Stephen J. Lippard

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Primary Section: 14, Chemistry
Secondary Section: 21, Biochemistry
Membership Type: Member (elected 1989)


Stephen J. Lippard is the Emeritus Arthur Amos Noyes Professor of Chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was born in Pittsburgh, PA and studied at Haverford College (B.A., Chemistry) and MIT (Ph.D., Inorganic Chemistry). After a postdoctoral year at MIT during 1965-66, he joined the faculty of Columbia University where he served until 1983, when he moved to MIT. He retired from MIT in 2017 and moved to Washington, D.C. to be near family, where he serves as a writer and consultant. He has been elected to the US National Academy of Sciences, US National Academy of Medicine, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, American Philosophical Society, German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, Royal Irish Academy, and Italian Chemical Society. His awards include the National Medal of Science, Benjamin Franklin Medal in Chemistry, Robert A. Welch Award in Chemistry, Priestley Medal, Centenary Medal, Pauling Gold Medal, Killian Faculty Achievement Award (awarded yearly to one MIT faculty member), Cotton Medal, Breslow Award, Sacconi Medal (Italian Chemical Society), and co-recipient of the first Fredrickson Prize for Research in the Neurobiology of Zinc. He is the recipient of several honorary degrees, most recently from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (D.Sc., 2018). 

Research Interests

Research in the laboratory spans the areas of inorganic chemistry, bioinorganic chemistry, and neurochemistry. Included are the synthesis, reactivity, and structure determination of diiron complexes as models for metalloenzyme active sites; studies of the mechanism of action of platinum anticancer drugs and of means to improve platinum-based cancer therapy; chemistry and catalysis at diiron centers in methane monooxygenase, toluene/o-xylene monooxygenase and related bacterial multicomponent monooxygenases; and zinc and NO signaling at the synapse.

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