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Heinrich Emanuel Merck Award for 2010 granted to leading Italian scientist


Merck KGaA announced today that the 2010 Heinrich Emanuel Merck Award for Analytical Sciences will go to Luisa Torsi, Professor of Analytical Chemistry at the University of Bari in Italy. This marks the first time that that renowned award has been given to a woman and to a scientist in Italy. The award, which is worth EUR 15,000, will be presented at the EUCHEMS Congress in Nuremberg, Germany, on August 31, 2010. The congress is expected to attract more than 3,000 scientists from throughout Europe.

For more than 20 years, the Heinrich-Emanuel-Merck Award has been recognizing scientists under the age of 45 whose work focuses on new methods in chemical analysis and the deployment thereof in applications aimed at improving the quality of human life, for example in fields such as environmental protection, life sciences or the biosciences.

Torsi is being recognized for her research work on organic semiconducting chemical sensors based on organic thin-film field effect transistors. Such components permit highly sensitive analytical measurements. This highly interesting technology makes it possible to measure so-called chiral substances, meaning the spatial arrangement of atoms in molecules.Chiral substances are responsible for many biological effects in enzymes, antibodies or other molecular receptors. This in turn yields numerous applications in the synthesis of raw materials and active ingredients in Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals.

"Professor Torsi is a leading scientist and an outstanding individual who is internationally well connected. Her work on organic semiconducting sensors convinced the jury in every respect," explained Dr. Klaus Dieter Franz, Head of Analytical Services at Merck. "Formerly the Heinrich Emanuel Merck Award was granted exclusively for achievements in analytical chemistry. It is now also aimed at researchers working in Life Sciences and Biosciences, since Merck has also made great strides in this direction. This has considerably expanded the pool of candidates." The Pharmaceuticals and Chemicals business sectors both play a leading role in the appointment of the high-caliber international jury.

The news from Darmstadt was received very positively in Bari. Professor Torsi said: "I am delighted and honored to have been awarded this prestigious prize as Merck enjoys a good reputation in the scientific community. I view this prize as recognition of work conducted at the interface of science and business. After all, innovation and entrepreneurial thinking are interconnected."

Source: Merck KGaA