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Prof. Dr.

Stephen J. Lippard

Year of election: 2004
Section: Chemistry
City: Cambridge, MA, USA
Country: USA
CV Stephen Lippard - English (pdf)


Professor Lippard’s laboratory discovered and named the first metallointercalators, platinum terpyridine complexes that insert between the DNA base pairs and unwind the duplex. This research was followed by extensive studies of the covalent interactions of cisplatin and related anticancer drugs with DNA. Included are the X-ray structural characterization of the major Pt-DNA adducts, 1,2-intrastrand cross-links, the discovery of high-mobility group and related proteins that bind specifically to these adducts, and elucidation of the details of the processing of Pt-DNA cross-links in living cells. A highlight of early work was the elucidation of the geometric and electronic structures of the platinum blues, first discovered over one hundred years ago.

Another major research area is the characterization of proteins that form the soluble methane monooxygenase (MMO) and related systems in bacteria. The Lippard group elucidated the structures of the hydroxylase enzymes from MMO, toluene monooxygenase, and phenol hydroxylase by X-ray crystallography in several oxidation states and with bound substrate analogs and product molecules. With the participation of several collaborators, many aspects of the molecular mechanism of dioxygen activation and alkane/arene hydroxylation were established. In parallel work, synthetic models of the carboxylate-bridged diiron center in the hydroxylase were prepared as both structural and functional mimics of the enzyme active sites.

These synthetic efforts also produced a beautiful series of polyiron complexes, including the molecular ferric wheel. In the area of metalloneurochemistry, his contributions include the synthesis of molecules that image zinc in neurons and provide the first real-time fluorescence images of both inducible and constitutive NO production in living cells.


  • 2012 Sabbatical at the National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, USA, with Y. Pommier
  • 2005-2006 Sabbatical at the Department of Chemistry, Stanford University, Stanford, USA, with K. O. Hodgson
  • 1998 Sabbatical at the Department of Pharmacology, UCSD, San Diego, USA, with R. Tsien
  • 1995-2005 Head, Department of Chemistry, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA
  • since 1989 Arthur Amos Noyes Professor of Chemistry, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA
  • 1988 Sabbatical at the Anorganisch-Chemisches Institut der Technischen Universität Munich, Garching, Federal Republic of Germany with W. Herrmann
  • 1983-1989 Professor of Chemistry, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA
  • 1979 Sabbatical at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, UK, with A. Klug
  • 1972-1982 Professor of Chemistry, Columbia University, USA
  • 1972 Sabbatical at the University of Göteborg, Sweden, with B. G. Malmström
  • 1969-1972 Associate Professor of Chemistry, Columbia University, USA
  • 1966-1969 Assistant Professor of Chemistry


  • since 2012 Member, Scientific Advisory Board, University of Basel, Switzerland
  • since 2011 Head of SAB, Blend Therapeutics
  • since 2010 Member, SBCA Study Section, National Institutes of Health
  • since 2009 Member, Board of Directors, International Society of Zinc Biology
  • since 2009 Member, Board of Directors, Chemical Heritage Foundation
  • 2004 Member, ACS NE Section Richards Medal Jury
  • 1998 hair, ACS NE Section Richards Medal Jury
  • 1996 Chair, Gordon Research Conference on Metals in Biology
  • 1992 Chairman, ACS Inorganic Division
  • 1987 Chairman, Bioinorganic Subdivision, ACS Inorganic Division
  • 1985 Chairman, Gordon Research Conference on Inorganic Chemistry
  • since 1988 Associate Editor, Journal of the American Chemical Society
  • 1983-1988 Associate Editor, Inorganic Chemistry; initiated Bioinorganic Chemistry
  • 1982-1985 Alternate Councilor, ACS Inorganic Division
  • 1973-1977 National Institutes of Health Medicinal Chemistry Study Section B 

Honours and Memberships

  • 2015 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Chemistry
  • 2012 Sacconi Medal
  • 2011 Fellow of the American Chemical Society
  • 2009 Linus Pauling Medal
  • 2006-2004 National Medal of Science
  • 2004 Member of the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina
  • 2003 Royal Irish Academy
  • 1996 Italian Chemical Society
  • 1993 National Institute of Medicine
  • 1989 National Academy of Sciences
  • 1986 American Academy of Arts and Sciences




Emil-Abderhalden-Str. 35
06108 Halle (Saale)

Phone 0345 - 47 239 - 122
Fax 0345 - 47 239 - 139
E-Mail archiv @leopoldina.org

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