Gary Patti, the Michael and Tana Powell Professor of Chemistry, has won the 2023 American Chemical Society (ACS) Midwest Award. This annual award is the highest honor awarded by the ACS Midwest region, which is a group of affiliated sections spanning Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, and parts of Illinois and Arkansas.
“I think what makes the ACS Award particularly special to me is knowing that WashU faculty members Gerty and Carl Cori were also recognized with this honor,” Patti said. In 1947, only two years after receiving the ACS Award, the Coris won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their pioneering insights into sugar metabolism. Gerty Cori was the first American woman to win the award.
“The Coris are two of my academic heroes, having built an empire for studying metabolism at WashU,” Patti said. “One could argue that they created the field in which I am fortunate enough to work.”
Patti’s research in the rapidly evolving field of metabolomics has significantly advanced our understanding of how cancer cells metabolize glucose, as well as how tumors alter metabolism throughout the body.
“The idea that a tumor in a discrete location can rewire the biochemistry of otherwise healthy cells a meter away is incredibly fascinating to me,” Patti said. “We’ve only begun to scratch the surface here, and I’m excited to see what else we can discover. I believe that it could have important implications on our understanding of cancer physiology, possibly opening up new therapeutic opportunities.”
Patti will receive the ACS Midwest Award at a regional meeting in October.