Kenner C. Rice, Ph.D.
Kenner C. Rice received his B.S. from Virginia Military Institute and his Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Georgia Tech. After U.S. Army service, postdoctoral study at Georgia Tech and industrial experience at Ciba-Geigy (now Novartis), he began his drug abuse research at NIH with his mentor, Dr. Everette L. May in 1974. He presently serves as Chief of the Laboratory of Medicinal Chemistry, NIDDK, which is the contemporary successor of the original analgesic program begun at NIH by Drs. Nathan Eddy, Lyndon Small and their associates in 1939. Dr. Rice's research is medicinal-chemistry-based and is directed toward the elucidation of the structure and function of neurotransmitter systems in the central nervous system and the development of medications for the treatment and prevention of drug abuse. Dr. Rice has designed and directed synthesis of many drugs and affinity ligands as research tools which have substantially advanced understanding of the action of drugs of abuse. He also designed and developed the NIH Opiate Total Synthesis, the only practical methodology for production by chemical synthesis of all medical narcotics and narcotic antagonists now derived from opium and their enantiomers. This methodology offers independence from opium, and opium poppy eradication as a strategy to eliminate heroin abuse. Dr. Rice has mentored about 60 postdoctoral fellows from 16 countries and lectured widely in academia, government and industry.