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Leading chemistry researcher wins international award

7 August 2015

Distinguished Professor Margaret Brimble, a Maurice Wilkins Centre Principal Investigator from the University of Auckland, has been named as one of this year’s Distinguished Women in Chemistry or Chemical Engineering by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC).

Every second year IUPAC honours prominent women chemists from around the world who are outstanding achievers in their field. Former awardees have come from a wide range of countries including Italy, Poland, the USA, UK and China.

Professor Brimble is the first New Zealander to be named for the award.

The awards are designed to acknowledge and promote the work of women chemists and chemical engineers. Awardees are selected based on excellence in basic or applied research, accomplishments in teaching or education or demonstrated leadership and managerial excellence in the chemical sciences.

The awards also recognise women who have shown leadership and community service during their careers.

“I am delighted to accept this award as the first kiwi to be selected,” Professor Brimble says.

Professor Brimble holds the Chair of Organic Chemistry and is Director of Medicinal Chemistry in the School of Chemical Sciences and the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Auckland. She is a Principal Investigator in the Maurice Wilkins Centre for Molecular Biodiscovery, Chair of the RSNZ Rutherford Foundation and Vice-President of IUPAC Organic and Biomolecular Division.

She is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, UK, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand, the Royal Australian Chemical Institute and the New Zealand Institute of Chemistry.

A Companion of the New Zealand order of Merit for Service to Science (CNZM), Professor Brimble is a recipient of the Rutherford Medal for exceptional contributions to science and technology, was named the 2007 L’Oreal-UNESCO Women in Science laureate in materials science for Asia Pacific and won the 2008 World Class New Zealand Award and the 2014 Westpac Trust Women on Influence Award in the Science and Technology sector.

She is a passionate advocate for women in science and a regular speaker at events showcasing her work on drug discovery including development of a new drug (trofinetide) to treat Rett Syndrome.

She also speaks regularly to encourage young women to consider a career in science and engineering.

Awardees were honoured at a ceremony during the IUPAC Congress held during early August in Busan, South Korea.