ESA in Gold 2023 for Professor Giovanni Appendino

This year the jury decided to bestow the most prestigious award of our Society, the Egon Stahl-Award (ESA) in Gold, to one of the most distinguished and innovative natural product scientists worldwide, Giovanni Appendino, Emeritus Professor of the University of Eastern Piedmont in Novara, Italy, for his outstanding life-time achievements combining natural products isolation and structure elucidation with medicinal chemistry and pharmacology.

Every third year the GA confers the Egon Stahl Award (ESA) in Gold, which, according to the bylaws, is the highest distinction of our society and acknowledges life-time achievements of eminent scientists in our field.

This medal is bestowed for outstanding scientific lifetime work of a research scientist who has been closely attached to Pharmaceutical Biology (Pharmacognosy, Chemistry of Natural Products), in its whole range, through his/her scientific work.

Professor Giovanni Appendino not only fulfils all criteria for the prize. With this award our society is proud to decorate and honour one of the most distinguished and innovative natural product scientists worldwide. It is his enduring and outstanding contribution to our research field, his imminent achievements in natural product drug discovery, his efforts in natural product education, his engagement for the GA and his outstanding and longstanding editorial work, which renders him an inspiring role model for all natural product scientists and the most outstanding candidate for the GA’s highest distinction.

Giovanni Appendino is Emeritus Professor at University of Eastern Piedmont in Novara, Italy. His research activity has taken inspiration from natural products to address issues of relevance in various realms of the study of medicinal and edible plants, interfacing phytochemical research with drug discovery, organic synthesis and the study of chemoreception. Four classes of natural products have received particular attention: taxoids, phorboids, medium-sized cyclic isoprenoids, and phytocannabinoids. The studies in the field of cannabinoids have resulted in the discovery of two semisynthetic derivatives currently under phase 2 development with orphan drug status in EU and USA, and those on phorboids on the development of practical processes for the isolation and derivatization of ultra-irritant compounds like ingenol- and phorbol esters and resiniferatoxin. He has edited the Journal Fitoterapia from 2010-2022, and has served in the Advisory Board of Planta Medica, the Journal of Natural Products, Natural Product Research and the European Journal of Organic Chemistry.

At the 71st GA Congress, which was organized by Professor Dr. Helen Sheridan and Dr. Gaia Scalabrino at Trinity College Dublin from July 2-7, 2023, in Dublin, Ireland, he fascinated the 600 delegates with his award lecture dedicated to “Tradition and Innovation in Natural Product Research”.