David Walt Receives Esselen Award for Chemistry in Public Interest

The Northeastern Section of the American Chemical Society honor recognizes his lifetime work

David Walt, the Robinson Professor of Chemistry in the School of Arts and Sciences and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor, has received the Esselen Award for chemistry in the public interest, one of the most prestigious honors conferred by the Northeastern Section of the American Chemical Society (ACS).

The annual award recognizes a chemist whose work has contributed to the public well-being. It was established in 1987 to honor the memory of Gustavus John Esselen, a distinguished chemist who was a member of the ACS for more than 40 years. The first awardees were F. Sherwood Rowland and Mario J. Molina, who shared the 1995 Nobel Prize in chemistry with Paul J. Crutzen.

David Walt. Photo: Alonso NicholsDavid Walt. Photo: Alonso Nichols
Walt will receive the award on April 10 at a meeting of the Northeastern Section in Cambridge and will give the Esselen Award address on “Microwell Arrays: From Genetic Analysis to Ultra-High Sensitivity Diagnostics.” The award consists of a medal and $5,000.

Walt is also a professor of biomedical engineering, a professor of genetics and a professor of oral medicine at Tufts, and is the founding scientist of Illumina Inc. and Quanterix Corp. He has received a number of national and international awards for his fundamental and applied work in optical sensors and arrays.

He is a co-chair of the Board on Chemical Sciences and Technology of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In addition, he is a fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, the National Academy of Inventors and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

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