SCI Perkin Medal

The SCI Perkin Medal is recognized as one of the highest honors given for outstanding work in applied chemistry in the United States. It commemorates the discovery of the first synthetic dye (Perkin mauve) by Sir William Henry Perkin in 1856. This discovery was a significant step forward in organic chemistry that led to the birth of a major segment of the chemical industry.

The Perkin Medal was first awarded to Sir William at a banquet in New York in 1906. The room was festooned with banners dyed a brilliant Perkin mauve, a piece of which is on display in our museum. Today the award is presented as part of Innovation Day and will be awarded at the 2022 event being held in-person and online on September 13.

2022 Medalist: Dennis Liotta

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Dennis Liotta headshot

Courtesy of Dennis Liotta

Dennis Liotta serves as executive director of the Emory Institute for Drug Development and is the Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor in the Department of Chemistry at Emory University. He is recognized as one of the premier discoverers of novel therapeutics in the United States, having been the inventor of record for several clinically important antivirals and associated with the invention of 10 FDA approved therapeutics.

Liotta’s research has focused on the discovery and development of antiviral, anticancer, and anti-inflammatory therapeutic agents. He is one of the leaders of the Emory research team that discovered the antiviral drug Emtriva (emtricitabine), which was approved for treating HIV in July 2003 and is now used by more than 90 percent of HIV/AIDS patients in the United States, and by thousands more around the globe. Emtriva is a component of the triple combination therapy, Atripla, which is now universally accepted as the drug combination of choice for treating HIV-infected patients. In addition, he is the inventor of record for several antivirals, including Epivir, Reverset, Racivir, and Elvucitabine. Other medicinal inventions generated by Liotta’s lab over the years include therapies for everything from cancer and rheumatoid arthritis to hepatitis B.

Liotta joined Emory in 1976. He is the author of over 230 research publications and more than 70 issued U.S. patents. He has also supervised numerous postdoctoral and graduate students, and has received several teaching awards, including Emory University’s Thomas Jefferson Award, the school’s highest faculty honor. He is a fellow of both the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Chemical Society. Liotta was elected to the National Academy of Inventors in 2014 and the Medicinal Chemistry Hall of Fame in 2010. He also is the codirector of the Republic of South Africa Drug Discovery Training Program and a member of the Discovery and Developmental Therapeutics Research Program at Winship.

Previous Winners of the SCI Perkin Medal

The SCI Perkin Medal has been presented since 1906, when the very first award went to Sir William Henry Perkin. For a full list of winners visit SCI’s website.

About the Society of Chemical Industry

SCI is a unique multidisciplinary forum where science meets business on independent, impartial ground. SCI provides the opportunity for sharing information among sectors as diverse as food and agriculture, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, environmental science, and safety.

Established in 1881 as the Society of Chemical Industry, SCI is today a registered charity with individual members in over 70 countries. Its headquarters are in London.

Ever since its foundation SCI’s principal objective has been to further the application of chemistry and related sciences for the public benefit, through our events and publication.