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Sanford ’96 Awarded 2011 MacArthur Fellowship

Melanie Sanford. (courtesy the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.)
Melanie Sanford. (courtesy the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.)

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Melanie Sanford '96, a former member of the Yale gymnastics team, was recently named one of 22 recipients of a 2011 MacArthur Fellowship. As part of her fellowship, Sanford will receive an unrestricted award of $500,000.

Sanford's work focuses on novel approaches to organic synthesis using metal-based agents to catalyze reactions. Her work to date holds significant promise for industrial chemistry, and specifically for pharmaceutical development. Moreover, Sanford's techniques are designed to minimize generation of toxic by-products, thereby reducing the environmental impact of her science.

Sanford is currently Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Chemistry at the University of Michigan. She received a Ph.D. in 2001 from the California Institute of Technology and was a postdoctoral fellow at Princeton University from 2001 to 2003. She has co-authored more than 60 scientific articles, reviews and book chapters in publications ranging from Journal of the American Chemical Society to Organometallics and Current Methods in Inorganic Chemistry.

As an undergraduate, Sanford was a four-year varsity athlete and a member of the 1993, 1995 and 1996 Ivy Classic winning teams. She was named an NCAA Academic All-American all four years and won the 1996 ECAC Scholar-Athlete Award.

Anna Mitescu Plourde '96, Sanford's teammate throughout her time at Yale, was incredibly pleased with the news of Sanford's award.

"She is one of the smartest, humblest, and most talented people I have ever met, and she was the epitome of a student-athlete while at Yale," said Plourde.

For more information on Sanford's work, please click here.

Report filed by Margaret Greenberg '12, Yale Sports Publicity