UAlbany Professor Receives SUNY's Highest Honor

Contact: Lisa James Goldsberry (518) 437-4989

ALBANY, N.Y. (November 6, 2002) -- The University at Albany's Eric Block has been appointed a Distinguished Professor by the State University of New York (SUNY) Board of Trustees, the highest rank that can be achieved by a SUNY educator.

Block, an organic chemist, is actively involved in allium chemistry, which is the analysis, isolation, spectroscopy, synthetic and mechanistic organosulfur chemistry and applied work on onion, garlic and related economically important plants. He has spent more than 20 years exploring the chemical basis of a worldwide tradition of folk medicine based on garlic and onions -- today's epidemiological and medical studies suggest that individuals regularly consuming garlic show a lower incidence of stomach cancer, have longer blood clotting times and show lower blood lipid levels (which indirectly translates into reduced risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease). A recent report from China showed that diets heavy with vegetables from the allium food group might reduce the risk of prostate cancer.

"Professor Eric Block is one of the world's leading scholars in organosulfur and organoselenium chemistry. His studies of allium are recognized as being among the most fundamental to date. His scholarship includes three books, four U.S. or world patents and 194 articles in refereed journals," said UAlbany President Karen R. Hitchcock. "Additionally, he is an excellent teacher and mentor, and has made strong and lasting service contributions at all levels of the academy. Simply put, Professor Block has all the requisite qualities we look for in that unique cadre of faculty who are elevated to the State University of New York's most senior academic rank."

Block joined the UAlbany faculty in 1981. Prior to coming to Albany, he was a professor at the University of Missouri at St. Louis. He earned his B.S. from Queens College and both his master's and Ph.D. from Harvard University.

Established in 1844 and designated a center of the State University of New York in 1962, the University at Albany's broad mission of excellence in undergraduate and graduate education, research and public service engages 17,000 diverse students in eight degree-granting schools and colleges.

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