UL Professor Kieran Hodnett receives Boyle Higgins Gold Medal

Professor Kieran Hodnett, UL receiving the Boyle Higgins Gold Medal

In recognition of his outstanding contribution to chemistry, Professor Kieran Hodnett, a member of the Chemical and Environmental Sciences department (CES) at the University of Limerick and Scientific Director of the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) funded Synthesis and Solid State Pharmaceutical Centre (SSPC), recently received the 2016 Institute of Chemistry of Ireland Boyle Higgins Gold Medal.

Upon receiving the medal, Professor Kieran Hodnett said: “I wish to express my sincere thanks to all those who expressed their good wishes towards me on the occasion of the award of the Institute of Chemistry Boyle-Higgins Medal for 2016. For myself, I just want to say that I regard the honour as one for the Synthesis and Solid State Pharmaceutical Centre as a whole and that I am accepting the medal in that light.”

Professor Hodnett studied at UCC and then completed his PhD in Catalysis. He carried  out his postdoctoral research at Universite Catholique de Louvain in Belgium and at the Department of Chemistry, University of Waterloo, Ontario. He was awarded a D.Sc Degree of the National Universe of Ireland in 1996. Professor Hodnett joined the University of Limerick in 1984 (NIHE, Limerick at that time) and has served as Head of Department, Founding Director of Materials and Surface Science Institute (MSSI), Dean of the Faculty of Science and Engineering and Scientific Director of the Synthesis and Solid State Pharmaceutical Centre.

Professor Hodnett’s research interests now focus on crystallization of pharmaceutical compounds, the processes whereby crystalline compounds can transform from one structure into another, and in so doing change their bioavailaibility. The Boyle-Higgins lecture titled ‘Polymorphic Transformations in Pharmaceutical Compounds’, presents aspects of the mechanisms whereby solution mediated polymorphic transformations occur, with a particular emphasis on active pharmaceutical ingredients (API). This lecture described aspects of the solution mediated transformation of the metastable polymorphs of four medicines in widespread use, namely Carbamazepine, Piracetam, l-Glutamic acid and Sulphathiazole.

The Boyle Higgins Medal and Lecture Award is presented annually for research work carried out for either pure chemistry, applied and industrial chemistry or chemical education. The award is made for an outstanding and internationally recognised research contribution to the advancement of chemistry by a chemist of any nationality working in Ireland or by an Irish chemist working overseas.