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Kuo-Hsiung Lee, the Kenan Distinguished Professor of Medicinal Chemistry at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, is the winner of the 2015 Ernest R. Volwiler Award, the highest research award from the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy.

Lee is the director of the school’s Natural Products Research Laboratories and has been a member of the its faculty for forty-five years.

The award recognizes one researcher annually that has made outstanding lifetime contributions to pharmaceutical and clinical science, pharmacy practice, or social and administrative sciences. Lee will be honored during the 2015 AACP annual meeting in National Harbor, Maryland, July 11 to 15. The distinction comes with a gold medal and a $5,000 prize.

“This award is a true testament to Dr. Lee’s incredible record of sustained excellence in research over the past four decades,” said Robert Blouin, dean of the pharmacy school. “All of our faculty, staff and students offer their congratulations to him for this outstanding and well deserved honor.”

Lee earned his Ph.D. in Medicinal Chemistry from the University of Minnesota in 1968 followed by two years as a postdoctoral scholar in organic chemistry at UCLA before coming to the School as an assistant professor in 1970.

In his 45-year career at the School, Lee has written more than 823 research articles, been issued more than 110 patents and has been invited to deliver more than 400 lectures and presentations. He has been the director of the Natural Products Research Laboratories since 1983 and a Kenan Distinguished Professor since 1992.

Lee was also appointed as chair professor and honorary director of the Chinese Medicine Research and Development Center at the China Medical University and Hospital in Taiwan in 2010 and as chair professor at the College of Pharmacy at Kaohsiung Medical University in Taiwan in 2011.

He has received numerous awards for his work, including being elected as an academician of Academia Sinica of Taiwan in 1996, and inducted into the Order of the Rising Sun by the Government of Japan in 2011.

His research labs combine the fields of natural products and synthetic medicinal chemistry research to discover and develop bioactive natural products as clinical trial drug candidates. The NPRL has discovered several thousand bioactive natural products that have been used to develop pharmaceutical agents, such as the anti-HIV drug bevirimat that was derived from a Chinese herb.

Published April 13, 2015