Dr. Borzelleca receives Virginia Life Achievement in Science Award

Dr. Borzelleca recieves awardDr. Joseph Borzelleca
Emeritus Professor, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology Internationally Renowned Food, Drug and Chemical Safety Expert Receives Virginia Life Achievement in Science Award 2001

How safe is the food you eat? Are there health risks in added food dyes? Should you be concerned about caffeine in your coffee or a fat substitute you’re beginning to add to your diet? What can be done if you’re exposed to a toxic substance such as Kepone? What could help you if you became a victim of chemical warfare? Virginia Commonwealth University Pharmacology and Toxicology Professor Emeritus Joseph Borzelleca has spent his entire professional career looking for answers to these and hundreds of other safety questions. Now he is receiving the Life Achievement in Science Award 2001. Dr. Borzelleca and the other recipients are being introduced to state officials at the General Assembly. Borzelleca actually receives the award at a dinner at the Science Museum of Virginia on Monday, April 23. Call (804) 367-2639 to make reservations for the dinner.

In the mid-1970s workers at a Virginia chemical company making the pesticide Kepone started getting sick. Borzelleca and his team had already been studying the affects of Kepone when they were asked to consult on these cases. Their investigations assisted Virginia Commonwealth University’s Medical College of Virginia campus’ Dr. Philip Guzelian in successfully managing a Kepone antidote. Borzelleca has also developed a standard approach used worldwide to evaluate the safety of fat and sugar substitutes in your diet. He has worked with the Environmental Protection Agency to assess toxicity of contaminants in drinking water. He has worked with the Department of Labor to set standards for carcinogens in the workplace. He has worked with the Department of Defense and the U.S. Army to evaluate riot control agents and antidotes to nerve gases. Borzelleca is internationally recognized for his research on the safety of food, drug and cosmetic colors. He has served as chairman for the World Health Organization’s Joint Meeting on Pesticide Residues. He has consulted for the Food and Drug Administration, National Institute of Mental Health, National Cancer Institute, NATO, National Academy of Sciences, Federation of American Societies of Experimental Biology, foreign governments including France and Japan, and private industry.

Most of Borzelleca’s professional career has been spent at VCU’s Medical College of Virginia campus in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology. He started there as an assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology in 1959. He rose to associate professor, then full professor. Borzelleca headed the Division of Toxicology from 1972 to 1986. He became professor emeritus in 1996. Borzelleca has a bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry from St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. His master’s in pharmacology and physiology and doctorate in pharmacology and biochemistry are from Thomas Jefferson University’s Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia.

University of Michigan Medical School’s Dr. Bert La Du says Borzelleca deserves the high honor and recognition of the Life Achievement in Science Award. “He brings out the best in his colleagues,” says La Du,” because he has earned our respect by the high standards he sets for himself and for the people he works with.”

Borzelleca is one of five Virginians being honored this year. National Human Genome Research Institute Director Dr. Francis Sellers Collins and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Willis G. Worcester Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering Dr. Richard Claus are each being named Outstanding Scientist of 2001. Owens & Minor Chairman and Chief Executive Officer G. Gilmer Minor III is the Outstanding Industrialists of 2001. Carpenter Company Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Stanley Frank Pauley is Life Achievement in Industry 2001 recipient. Top honors are given each year by the Science Museum of Virginia and the commonwealth of Virginia .