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News Release

American Chemical Society Honors UAlbany Chemist Eric Block

Contact: Lisa James Goldsberry (518) 437-4980

ALBANY, N.Y. (February 27, 2004) -- Eric Block, a Distinguished Professor of Chemistry at the University at Albany and one of the world's leading authorities on organosulfur and organoselenium chemistry, is the recipient of the American Chemical Society's 2003 Kenneth A. Spencer Award, presented by the Kansas City Section of the ACS. The honor recognizes excellence in food and agricultural chemistry. Block will travel to Kansas City, Missouri on March 1 and 2 to accept the award.

Block is renowned for his work in Allium chemistry, or the study of the chemistry of garlic, onions, and related plants of the genus Allium. His research is particularly relevant to medicine: epidemiological and medical studies suggest that individuals who regularly consume garlic and other Alliums experience a lower incidence of stomach and prostate cancers; longer blood-clotting times; and lower lipid levels, indirectly translating into reduced risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease.

A graduate of Queens College and Harvard University, Block joined the UAlbany faculty in 1981 and served as department of chemistry chair from 1985 to 1991. The State University Board of Trustees appointed him Distinguished Professor, the highest rank attainable by a SUNY faculty member, in 2002. He has written three books and 200 refereed articles. He also holds several U.S. and world patents.

Presented each year since 1955, the Kenneth A. Spencer Award was established by the president of the Spencer Chemical Company, who felt that "the efforts by chemists who toil for better living through better agriculture and better foods should be rewarded." Previous recipients include the late Conrad A. Elvehjem, a biochemist who discovered the nutrient niacin and helped to identify the Vitamin B complex; and the late Johns Hopkins School of Public Health researcher E. V. McCollum, who discovered vitamins A and D. For more information on the award visit

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