Stephen J. Lippard

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Stephen J. Lippard
Born (1940-10-12) October 12, 1940 (age 76)[1]
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Residence U.S.
Nationality American
Fields Inorganic chemistry, biological chemistry, neurochemistry
Institutions Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Columbia University
Alma mater Haverford College (B.S.) (1962)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Ph.D) (1965)
Doctoral advisor F. Albert Cotton
Notable awards National Medal of Science (2004)
Linus Pauling Award (2009)
Priestley Medal (2014)
American Institute of Chemists Gold Medal (2017)

Stephen James Lippard is an American bioinorganic chemist and the Arthur Amos Noyes Professor of Chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is considered one of the founders of bioinorganic chemistry[2] and of metalloneurochemistry.[3]


Lippard was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he graduated from Taylor Allderdice High School in 1958. He earned his bachelor's degree from Haverford College in 1962 and Ph.D. from the MIT in 1965.[1] He worked with F. Albert Cotton on Rhenium oxo complexes and clusters, completing the thesis Chemistry of the bromorhenates.[4][2][5]


Lippard joined the faculty of Columbia University in 1966 as an Assistant Professor. He was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure in 1969 and full Professor in 1972.[6]

In 1983, Lippard returned to MIT as a Professor of Chemistry.[6] He has held the Arthur Amos Noyes Professorship of Chemistry at MIT since 1989.[7] He served as the head of the MIT chemistry department from 1995 to 2005.[1] He is recognized for his scientific work and for his work with students, having mentored more than 100 Ph. D.s.[8][2][9] His students are active in a wide range of areas, in part because "He delivers a strong message that you need to go to the frontier of science and pick interesting problems."[2] Forty percent of his graduate students have been women, who he gives "high-risk, high-reward projects".[2]

Lippard has co-authored over 900 scholarly and professional articles,[1] and co-authored the textbook Principles of Bioinorganic Chemistry (1994) with Jeremy Berg.[10] He edited the book series Progress in Inorganic Chemistry from Volume 11 to 40.[11] He was an Associate Editor of the journal Inorganic Chemistry from 1983 to 1989,[2] and an Associate Editor of the Journal of the American Chemical Society from 1989 to 2013,[2][1] as well as serving on the editorial boards of numerous other journals.[6]


Lippard's research activities are at the interface of biology and inorganic chemistry. Lippard focuses on biological interactions involving metal ions.[12][13] A major area of interest is the development of platinum-based anticancer drugs such as the cisplatin family.[14] He also studies the structure and function of methane and enzymes that consume greenhouse gas hydrocarbons.[15] He studies the molecular activity of metal ions in the brain and develops optical and MRI sensors for binding, tracking, and measuring metal ions as they interact with neurotransmitters and other biological signaling agents.[16][17]

Notable Contributions[edit]

In studies of the interaction of metal complexes with nucleic acids, Lippard’s laboratory discovered and named the first metallointercalators, platinum terpyridine complexes that insert between the DNA base pairs and unwind the double helix. This established the groundwork for subsequent work on intercalative binding. Further experiments defined how platinum drugs bind their biological targets and led to insights into how they manifest their anticancer activity.[18][14][17]

Lippard supported Amy Rosenzweig and others in exploring the area of macromolecular crystallography. Rosenzweig determined the X-ray structure of the soluble form of methane monooxygenase (MMO) as Lippard's graduate student.[2][19] She and others from the Lippard laboratory have explored the structure, mechanisms and activity of bacterial multicomponent monooxygenases.[17]

Lippard and his students have studied the synthesis of diiron complexes such as diiron hydroxylase to better understand the activities of metal atoms in biological molecules. They have developed model compounds for carboxylate-bridged diiron metalloenzymes which can be compared with corresponding biological forms. They have synthesized analogues of the diiron carboxylate cores of MMO and related carboxylate-bridged diiron proteins such as the dioxygen transporter hemerythrin.[20][17]

