Richard Lerner
  • 1994 Wolf Prize in Chemistry


Richard Lerner is an American research chemist. Best known for his work on catalytic antibodies, Lerner served as President of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) in 1991, and is currently a member of its Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology, in La Jolla, California.

Education and Work Experience

1964, M.D. from Stanford Medical School
1965, Research Fellow, Department of Experimental Pathology, Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation
1987, Director, Research Institute of Scripps Clinic 1991, President, The Scripps Research Institute
1996-Present, Member of the Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology

Honors and Awards

1985, Foreign Member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 1991, Member of the National Academy of Science, USA
1994, Wolf Prize in Chemistry
2000, Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Major Academic Achievements

Professor Lerner developed catalytic antibodies and combinatorial antibody library technology, a field that takes as its principle goal an understanding of how the binding energy of proteins can be utilized to facilitate chemical transformations. The antibody molecule with its programmable binding energy has emerged as an important tool for chemistry, not only from a practical sense but also for an understanding of reaction mechanisms and the evolution of the catalytic activity of proteins. In addition to
his research into catalytic antibodies, Lerner has led extensive studies into protein structure, characterized cis-9,10-octadecenoamide, a novel lipid hormone that induces sleep, and provided the first evidence of a role for ozone in human disease.