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At the 18th International Symposium on Carotenoids in Lucerne, Switzerland, the following awards were presented to outstanding carotenoid scientists who have made significant contributions to the carotenoid field.

The International Carotenoid Society Recognizes Excellence

OTTO ISLER AWARD 2017. For a lifetime of achievement in research on carotenoid chemistry and of dedicated service to the carotenoid field. 

Hanspeter Pfander:  Dr. Pfander spent most of his career at the University of Bern where his contributions include work in the field of organic synthesis of carotenoids, the characterization of naturally occurring carotenoids, and as an editor and founding member of the International Carotenoid Society. During his career he published more than 100 original papers with major contributions in the synthesis and characterization of carbohydrate esters of carotenoic acids, primarily crocetin.  He has been the supervisor and mentor of many young carotenoid chemists, and done much to stimulate the development and modernization of carotenoid research in Hungary and Romania.  He has been awarded honorary doctorates by the University of Pecs, Hungary and the University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine, Cluj-Napoca, Romania.  Professor Pfander is one of the three editors of the well-known Carotenoids book series and the Carotenoids Handbook. Since his retirement from University of Bern, he has worked to build the private company, CaroteNature, which supplies well-characterized carotenoid samples to researchers worldwide.  In 1975, Professor Pfander was the Organizer for the 4th International Symposium on Carotenoids hosted in Bern, Switzerland.  One of the founders of the International Carotenoid Society he was a member of the steering committee that set up the Society and served as a Councillor.  

 NORMAN KRINSKY AWARD 2017.  For research excellence in nutrition and disease prevention.

 Steven J. Schwartz:  Professor Schwartz’s work in the field of carotenoids has focused on investigating the bioavailability, metabolism and physiological significance of carotenoids in human health.  He began his career at North Carolina State University in the Department of Food Science in 1983 after completing his Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.   He remained at North Carolina State University until 1996 when he moved his lab to The Ohio State University where he is currently The Carl E. Hass Endowed Professor of Food Science & Technology and Director for Personalized Food and Nutritional Metabolomics for Health.  Of particular note, Professor Schwartz has advanced our understanding of bioavailability of carotenoids and their metabolites developing analytical methods to investigate differential uptake of the geometric isomers of lycopene as well as other carotenoids.  He has been a leader in the application of HPLC-Tandem MS as a tool to identify the role of dietary phytonutrients and their metabolites in cancer prevention.  His group’s early work demonstrated that the Z- or cis-isomers of lycopene are preferentially absorbed from the human gut relative to the predominant E- or trans-isomer present in plants and is now investigating the influence that phytonutrients have an the human metabolome.  Professor Schwartz is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and also the Institute of Food Technologists.  He was recognized in 2013 by the American Society for Nutrition and received the Gilbert A. Leveille Award and in 2015 was named the Distinguished Senior Faculty Research Award from Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center.

TREVOR GOODWIN AWARD 2017. For achievement in research on carotenoid biochemistry and a lifetime of dedicated service to the carotenoid field.

Richard Cogdell:  Professor Cogdell currently holds the Hooker Chair of Botany at the University of Glasgow.  He completed his Ph.D. in Biochemistry at the University of Bristol in 1973 and following a sojourn in the United States where he completed post-doctoral fellowships at Cornell University and the University of Washington he joined the faculty at the University of Glasgow in 1975.  His research, aimed at understanding the structure/function relationships of the pigment-protein complexes involved in energy transduction and electron transfer in photosynthesis has resulted in over 250 publications in peer-reviewed journals including the journals Science and Nature.  Professor Cogdell’s lab isolated and produced high quality single crystals of the light-harvesting complex from the purple bacterium, Rhodopseudomas acidophila, leading to the solution of the three dimensional structure.  This landmark work was published in the journal Nature in 1995 and was instrumental in the development of our current understanding of how energy is harvested by photosynthetic organisms.  How carotenoids function in the primary reactions in photosynthesis has always been a focus of his research. Professor Cogdell was awarded the Alexander von Humboldt Prize in 1996 and in 2007 was named a Fellow the Royal Society for his contributions to our understanding of photosynthesis.  He is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and a Fellow of the Society of Biology.  In addition to work as a scientist, Professor Cogdell is an able administrator at his home institution, The University of Glasgow, where he has served as Chair of Botany, Director of the Glasgow Biomedical Research Center, Director of the Institute of Molecular, Cell and Systems Biology and Deputy Head of College of Medical and Veterinary and Life Sciences.  A founding member of the International Carotenoid Society, between 2005 and 2008, he served as the 2nd President of the International Carotenoid Society and between 2014 and 2016 was President of the International Society of Photosynthesis Research. Our Society members are all familiar with the remarkable clarity of his plenary lectures on the structure and function of the light-harvesting complex. 

*GEORGE BRITTON YOUNG INVESTIGATOR AWARD 2017.  In recognition for excellent and consistent contributions to the field of carotenoids by an early career researcher.

