Chemist Phil Crews earns mentorship award for work with undergrad researchers

Phil Crews
Phil Crews

Phil Crews, professor emeritus of chemistry and biochemistry at UC Santa Cruz, is among five awardees chosen by the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation for the 2016 Senior Scientist Mentor Program. The award provides a $20,000 grant to emeritus faculty in the chemical sciences in support of undergraduate research to be conducted under their guidance.

The Crews lab isolates and characterizes unique chemicals from sponges and marine microorganisms, searching for compounds with potential therapeutic value in treating human diseases. The new grant will support a program of “Adventures in Bioorganic Chemistry for Undergraduates: Exploring Small Molecule Scaffold Diversity.”

Crews has mentored undergraduate researchers throughout his career at UC Santa Cruz. In 1994, with a grant from the National Institutes of Health, he founded the ACCESS program to introduce community college students from underrepresented backgrounds to research opportunities at UC Santa Cruz. Crews, who retired from regular teaching duties in 2012, maintains an active research laboratory. He was awarded an Edward A. Dickson Emeriti Professorship for the 2015-16 academic year.

“Many emeritus faculty no longer teach courses nor take on graduate students. Their wealth of experience and knowledge, however, makes them a unique and valuable educational resource for undergraduates,” said Mark Cardillo, executive director of the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation. “This program provides for the development of a relationship where these senior scientists guide the students in perhaps their first research experience to generate new knowledge. Firsthand experience with the scientific research process is of value to all students, some of whom may be motivated to join the next generation of chemists.”

Established in 1946, the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation is a leading non-profit organization devoted to the advancement of the chemical sciences.