Roche Honors Colorado State University Professor, Student as Next Generation Chemists

Note to Reporters: A photo of Tomislav Rovis is available with the news release at

Roche, a leading pharmaceutical company, has recognized Colorado State University Professor Tomislav Rovis and his doctoral student, Daniel DiRocco, for their research accomplishments as next-generation chemists.

Rovis was one of only two professors nationally honored by the company. Roche also recognized a dozen students from around the country from such institutions as Harvard, MIT, Columbia and the University of California, Berkeley.

Colorado State University’s graduate program in chemistry is considered one of the top 50 in the country.

In his research, Rovis uses small organic molecules to create tools or catalysts that make more elaborate molecules for pharmaceuticals that could lead to treatments for cancer and other diseases. This is a critical piece of research-and-development for pharmaceutical companies who must create and test thousands of molecules to fashion new drugs.

“This is a great honor for Dr. Rovis and Daniel – and for Colorado State University,” said Ellen Fisher, chair of the Department of Chemistry at Colorado State. “It is a testament to the strength of our faculty and the innovative science discoveries taking place in our department.”

As part of the Roche honor, Rovis has received an unrestricted grant to support his ongoing research. DiRocco received a crystal award and an honorarium.

“This symposium serves as recognition of graduate students and faculty members who are providing fundamental advances in the field of synthetic organic chemistry,” according to a statement by Hans-Joachim Boehm, vice president and head, Medicinal Chemistry Nutley, and global head, Chemistry, at Roche.

U.S. News and World Report recently named the graduate program in chemistry at Colorado State University one of the top 50 programs in the country. The ranking was included in the 2011 Edition of America’s Best Graduate Schools, which was released this summer.

The chemistry department is a Program of Research and Scholarly Excellence at Colorado State. Research Ph.D. programs are available in analytical, inorganic, organic, physical, and materials chemistry as well as chemistry education. Interdisciplinary programs of study that cross traditional boundaries are encouraged and many faculty members have joint appointments in engineering and life sciences departments across campus. The department’s total grant expenditures exceed $7 million annually.