Named after the late Professor Adrien Albert, formerly Professor of Chemistry at the Australian National University, Canberra, this Lectureship was awarded biennially. The lecture dealt with the relationship between heterocyclic chemistry and biological activity. The lectureship was discontinued in 2009.
Albert was born in 1907 in Sydney, Australia, where he was educated and completed his Bachelor’s degree, receiving the University of Sydney University Medal in 1932. In 1934 he moved to London where he completed his PhD and DSc working on acridine antiseptics at the College of the Pharmaceutical Society, University of London. In 1938 he returned to the University of Sydney to lecture in organic chemistry.
During the Second World War, Albert was employed to help generate large quantities of proflavine antiseptic and an antimalarial drug (Atebrin), and during his research also developed a new antiseptic called aminacrine. This work gained Albert financial support from the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council, which he used to build a chemotherapy team working on acridines.
In 1948 Albert was appointed Foundation Chair of Medical Chemistry at the John Curtin School of Medical Research at Australian National University, where he established a Department of Medical Chemistry.
Albert’s research focussed on medical chemistry, specifically heterocyclic chemistry and metal binding in the field of anti-microbials. He developed the concept of selective toxicity, where certain chemicals can affect specific cells in the body without harming others. He was the author of numerous textbooks including “The Selectivity of Drugs”, “Xenobiosis”, “Ionisation Constants” and “Heterocyclic Chemistry”.
Albert was a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, was made Officer of Order in Australia for services to medical chemistry and received a posthumous honorary DSc from the University of Sydney in 1990.
The Lectureship was established through a bequest from Adrien Albert. In 2021, the purposes of this Trust were amended, and remaining monies were combined with other generous bequests and donations to become part of the RSC Recognition Fund.