Brock chemist receives highest academic honour

Tomas Hudlicky has been elected a fellow in the The Royal Society of Canada: The Academies of Arts, Humanities and Sciences.

Tomas Hudlicky has been elected a fellow in the The Royal Society of Canada: The Academies of Arts, Humanities and Sciences.

Brock University chemist Tomas Hudlicky has been elected a fellow in Canada’s top academic body.

“Election to the academies of the Royal Society of Canada is the highest honour a scholar can achieve in the Arts, Humanities and Sciences,” the Royal Society of Canada said in a Sept. 6 statement announcing its fellowship winners for 2013.

The association notes that fellows are elected by their peers “in recognition of outstanding scholarly, scientific and artistic achievement.”

“I was obviously happy to hear the news,” says Hudlicky, who joins 83 other newly elected fellows. “It is a great honour.”

The Royal Society of Canada: The Academies of Arts, Humanities and Sciences of Canada was established in 1882 as the senior Canadian collegium of distinguished scholars, artists and scientists. The primary objective of the society is to promote learning and research in the arts, the humanities and the natural and social sciences.

Hudlicky holds a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Organic Synthesis and Biocatalysis (biological methods of manufacturing). His research focuses on new pain and cancer medicines, green chemistry and natural product synthesis. His breakthroughs in green chemistry include more efficient and environmentally conscious ways to create synthetic versions of morphine or Tamiflu-like drugs, earning him the reputation of being one of North America’s top organic researchers.

Ever since coming to Brock in 2003 from the University of Florida, Hudlicky has had a wide array of accomplishments. One of the most notable includes winning the highly coveted 2010 Alfred Bader Award, given by the Canadian Society of Chemistry for excellence in organic chemistry research.

Earlier this year, he won the Ontario Partnership for Innovation and Commercialization’s Innovator of the Year Award. This past spring, the Professor of Chemistry also passed the $1-million mark in revenues generated through licensing agreements for processes developed in his labs, mainly for the manufacture of important medicinal agents for pain control and alcohol and drug addiction.

Other accomplishments include:

• filing 11 patent applications
• negotiating and establishing five licenses with a large pharmaceutical manufacturer, providing it with new processes for a more efficient production and synthesis of alkaloid compounds, which are key agents in pain control and the treatment of alcohol and drug addiction. Payments from these licences have exceeded $100,000 per year over the last three years and are expected to grow
• patenting a more efficient process for the manufacture of TamifluTM (oseltamivir) and additional anti-viral compounds having the potential to be more effective than TamifluTM.

“Dr. Hudlicky is an excellent example for how researchers in Canadian universities can impact and benefit our communities and our world,” says Gary Libben, Brock’s Vice-President of Research.

“The success enjoyed by each one contributes to showing the importance of knowledge in the development of Canadian society, and it promotes the advancement of knowledge for the benefit of the population and outreach of Canada in the world,” says Yolande Grisé, Royal Society of Canada president.

“The promotion of knowledge is central to the purpose of the Royal Society of Canada.”

Hudlicky brings the number of Royal Society of Canada fellows from Brock University to five. The others are Barry Grant (Film Studies, 2010), Sandra Beckett (Literature, 2004), Kenneth Kernaghan (emeritus, Political Science, 1998), and Richard Rand (emeritus, Biological Sciences, 1993). Hudlicky will attend the Royal Society’s annual general meeting in Banff, Alta., Nov. 14-17, 2013.

Brock’s Vice President Research Gary Libben became a fellow during his term at the University of Calgary.

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