Charles Thom Award and Lecture

Charles Thom Award and Lecture2018-06-28T15:56:36+00:00

2018 Charles Thom Awardee – Ben Shen

Thursday, August 16: 1-2 pm

Natural Product Biosynthesis, Engineering, and Drug Discovery

About Ben Shen

Born and raised in China, Ben received B.Sc. in chemistry from Hangzhou University (1982) and M.S. in plant natural products from the Chinese Academy of Sciences (under the late Prof. Chutsin Liu, 1984). Ben came to the U.S. in 1986 to pursue graduate education in natural product biosynthesis, received Ph.D. in organic chemistry and biochemistry from Oregon State University (under Prof. Steven J. Gould, 1991), and carried out postdoctoral research in molecular biology and biochemistry at University of Wisconsin-Madison (under the late Prof. C. Richard Hutchinson, 1991-1995). Ben served on the faculty at the University of California, Davis (Department of Chemistry, 1995-2001) and University of Wisconsin-Madison (School of Pharmacy and Department of Chemistry, 2001-2010) before joining The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) in 2011. Currently, Ben is Professor of Chemistry and Molecular Medicine and serves as the Chair of the Department of Chemistry for the TSRI Jupiter campus and Director of Natural Products Library Initiative at TSRI. Current research in the Shen Lab includes chemistry, biochemistry, and genetics of natural product biosynthesis and engineering in actinomycetes, natural product discovery from underexplored microorganisms, and natural product-based anticancer and anti-infective drug discovery. The Shen lab has authored >250 publications and 11 published patents

About the Charles Thom Award

SIMB developed this Award, named for Charles Thom, a pioneer in industrial microbiology and mycology, to honor researchers for their exceptional merit in industrial microbiology and biotechnology, and their independent of thought and originality that added appreciably to scientific knowledge.

Attendance at the Annual Meeting award session is required to receive the award. The award consists of an honorarium of $1000 for the lecture (if provided), a one year membership in SIMB and an appropriately inscribed plaque, all of which are presented at the Annual Meeting by the SIMB President. The SIMB will reimburse the awardee for travel such as coach airfare, meeting registration, special activities, meals and annual meeting hotel expenses.


As evidenced by their CV and current list of publications, recipients should have made outstanding research contributions in industrial microbiology and/or biotechnology. While activities such as journal editing, organizing and chairing conferences, and serving scientific societies in official capacities may also be considered when judging their contributions towards research, the most important and overriding factor in selecting nominees for this Award is research accomplishments.

Nominations process

Any current member of SIMB may submit a nomination and the nomination must be seconded by another current SIMB member in writing/email. The nomination packet should list in detail the nominee’s service to SIMB and contain the supporting member’s written seconding note and submitted to the Awards and Honors Committee (Committee). The Committee will review the information for completeness and whether the nominee meets the aforementioned criteria. The Committee will review all nomination packages and vote to select the candidate deemed to best fulfill the requirements of the Porter Award for a positive recommendation. The Committee chair will provide the selected candidate’s name and supportive information plus the non-selected candidate(s) information to the SIMB President and the BOD for approval.

Charles Thom Awardees

2017 – Kristala Jones Prather
2016 – Huimin Zhao
2015 – Richard Baltz
2014 – Gregg Whited
2013 – William Bentley
2012 – Sang Yup Lee
2011 – C. Herb Ward
2010 – Michael Adams
2009 – David H. Sherman
2008 – James Liao
2007 – Gregory Stephanopoulos
2006 – Richard Monaghan

2005 – Claire M. Fraser
2004 – Geoffrey Michael Gadd
2003 – J. Gregory Zeikus
2002 – Michael H. Gold
2001 – Mervyn Bibb
2000 – Leonard Katz
1999 – Akira Kimura
1998 – C. Richard Hutchinson
1997 – Rita T. Colwell
1996 – Simon Silver
1995 – Teruhiko Beppu
1994 – Paul A. Lemke

1993 – Julian Davies
1992 – Allen I. Laskin
1991 – Satoshi Ōmura
1990 – Charles L. Hershberger
1989 – Edward Katz
1988 – William E. Sandine
1987 – Graham G. Stewart
1986 – Shukuo Kinoshita
1985 – Leo C. Vining
1984 – Richard P. Elander
1983 – Arthur E. Humphrey
1982 – Hubert & Mary Lechevalier

1980 – Clifford W. Hesseltine
1979 – David Perlman
1978 – Arnold L. Demain
1977 – Robert H. Burris
1976 – Robert L. Starkey
1974 – Warren P. Iverson
1973 – H. Boyd Woodruff
1971 – Leland A. Underkofler
1970 – Arthur M. Kaplan
1967 – Kenneth B. Raper