Lippard is considered a founder of metalloneurochemistry,[3] the study of metal ions at the molecular level as they affect the brain and the nervous system.[21] Working at the interface of inorganic chemistry and neuroscience, he has devised fluorescent imaging agents for studying mobile zinc and nitric oxide and their effects on neurotransmission and other forms of biological signaling.[22][17]


In 2011 Lippard founded Blend Therapeutics with Omid Farokhzad and Robert Langer, in Watertown, Massachusetts.[23] Blend focused on developing anti-cancer medicines for treatment of solid tumor cancers,[24] with the goal of targeting cancerous tissue and leaving healthy cells alone.[25] Its proprietary drug candidates included BTP-114, a cisplatin prodrug, and BTP-277, a targeting ligand designed to bond selectively to tumor cells.[24][25] As of 2016, Blend split off into two separate companies: Tarveda and Placon, to follow these two approaches.[26]

Placon Therapeutics is developing platinum-based cancer therapies. These include BTP-114, the first clinical candidate to use a albumin-conjugating, platinum-prodrug platform, based on Lippard's work. BTP-114 has been cleared for Phase 1 cancer-treatment clinical trials by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).[27]

Tarveda Therapeutics is developing BTP-277 (renamed PEN-221) and other Pentarins, a proprietary class of therapeutics which use peptide ligands to carry a target drug to tumor cells.[26] Pentarins are nanoparticle drugs, similar to antibody-drug conjugates but smaller, that have been described as "mini-smart bombs". They are believed to be capable of penetrating dense tumor-based cancers.[25]

Honors and awards[edit]

Lippard has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, the National Institute of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, [6] and the American Philosophical Society.[28] He is an honorary member of the Royal Irish Academy (2002),[29] the Italian Chemical Society (1996), and the German National Academy of Sciences (Leopoldina) (2004), and is an external scientific member of the Max-Planck Institute (1996) in Germany.[30]

He has received honorary Doctorate of Science degrees from Haverford College,[31] Texas A&M University,[32] and the University of South Carolina.[33]

Lippard has received many awards throughout his career,[6] most notably the 2004 National Medal of Science, the 2014 Priestley Medal of the American Chemical Society, its highest award,[34] and the 2014 James R. Killian lectureship at MIT, given to one faculty member of the Institute per year.[9] He is also the recipient of the Linus Pauling Medal,[35] Theodore W. Richards Medal,[36] and the William H. Nichols Medal.[37] For his work in bioinorganic and biomimetic chemistry, Lippard received the Ronald Breslow Award[38] and the Alfred Bader Award[39] from the American Chemical Society (ACS). For research in inorganic and organometallic chemistry, as well as his role as an educator, he was honored with ACS awards for Inorganic Chemistry[40] and for Distinguished Service in Inorganic Chemistry.[41] In 2016, he received the F. A. Cotton Medal for excellence in chemical research.[42][43] In 2017, he was chosen to receive the American Institute of Chemists Gold Medal.[44]

Personal life[edit]

