Groves wins Fischer Career Award in Porphyrin Chemistry

John Groves, the Hugh Stott Taylor Chair of Chemistry, has been selected to receive the 2010 Hans Fischer Career Award in Porphyrin Chemistry by the Society of Porphyrins and Phthalocyanines.

The award is sponsored by the Hans Fischer Gesellschaft in Munich, named for Hans Fischer, a German organic chemist and 1930 recipient of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. The award is given every two years to a senior scientist for his or her lifetime work in the field of porphyrins and phthalocyanines. It will be given to Groves next July in Santa Ana Pueblo, N.M.

Groves' work centers on understanding the molecular mechanisms of metalloproteins. He is known for his work with cytochrome P450 enzymes, which are powerful proteins that detoxify materials in the bloodstream and play a key role in the body's ability to metabolize drugs.

Porphyrins are a group of organic compounds found within a variety of metalloproteins, including  cytochrome P450, that are responsible for the function of these proteins. Many occur in nature, with the best known being the pigment in red blood cells. Phthalocyanines are porphyrin-like structures for which scientists can easily adjust the physical and electrical properties by synthetic means, making them ideal model compounds.

Groves came to Princeton in 1985 after teaching at the University of Michigan for 16 years, where he was director of the Michigan Center for Catalysis and Surface Science. He has held the Hugh Stott Taylor chair since 1991 and was the chemistry department chair from 1988 to 1993. Among his many honors, he is a fellow of both the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

The Society of Porphyrins and Phthalocyanines was formed in June 2000 and serves the interests of scientists working in those areas and related fields but come from a broad variety of scientific disciplines, including chemistry, physics, biology, biochemistry and materials science.