Chemist Pierce Named LORD Corporation Distinguished Scholar

Joshua Pierce works in his lab

The College of Sciences has named Joshua Pierce of the Department of Chemistry as the Hugh C. Lord, LORD Corporation Distinguished Scholar at NC State, effective May 3. The distinguished professorship was made possible thanks to a gift from LORD Corporation.

Pierce is a prominent chemist who joined the NC State faculty in 2012. His research uses synthetic chemistry to build molecules that can be used to create new drugs to fight infectious diseases, cancer and chronic pain. He has gained acclaim for his creative approaches in heterocyclic synthesis, multistep natural products synthesis and the application of these areas in chemical biology and medicinal chemistry.

“We are thrilled to honor Joshua for his important work to improve human health,” said Chris McGahan, dean of the College of Sciences. “Thanks to LORD Corporation’s generous philanthropy, we can recognize faculty innovators for their outstanding efforts in research and scholarship.”

“LORD’s founder, Hugh Lord, had a deep dedication to the collaboration between academia and industry,” said Seth Carruthers, director of LORD Chemical Technology. “The connection between education and innovation continues across LORD Corporation today. We are proud to support the NC State Department of Chemistry and all the extraordinary things it does for the future of science.”

Pierce has taken on important roles at the NC State Comparative Medicine Institute, where he is a member of the Executive Advisory Board, leader of the Natural Products to Drugs initiative, and associate director of Emerging and Infectious Diseases. In 2018, he founded Synoxa Sciences, which is working to develop small-molecule antibiotics that are effective against multidrug-resistant, life-threatening bacterial infections.

Pierce has been recognized for his work with the National Science Foundation Early Career Faculty Development (CAREER) Award, one of the agency’s top awards for young scientists. At NC State, he has been named a University Faculty Scholar and received a Chancellor’s Innovation Award and the Sigma Xi Faculty Research Award. He has also received two prestigious R01 research project grants from the National Institutes of Health.

Pierce earned his B.S. and Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Pittsburgh. He completed postdoctoral studies at The Scripps Research Institute before joining NC State.

The LORD Corporation endowments were established in the College of Sciences by LORD Corporation, a diversified technology and manufacturing company headquartered in Cary, N.C. The Hugh C. Lord endowment was named for the company’s founder to recognize outstanding scholarship and leadership in teaching and research.