American Botanical Council Norman R. Farnsworth Excellence in Botanical Research Award

Posted on

Gordon Cragg

Dr. Gordon Cragg (former postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Professor Theodore Geissman) was named as the recipient of the Excellence in Botanical Research Award.

Dr. Cragg is a former research director of the US National Cancer Institute (NCI), where he was involved in the NCI’s search for new cancer medicines from plants and other natural sources. Dr. Cragg earned his BSc in chemistry from Rhodes University in 1957. He attended the University of Oxford for a PhD in organic chemistry in 1963, after which he completed a postdoctoral fellowship at UCLA under the guidance of Professor Theodore A. Geissman, focusing on the biosynthesis of plant hormones.

Safe Image.php?d=AQByeb2gKn6EfZPB& WYexk%2Fmaxresdefault
Gordon M. Cragg (Credit: ACS SciFinder)

Dr. Cragg spent the majority of his professional career at the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Cancer Institute. He was appointed chief of the NCI’s Natural Products Branch (NPB) in 1989; he officially retired in 2004, but has remained highly active with the department as an NIH Special Volunteer. During his time at the NPB, Dr. Cragg received three NIH Awards of Merit for his efforts: for his contributions to the development of the highly successful anticancer drug Taxol and related derivative compounds; for his leadership in establishing international collaborative research in biodiversity and natural products drug discovery; and for his teaching contributions to NIH technology transfer courses. 

The American Botanical Council presents this award each year to a person who or an institution that has made significant contributions to ethnobotanical and/or pharmacognostic research (i.e., research on drugs of natural origin, usually from plants).

To read the full award announcement, please visit the Sacramento Bee webpage

You can learn more about Dr. Cragg by reading a 2012 feature on Dr. Cragg by the ACS Journal of Natural Products.