Stephen Lippard married Judith Ann Drezner in 1964. They had two sons, Josh and Alex, a daughter-in-law Sandra, and twin granddaughters, Lucy and Annie. Judy Lippard died of cancer on September 9, 2013.[45] Stephen Lippard lives in Harvard Square, Boston, where he plays the harpsichord, jogs and is an avid fan of the Boston Red Sox.[8]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Stephen J. Lippard". Lippard Research Group. Retrieved 23 March 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Halford, Bethany (March 17, 2014). "Trailblazer And Mentor". Chemical & Engineering News. 92 (11). Retrieved 24 March 2017. 
  3. ^ a b "'Metals for Life' Symposium to honor 2015 Benjamin Franklin Laureate in Chemistry". University of Delaware. April 10, 2015. Retrieved 24 March 2017. 
  4. ^ "Stephen James Lippard". Chemistry Tree. Retrieved 23 March 2017. 
  5. ^ Morrissey, Susan (February 26, 2007). "F. Albert Cotton Dies". Chemical & Engineering News. 85 Issue (9): 11. 
  6. ^ a b c d e "Biography" (PDF). The Nucleus. LXXX (7): 4,6. March 2002. 
  7. ^ "Curriculum Vitae Professor Dr. Stephen J. Lippard" (PDF). Leopoldina. Retrieved 23 March 2017. 
  8. ^ a b "American Chemical Society's highest honor goes to Stephen J. Lippard, Ph.D.". American Chemical Society. Retrieved June 10, 2013. 
  9. ^ a b Trafton, Anne (May 16, 2013). "Stephen Lippard wins faculty's Killian Award". MIT Department of Chemistry. Retrieved 24 March 2017. 
  10. ^ Lippard, Stephen J.; Berg, Jeremy M., eds. (1994). Principles of bioinorganic chemistry. Mill Valley, Calif.: University Science Books. ISBN 978-0935702729. 
  11. ^ "Progress in Inorganic Chemistry (Series)". Wiley Online Library. Retrieved 23 March 2017. 
  12. ^ Lippard, Stephen J. (1994). "Chapter 9: Metals in medicine". In Bertini, Ivano. Bioinorganic chemistry (PDF). Mill Valley, Calif.: Univ. Science Books. ISBN 0-935702-57-1. Retrieved 24 March 2017. 
  13. ^ Lippard, Stephen J. (October 2006). "The inorganic side of chemical biology". Nature Chemical Biology. 2 (10): 504–507. doi:10.1038/nchembio1006-504. 
  14. ^ a b Johnstone, Timothy C.; Suntharalingam, Kogularamanan; Lippard, Stephen J. (9 March 2016). "The Next Generation of Platinum Drugs: Targeted Pt(II) Agents, Nanoparticle Delivery, and Pt(IV) Prodrugs". Chemical Reviews. 116 (5): 3436–3486. doi:10.1021/acs.chemrev.5b00597. Retrieved 24 March 2017. 
  15. ^ Wang, Weixue; Iacob, Roxana E.; Luoh, Rebecca P.; Engen, John R.; Lippard, Stephen J. (9 July 2014). "Electron Transfer Control in Soluble Methane Monooxygenase". Journal of the American Chemical Society. 136 (27): 9754–9762. doi:10.1021/ja504688z. Retrieved 24 March 2017. 
  16. ^ Lippard, Stephen J. "Investigation of Zinc Neurochemistry by Optical Sensing and MRI". Grantome. Retrieved 25 March 2017. 
  17. ^ a b c d e "MIT Chemistry Directory Stephen J. Lippard Arthur Amos Noyes Professor". MIT Chemistry. Retrieved 25 March 2017. 
  18. ^ Zeglis, Brian M.; Pierre, Valerie C.; Barton, Jacqueline K. (2007). "Metallo-intercalators and metallo-insertors". Chemical Communications (44): 4565. doi:10.1039/b710949k. Retrieved 24 March 2017. 
  19. ^ Rosenzweig, Amy C.; Frederick, Christin A.; Lippard, Stephen J.; Nordlund, Pär (9 December 1993). "Crystal structure of a bacterial non-haem iron hydroxylase that catalyses the biological oxidation of methane". Nature. 366 (6455): 537–543. doi:10.1038/366537a0. Retrieved 24 March 2017. 
  20. ^ Que, Lawrence; True, Anne E. (1990). "Dinuclear Iron- and Manganese-Oxo Sites in Biology". Progress in Inorganic Chemistry: Bioinorganic Chemistry. 38: 97–200. doi:10.1002/9780470166390.ch3. Retrieved 24 March 2017. 