 Ralf Welsch:  Dr. Ralf Welsch obtained his PhD in Biology in 2000 from the University of Freiburg, where he currently is Research Scientist in the Department of Cell Biology.  He completed his habilitation in 2015.  His research has centered on the improvement of provitamin A content in crop plants including the development of Golden Rice and newer initiatives on the Golden Cassava and Golden Potato as a member of Peter Beyer’s research group.  In recent years, Dr. Welsch has independently developed the use of Arabidopsis as a tool for applied carotenoid research investigating the regulation of phytoene synthase (PSY).  He has characterized specific PSY isoforms devoted to abscisic acid and strigolactone-specific carotenoid biosynthesis and identified feedback control mechanisms acting at the level of translation.  Working on carotenoid sequestration he has shown that increased carotenoid pathway flux results in the generation of crystal-bearing chromoplasts and determines the high carotenoid levels in orange carrot varieties.  In collaboration with Li Li’s research group, his work has also contributed to clarify the role of the Orange (Or) gene in carotenoid accumulation and the work was recently published in papers appearing in Plant Physiology and The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.  He is presently a researcher at the University of Freiburg.

*The George Britton Young Investigator Award will be renamed in the future,  It will be called the The George Britton Early Career Award. 

PRESIDENT’S AWARD 2017:  In recognition of outstanding service to the International Carotenoid Society and consistent contributions to carotenoid science.

Frederick Khachik:  Dr. Khachik earned his Ph.D. as an organic chemist in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology in 1978 and completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Maryland in 1982.  He took a joint appointment with the US Department of Agriculture at the Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center and The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C. in 1983 as a research chemist where he began a productive career investigation the nutritional sources of carotenoids, their bioavailability, their metabolism and bioactivity.  He joined the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Maryland, College Park in 1997 where he held the position of Senior Research Scientist until 2015 when he joined Kemin Human Nutrition and Health where he is a Research Fellow. He has made especially noteworthy contributions to the description of the carotenoids and metabolites present in human serum, milk and ocular tissues.  He holds numerous patents for purification and synthesis of carotenoids. Dr. Khachik is the recipient of the Astellas Foundation Award from the American Chemical Society in 2009 for significantly contributing to scientific research that improved public health.  Dr. Khachik served as President of the International Carotenoid Society between 2008 and 2011 when he was responsible for the creation of the current modern look of the Society’s website.

Adrian Wyss:  Dr. Adrian Wyss received his diploma and his Ph.D. in molecular biology from the University of Basel.  Dr. Wyss joined Ciba-Geigy in 1987 where he worked on HIV until he took a position at F. Hoffmann La-Roche Ltd. 1989. In 1995 he changed to Roche Vitamins (which later merged with DSM) where he is currently a senior scientist in the Department of Human Nutrition and Health at DSM Nutritional Products Ltd.  Dr. Wyss has a long record of accomplishments in development of knock-out mice to enable detailed study of the significance of specific genes.  Working to understand the importance of beta-carotene central cleavage enzymes in 1999 he successfully cloned and characterized BCDO1. Subsequently, he set out to develop mouse models lacking functional genes for BCDO1 and/or BCDO2.  The utility of these animal models to clarification of the significance of these genes to carotenoid nutrition, carotenoid function and metabolism, as well as overall health is hard to overstate.  Today, Dr. Wyss is director for human studies involving beta-carotene and vitamin A at DSM.  He is a member of the Organizing Committee for ICS2017 and a current member of the Council for the International Carotenoid Society.


Awards for student/young investigator posters plus two honorable mentions

First Place- V. Sebelik
Two-Photon Spectroscopy of Carotenoids (Mentor; T. Polivka; University of South Bohemia, Czech Republic)
Second Place - J.L. Watkins
Functional characterization of an enzyme that catalyses lutein esterification in wheat grain (Mentor: B. J. Pogson; Australian National University, Australia)
Third Place - E. Webb 
Effects of light at night on carotenoid allocation in king quail (Mentor:  K. J. McGraw; Arizona State University, USA)
Honorable Mention   -  M. Fu
Dietary tomato powder supplementation increased gut microbial richness and decreased Clostridium abundance in HFD-fed BCO1 and BCO2 double- knockout mice (Mentor:  X.-D. Wang; Tufts U. - USDA Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center, USA)
Honorable Mention   D.  Phelan
Analysis of lutein, zeaxanthin and meso-zeaxanthin in hen organs  (Mentor:  J. Nolan; Waterford Institute of Technology, Ireland)

Student Travel Awards 

The International Carotenoid Society Recognizes Fellows

Fellows of the Society – This Honorary recognition of members is bestowed for longstanding and consistent contributions. In this inaugural year for the recognition of Fellows of the International Carotenoid Society (FICS) we have sought to honor many who are emeritus members in addition to those who are present members. Click here to view full list

Awards Archives


08/21/2012 - In Memorium: A pioneer and highly respected authority on carotenoid chemistry, Professor em. Conrad H. Eugster

Carotenoid News - Published twice a year, in February and August by CAROTENOID RESEARCH INTERACTIVE GROUP (CARIG)