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UHCOP Dean Lamar Pritchard, left, presents the Lifetime Achivement Award to Harold "Hal" Kohn, center, who is joined by longtime colleague and UHCOP faculty member Louis Williams.

Lifetime Achievement Award

College Honors Renowned Scientist-Inventor, UH Faculty Member Hal Kohn for Career in Teaching, Research and Mentorship

May 30 — UH College of Pharmacy recognized renowned scientist and inventor Harold "Hal" Kohn, Ph.D., who served as UH faculty member for more than 25 years, with a Lifetime Achievement Award May 19 for his contributions to research, teaching, program development and mentorship.

As part of the recognition, Kohn was invited to present a lecture on his academic and research journey to UHCOP faculty, as well as present a separate talk and participate in the regional 48th Annual MALTO Medicinal Chemistry-Pharmacognosy Meeting-in-Minature hosted by UHCOP May 22-24.

Kohn received his B.S. in chemistry from the University of Michigan in 1966 and a Ph.D. in chemistry from Penn State in 1971. He conducted postdoctoral research at Columbia University under the direction of one of chemistry’s imminent scientist, Professor Ronald Breslow, from 1971 to 1973.

He joined UH as an assistant professor of chemistry in 1983 and rose to the rank of full professor and endowed M.D. Anderson Professor. He also held a dual appointment in the department of Biochemical and Biophysical Sciences. He departed UH in 1999 to join the University of North Carolina, which recruited him to transform the institution's medicinal chemistry program.

At UNC, he was named Keenan Distinguished Professor with joint appointments in the Eshelman School of Pharmacy and the Department of Chemistry, chaired the university's Center for Faculty Excellence and served as founding director of the Bill and Karen Campbell Faculty Mentoring Program. Kohn also founded a commercial enterprise, NeuroGate Therapeutics Inc. for which he served as chief scientific officer from 2011-2014.

Kohn's research focused on the examination of the biological mechanisms of therapeutics agents at the molecular level and the design, synthesis and pharmacological evaluation of new therapeutic agents for neurological disorders, cancer and bacterial infections. His lab is credited with the discovery of the drug lacosamide (Vimpat), a first-in-class antiepileptic drug marketed worldwide by CB Pharma for the treatment of partial (focal) and generalized seizures.

Over the course of his career, Kohn authored/coauthored more than 180 articles in peer-reviewed journals, secured 10 U.S. and more than 25 international patents, and trained more than 60 doctoral and master's degree students and postdoctoral trainees. He was named to the National Academy of Inventors and has received the UH President's Medallion Award, American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy's Paul R. Dawson Biotechnology Award, and mentoring, service and alumni awards from UNC, UNC-Eschelman and Penn State Eberly College of Science.

After his retirement in 2015, Kohn and his wife Carol established the Kohn Charitable Trust with the aim of working to address inequalities in the U.S. The foundation has worked with the Gerald Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan to facilitate constructive discussions, promote scholarship, and advance progressive domestic social policies.