  21. ^ Burdette, S. C.; Lippard, S. J. (24 March 2003). "Meeting of the minds: Metalloneurochemistry". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 100 (7): 3605–3610. doi:10.1073/pnas.0637711100. 
  22. ^ Goldberg, Jacob M.; Loas, Andrei; Lippard, Stephen J. (October 2016). "Metalloneurochemistry and the Pierian Spring: 'Shallow Draughts Intoxicate the Brain'". Israel Journal of Chemistry. 56 (9-10): 791–802. doi:10.1002/ijch.201600034. Retrieved 24 March 2017. 
  23. ^ Tomczyk, Michael (2012). Nanoinnovation : What Every Manager Needs to Know. Wiley & Sons, Incorporated, John. ISBN 978-3527326723. Retrieved 24 March 2017. 
  24. ^ a b Morris, Kathryn (April 21, 2015). "BTP-277 has evolved to become PEN-221, embodying the miniaturized biologic drug conjugate targeting the somatostatin receptor, but no longer encapsulated in a nanoparticle.". Tarveda. Retrieved 24 March 2017. 
  25. ^ a b c Fidler, Ben (January 7, 2015). "With $21M, Retooled Blend Whips up Mini-Smart Bombs For Cancer". Xconomy. Retrieved 24 March 2017. 
  26. ^ a b Fidler, Ben (January 27, 2016). "Blend Rebrands as Tarveda, Raises $38M, and Spins Out Cancer Drug". Xconomy. Retrieved 24 March 2017. 
  27. ^ "Placon Therapeutics launches, BTP-114 IND accepted by FDA". CenterWatch. March 23, 2016. Retrieved 24 March 2017. 
  28. ^ "Four MIT professors elected to the American Philosophical Society". MIT News. 2016-05-14. Retrieved 23 March 2017. 
  29. ^ "Stephen J. Lippard". Royal Irish Academy. Retrieved 23 March 2017. 
  30. ^ "Our roots". MPI für Chemische Energiekonversion. Retrieved 24 March 2017. 
  31. ^ "As Part Of Its Major Campaign Kick-Off, Haverford College Honors Leaders In Business, Medicine, Higher Education And Community Service". Haverford College. Retrieved 2013-11-06. 
  32. ^ "MIT Reports to the President 1994-95". Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Retrieved 2013-11-06. 
  33. ^ "Bernanke, Robinson to address graduates". University of South Carolina. 2010-02-01. Retrieved 2013-11-06. 
  34. ^ Faiz, Jonathan Faiz (18 March 2014). "Stephen Lippard Awarded the Priestley Medal". Chemistry Views. Retrieved 23 March 2017. 
  35. ^ "Pauling Award". Portland State University. 2009-11-07. Retrieved 2013-11-06. 
  36. ^ "Theodore William Richards Medal for Conspicuous Achievement in Chemistry Recipients". Northeastern Section of the American Chemical Society. Retrieved 24 March 2017. 
  37. ^ "Nichols Medalists". New York Section, American Chemical Society. Retrieved 24 March 2017. 
  38. ^ "Ronald Breslow Award for Achievement in Biomimetic Chemistry". American Chemical Society. Retrieved 24 March 2017. 
  39. ^ "Alfred Bader Award in Bioinorganic or Bioorganic Chemistry". American Chemical Society. Retrieved 2013-11-06. 
  40. ^ "ACS Award in Inorganic Chemistry". American Chemical Society. Retrieved 24 March 2017. 
  41. ^ "ACS Award for Distinguished Service in the Advancement of lnorganic Chemistry". American Chemical Society. Retrieved 24 March 2017. 
  42. ^ "MIT Chemist Stephen Lippard to Receive 2016 Cotton Medal". Science Texas A&M University. February 18, 2016. 
  43. ^ Wang, Linda (May 9, 2016). "Stephen Lippard named Cotton Medalist". Chemical & Engineering News. 94 Issue (19): 36. 
  44. ^ "American Institute of Chemists Gold Medal". Chemical Heritage Foundation. 
  45. ^ "Judith Ann Lippard". Cambridge Day. 2013-09-09. Retrieved 2013-11-06. 

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