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NU professor receives Schoellkopf Award in recognition of work on Coronavirus therapeutics

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NIAGARA UNIVERSITY — Dr. Mary McCourt, professor of chemistry at Niagara University, was recently honored with the 2020 Jacob F. Schoellkopf Medal in chemical technology from the Western New York section of the American Chemical Society. The award, “in recognition of her pioneering contributions to the development of drug delivery methods for the treatment of breast cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease, and for her outstanding dedication to teaching and mentoring,” was presented at a ceremony delayed due to Covid-19.

Dr. Mary McCourt, professor of chemistry at Niagara University, accepts the 2020 Jacob F. Schoellkopf Medal from Dr. Luis Sanchez, NU associate professor of chemistry. The honor recognizes her pioneering contributions in chemical technology. (Photo courtesy of Niagara University)

McCourt holds 14 patents for the CholestosomeTM technology, which was developed at Niagara University and is moving toward commercialization via her company, MMC Lipid Bioservices Inc. The organization is concerned with optimization of the formulation technology for CholestosomeTM, which has recently focused on developing therapies for treatment of coronaviruses, particularly Covid-19.

With her Niagara University colleagues, Dr. Lawrence Mielnicki, Julie Hughes and Mary Irving, in partnership with Dr. Jerome J. Schentag, chief executive officer of CPL Associates LLC and emeritus professor of pharmacy at SUNY Buffalo, McCourt has been testing ways CholestosomeTM technology can be applied to therapies that would reduce the viral load in patients with Covid-19 and other coronaviruses.

A member of the faculty of NU’s Department of Chemistry, Biochemistry and Physics since 1999, McCourt’s critical expert areas include computational chemistry and molecular modeling, cancer-targeted drug design, and structural biology with emphasis on lipids. Her main areas of research are the development of CholestosomeTM technology and urine-based biomarker analysis for diagnostic screens focused on breast cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.

McCourt earned a B.A/B.S. in chemistry/history, an M.A. in history, and a Ph.D. in chemistry from SUNY at Buffalo.

The Western New York section of the American Chemical Society has awarded the Schoellkopf Medal, which was named in honor of chemical industry entrepreneur Jacob F. Schoellkopf, founder of National Aniline Works, to one locally based chemist each year since 1931. It is the oldest ACS local section award in the nation and, in part, is a testimony of achievement in chemical technology on the Niagara Frontier.

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