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Wilson wins Reilley Award for research

George Wilson

Years from now, people with diabetes may be able to continuously monitor their blood glucose levels by using a tiny sensor, small enough to be injected under their skin.

George Wilson, associate vice provost for research at KU, has worked to develop that sensor for years. It is one of several career accomplishments for which he is being honored with an award named after one of his career mentors.

"I'm a little bit awed by the whole thing," said Wilson, also a Higuchi Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Chemistry.

The Society of Electroanalytical Chemistry and Bioanalytical Systems is giving Wilson the Reilley Award, named for the late researcher Charles N. Reilley. Wilson is receiving the award for his contributions to the theory, instrument development and applications of electroanalysis.

Reilley is considered one of the first modern analytical chemists of the mid-20th century. His work has contributed to electroanalysis, optical spectroscopy and instrumentation, among other aspects of analytical chemistry.

"This was a man who operated with unlimited perspective on things," said Wilson. "Instead of working in a box, he expanded his interest out into various fields."

Wilson said he has tried to do the same, not only in developing the blood glucose sensor, but in all aspects of his research. That work could not be successful, he said, without continued collaboration with researchers from various continents and disciplines, such as organic chemistry, bioengineering and medicine.

"He (Reilley) would be delighted with the way things are now, where the borders between various disciplines, such as chemistry and physics, are getting fuzzier all the time," said Wilson. "He would have been energized by this sort of thing."

Out of 23 Reilley Award winners, five have had some connection to KU, whether they earned degrees or worked at the university.

Wilson will receive the award Feb. 28 at The Pittsburgh Conference Awards Symposium, which will be in Chicago. The Pittsburgh Conference and Exposition is the largest and most inclusive educational conference on laboratory science.

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