Dr. Mary McCourt, professor of chemistry at Niagara University, was presented with the 2020 Jacob F. Schoellkopf Medal on April 17, 2022, in recognition of her achievement in chemical technology. The award ceremony was delayed due to COVID-19.
Dr. McCourt was selected for the award by the Western New York section of the American Chemical Society “in recognition of her pioneering contributions to the development of drug delivery methods for the treatment of breast cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease and for her outstanding dedication to teaching and mentoring.”
A member of the faculty of NU’s Department of Chemistry, Biochemistry, and Physics since 1999, Dr. McCourt’s critical expert areas include computational chemistry and molecular modeling, cancer-targeted drug design, and structural biology with emphasis on lipids. Her main areas of research are the development of CholestosomeTM technology and urine-based biomarker analysis for diagnostic screens focused on breast cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.
Dr. McCourt holds 14 patents for the CholestosomeTM technology, which was developed at Niagara University and is moving toward commercialization. In 2006, she launched MMC Lipid Bioservices, Inc., which is concerned with optimization of the formulation technology for CholestosomeTM.
Her work with CholestosomeTM recently has focused on developing therapies for treatment of coronaviruses, in particular COVID-19. She and her Niagara University colleagues, Dr. Lawrence Mielnicki, Julie Hughes, and Mary Irving, in partnership with Dr. Jerome J. Schentag, chief executive officer of CPL Associates LLC and emeritus professor of pharmacy at SUNY Buffalo, have been testing ways the Cholestosome technology can be applied to therapies that would reduce the viral load in patients with COVID-19 and other coronaviruses.
Dr McCourt earned a B.A/B.S. in chemistry/history, an M.A. in history, and a Ph.D. in chemistry from SUNY at Buffalo.
The Western New York section of the American Chemical Society has awarded the Schoellkopf Medal, which was named in honor of chemical industry entrepreneur Jacob F. Schoellkopf, founder of National Aniline Works, to one locally based chemist each year since 1931. It is the oldest ACS local section award in the nation and, in part, is a testimony of achievement in chemical technology on the Niagara Frontier.