductive Dimerization of Farnesyl Pyrophosphate to Squalene.” As a graduate student in the laboratory of Edward Leete at the University of Minnesota, he investigated the biosynthesis of terpenoids and alkaloids, including the synthesis of isotopically labeled intermediates. In collaboration with Richard Borch, he introduced the cyanoborohyride anion as a reducing agent and demonstrated the dependence of functional group selectivity on pH. In 1970, Durst began his independent career as a faculty member at SUNY Buffalo, where he remained throughout the 1970s. He developed new methods for a number of “difficult” synthetic transformations, cleverly utilizing phase transfer catalysis to enable bimolecular transformations in organic solvents. One of his passions has always been Chemical Education, especially the teaching of laboratory skills. With George Gokel he co-authored the textbook “Experimental Organic Chemistry.” From 1979-84, he was a faculty member at the University of Puerto Rico in Rio Piedras, where research interests expanded to include the isolation and structure determination of marine natural products, including toxins associated with seafood poisoning. In 1984, Durst joined the Chemical Methodology Team, at the US Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC) where he because involved with the trace analysis and detoxification of chemical warfare agents. He contributed to the development of a new ionization source for mass spectrometric Direct Analysis in Real Time (DART). Durst formally retired in 2015.
The recipient of this award must be full-time graduate student at LSU enrolled in the College of Science, Department of Chemistry, with a focus on Organic Chemistry. Preference will be given to students within two (2) years of completing their PhD.
Funding for this eponymous award is generously provided by Dr H. Dupont Durst.
This award is new in 2018. The first recipient of this award was Chien-Hung Chiang of the Nesterov Group (pictured with Dr. H. Dupont Durst).