Dow AgroSciences researcher Thomas Sparks, Ph.D., has been named the 2012 International Award for Research in Agrochemicals  winner by the Agrochemical Division of the American Chemical Society.

The American Chemical Society is the world’s largest scientific society and one of the world’s leading sources of authoritative scientific information. The award recognizes and encourages outstanding contributions to research in agrochemicals. Sparks was recognized specifically for his exceptional accomplishments in applying new technology from a number of disciplines to the discovery of new pest control agents.

We are extremely proud that an exceptional scientist of Tom’s caliber was recognized with such a prestigious international award,” said Daniel R. Kittle, Ph.D., global leader of Research & Development for Dow AgroSciences. “Tom has demonstrated that using innovative approaches and combining understanding from multiple scientific disciplines can deliver greener, more sustainable solutions that also establish a new standard for performance in addressing the needs of a growing world. And it’s a particularly special honor this year, the International Year of Chemistry.”

Sparks will receive the award at the American Chemical Society’s 244th meeting, which will be held Aug. 19-23, 2012, in Philadelphia, Pa. The award includes a cash prize as well as the opportunity to organize a symposium at the meeting.

Sparks, a Dow AgroSciences Research Fellow, was instrumental in the development of the spinosyn class of insecticides, which provide natural insect control of a variety of pests while leaving beneficial insects unharmed. One active ingredient in the class, spinosad, was recognized with a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award in 1999. A next-generation spinoysn, spinetoram, was also recognized with a Green Chemistry Challenge Award in 2008.  The award recognizes technologies that incorporate the principles of green chemistry into chemical design, manufacture and use. Green chemistry encompasses chemical processes that reduce negative impacts on human health and the environment relative to the current state-of-the-art.

Sparks holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in biology from California State University, Fresno, and a Ph.D. in entomology from the University of California, Riverside.
Sparks has also received a number of awards throughout his distinguished career. He was named the 2009 Scientist of the Year by R&D Magazine, and received, with his co-authors, the Arthur E. Schwarting Award for Best Paper from the Journal of Natural Products in 2006. Sparks also delivered the Paul Dahm Memorial Lecture in Toxicology at Iowa State University in 2002.