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March 7, 2003

MIT Chemist to Deliver Lucy W. Pickett Lecture

Barbara Imperiali

Barbara Imperiali, Ellen Swallow Richards Professor of Chemistry and professor of biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will deliver the chemistry department's annual Lucy W. Pickett Lecture Wednesday, March 12, at 8 pm in room 302 of the Reese Psychology and Education Building. The title of her talk is "Chemistry and Biology of Asparagine-Linked Protein Glycosylation." Imperiali's highly interdisciplinary work is at the interface between chemistry and biology, integrating organic synthesis, state-of-the-art spectroscopic analysis, enzymology, protein biochemistry, and molecular biology.

Her research focuses on diverse aspects of protein structure, function, and design. She is concerned with the molecular details of the enzyme-catalyzed process of asparagine-linked protein glycosylation, as well as the development of new chemical and biochemical tools that can be implemented for the investigation of complex biochemical processes.

Imperiali is the recipient of an A.P. Sloan Fellowship (1993), a Camille and Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award (1993), the American Chemical Society Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award (1996), and the Caltech Feynman Prize for Excellence in Teaching (1998). In 2001, she was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

The lecture is named for Lucy Weston Pickett '25, a distinguished member of the MHC chemistry department from 1930 to 1968. Upon her retirement, students, friends, and colleagues established the lectureship in her name to honor outstanding women scientists. Pickett was one of the first two MHC professors to be named Mary Lyon Professor, a rank no longer used at the College. She also held the title of Camille and Henry Dreyfus Chair in Chemistry. She was the recipient of numerous fellowships, two of which led to study abroad at the Royal Institute in London and the University of Liege in Belgium. Her research in ultraviolet absorption spectroscopy of organic molecules was supported by grants from the Office of Naval Research, the National Science Foundation, the Petroleum Research Fund of the American Chemical Society, and other organizations. In 1957, Pickett was among three MHC faculty members, two of them alumnae, to receive the Francis P. Garvan Medal of the American Chemical Society, an award that recognizes distinguished service to chemistry by American women chemists. Pickett died November 23, 1997.


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