Chemistry, College of Science and Engineering, 2009
Lawrence Que Jr. is a 3M/Alumni Distinguished Professor of Chemistry in the Institute of Technology at the University of Minnesota. He is considered to be an internationally acclaimed scholar who has made a tremendous impact in the field of bioinorganic chemistry. He has played a pioneering role in understanding the function that non-heme iron centers play in dioxygen activation in biology. One person wrote, "Undoubtedly, Professor Que is currently the top bioinorganic chemist in the world. In his chosen field, oxygen activation of iron-containing enzymes and biomimetic compounds, his group, in my estimation, is at least three years ahead of his closest competitors. Almost single-handedly he has developed the major fraction of the synthetic chemistry of iron in high oxidations states. This chemistry is vital to our understanding of many processes in biochemistry, to the development of new drugs, and most importantly, to developing a green chemistry that can alleviate the problems caused by pollutants and pathogens that afflict human health." He is described as a devoted teacher with a strong record of instruction in a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses. Student evaluations give him some of the highest scores on the instructor's overall teaching ability. He has advised and mentored numerous students. Under his guidance, 33 students received their Ph.D. degrees and 10 students received their master's degree. In addition, he has served as a research advisor to 66 postdoctoral students. Equally impressive, 22 former members of this group hold positions at industrial institutions as research scientists and 50 have tenure-track or tenured positions in colleges or universities. His service to the University is notable. He is credited with establishing the University of Minnesota as a world-renowned center of excellence in bioinorganic chemistry. He organized the International Conference on Oxygen Intermediates in Nonheme Metallobiochemistry (1996) and the Ninth International Conference on Biological Inorganic Chemistry (1999). Currently, he serves as the PI on a NIH Chemistry-Biology Interface Raining Grant that brings faculty and students from various departments together. He also led the effort to establish the University of Minnesota Center for Metals in Biocatalysis, which is comprised of faculty and students from multiple departments who share interests in exploring the roles of metals in biology. He is the author of over 400 publications; presented 290 invited lectures, including 22 plenary, keynotes, or endowed lectureships. He is also the chief editor of the Journal of Biological Inorganic Chemistry. A number of his most recent findings have been published in Science, the premier international scientific journal. He is the recipient of numerous awards and honors including the University of Minnesota Award for Outstanding Contributions in Post-Baccalaureate, Graduate, and Professional Education, the MERIT Award from the National Institute of Health, the Frontiers in Biological Chemistry Award from the Max-Planck-Institute for Bioinorganic Chemistry, election as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Bader Award for Bioinorganic and Bioorganic Chemistry from the American Chemical Society (the premier award in his field). Current funding from the NIH, NSF, and DOE total more than $3.8 million. We are indeed fortunate to have Professor Que as part of our intellectual community.
Biographies are as-of time of award presentation.