College of Engineering researchers win second green chemistry award

D. Tyler McQuade, Ph.D., and B. Frank Gupton, Ph.D.
From left: D. Tyler McQuade, Ph.D., and B. Frank Gupton, Ph.D.

Frank Gupton, Ph.D., the Floyd D. Gottwald Jr. Chair and chair of the Department of Chemical and Life Science Engineering, and D. Tyler McQuade, Ph.D., professor of chemical engineering, have received a 2018 Green Chemistry Challenge Award from the American Chemical Society (ACS).

The Green Chemistry Challenge Awards recognize corporations and institutions for developing new chemical processes or products that reduce waste and hazardous chemicals.

One award was given in each of five categories. Gupton and McQuade received the Academic Award for their work on the HIV drug nevirapine. The results of the process they redesigned included a nearly 40 percent increase in yield and a reduction in the waste generated. The process, which was implemented through the Clinton Health Access Initiative, reduced the raw material cost by up to 40 percent and ultimately lowered the drug’s price.

Gupton is founder of the Medicines for All Institute, which seeks to increase access to lifesaving medications for HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and other diseases around the world. McQuade, former acting director of the Defense Science Office at the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), is a partner in the institute.

McQuade said the contributions of many academic scientists and engineers who seek to create a positive impact on the world are eventually recognized, but often after they are no longer doing research. “Frank and I are among the lucky few who get to see the fruits of our labor — and that of our co-workers — while we are still working hard at our craft,” he said. “We are honored that the ACS recognized our team’s success.”

The awards program began in 1996 under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The 2018 awards were fully supported by the ACS Green Chemistry Institute, an institute dedicated to green and sustainable chemistry and engineering.

Earlier this year, Gupton and McQuade also won the 2018 ACS Award for Affordable Green Chemistry.