Carolyn Bertozzi awarded the 2024 ACS Priestley Medal

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Professional photograph of Carolyn Bertozzi.
Carolyn Bertozzi
Christopher Michel/Stanford University

WASHINGTON, June 21, 2023 — The American Chemical Society (ACS) is pleased to announce that Carolyn R. Bertozzi is the recipient of the 2024 Priestley Medal. The medal is the highest honor awarded by ACS and annually recognizes an individual for distinguished services to chemistry. Bertozzi receives the award “for pioneering research in bioorthogonal reactions and their applications in studying living organisms and developing therapeutics, and for mentoring a generation of outstanding chemists.”

A talented, accomplished and passionate chemist, Bertozzi has received dozens of awards and honors, including the 2022 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, which she shared with Morten Meldal and K. Barry Sharpless.

Through her ingenious and prolific research, Bertozzi created the field of biorthogonal reactions, which opened the doors to studying disease at the molecular level. This breakthrough has allowed for chemical manipulations inside of living cells without disrupting their operations, thus promoting more effective means of developing chemical tools to address diseases like cancer, inflammation, tuberculosis and viral infections such as COVID-19.

Bertozzi holds several positions at Stanford University: Baker family director of Stanford ChEM-H; Anne T. and Robert M. Bass professor in the school of humanities and sciences; and professor, by courtesy, of chemical and systems biology and of radiology. She earned her undergraduate degree in chemistry from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley.

Wendy Young, former senior vice president, Genetech, and drug discovery veteran who serves as an advisor to Google Ventures and several private biotechnology companies, underscores the importance of Bertozzi’s biochemistry breakthroughs and awards and notes, “In addition to mentoring dozens of top outstanding scientists, collaborating with numerous researchers, and founding start-up biotechnology companies to bring the fruits of her research to curing human disease, she is a tireless and outspoken advocate and leader in promoting diversity in chemistry, including women and members of the LGBTQ+ community.”

Madeleine Jacobs, former ACS executive director and CEO and former editor in chief of Chemical & Engineering News, who has closely followed Bertozzi’s career for several decades, says, “Carolyn is a consummate mentor, having trained more than 150 Ph.D. students and postdoctoral fellows who populate U.S. university faculties. She makes time to encourage young people to choose science as a career.”

Bertozzi will accept the medal and deliver an address at ACS Spring 2024 in New Orleans.

Nominations for the 2025 Priestley Medal are open through Nov. 1, 2023. To nominate a colleague, visit the ACS National Awards page.


The American Chemical Society (ACS) is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. ACS’ mission is to advance the broader chemistry enterprise and its practitioners for the benefit of Earth and all its people. The Society is a global leader in promoting excellence in science education and providing access to chemistry-related information and research through its multiple research solutions, peer-reviewed journals, scientific conferences, eBooks and weekly news periodical Chemical & Engineering News. ACS journals are among the most cited, most trusted and most read within the scientific literature; however, ACS itself does not conduct chemical research. As a leader in scientific information solutions, its CAS division partners with global innovators to accelerate breakthroughs by curating, connecting and analyzing the world’s scientific knowledge. ACS’ main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

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