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This Lectureship was established in 1981 by ARS to honor the memory of Sterling B. Hendricks and to recognize scientists who have made outstanding contributions to the chemical science of agriculture. Hendricks contributed to many diverse scientific disciplines, including soil science, mineralogy, agronomy, plant physiology, geology, and chemistry. Nominations should normally be received by December 31 of each year; however, the deadline has been extended to January 15, 2020.  For more information, direct inquiries to

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Co-sponsored by AGFD and AGRO Divisions

2019 Awardee

John W. Finley, emeritus professor at Louisiana State Univeristy (LSU), is a native of Central New York. He received an AD from Auburn Community College, a BS in Chemistry from LeMoyne College, and a PhD from Cornell University. After a post-doc with J.R. Brunner at Michigan State University, in 1969, John joined the USDA Agricultural Research Service at the Western Regional Research Center (WRRC) in Albany, California. 

While at WRRC, John conducted research on the isolation, chemical modification, and influences of processing of proteins. After 13 years, he moved to Ralston Purina in St. Louis as head of methods development and established new methods for rapid analysis. He then joined the University of Iowa Department of Pediatrics to head the microchemistry laboratory.  

In 1983, he moved to Nabisco Foods in New Jersey and planned, recruited, and built a fundamental science program that included 50 preeminent industrial food scientists. While at Nabisco, he directed the development, scale-up, and safety testing of low-calorie fats. 

John joined Monsanto in 1996 and directed research focused on the modification of lipids to control bioavailability, participated in defining targets for plant lipid biotechnology, and worked on acquisition evaluations. He also led the group that developed applications of the intense sweetener neotame. He moved to Kraft Foods where he was an internal consultant in biotechnology and conducted longterm research. Several new technologies were established including a means to reduce acrylamide formation in baked and fried products. 

In 2007, John was appointed Head of the Department of Food Science at LSU  with an adjunct appointment at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center (PBRC). His research interests focused primarily on health benefits of bioactives and dietary fiber. He established a colonic fermentation model that studied the interactions between polyphenolic compounds in foods and gut microbiota.  

John led efforts to enhance the processing and quality assessment of Louisiana seafood including assessment of safety and quality of seafood after the Deepwater Horizon Disaster. His work included the development of a natural, bitter blocking technology that masked bitter and astringent notes from polyphenolics as well as blocking potassium bitterness in beverages. While at PBRC, he studied protein modification to produce low methionine proteins, ketogenic lipids, and deuteriumdepleted water.  

John has been an active member of the ACS Division of Agricultural and Food Chemistry for 50 years, was a division Chair, and currently serves as a councilor. He was an Associate Editor of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry from 1999 to 2018. He is an ACS Fellow and an AGFD Fellow. 

Currently, John is advising start up companies on many issues, including gut microbiome interactions with foods and the development of diet beverages and foods. He recently led the revision of the text book, Principles of Food Chemistry. 

John and his wife Lucille reside in Florida and have a combined four married children and six grandchildren living along the east coast from New York to Florida. 


Past Awardees


Norman E. Borlaug, Nobel Laureate, International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, Mexico City, Mexico


Warren L. Butler, University of California-San Diego


Melvin Calvin, Nobel Laureate, University of California-Berkeley


Frederick Ausubel, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts


Alan Putnam, Michigan State University, East Lansing


Ralph Hardy, Cornell University and BioTechnica International, Ithaca, New York


Mary-Dell Chilton, Ciba-Geigy Corporation, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina


Bruce N. Ames, University of California, Berkeley


Sanford A. Miller, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, Texas


Roy L. Whistle, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana


Peter S. Eagleson, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge


John E. Casida, University of California-Berkeley


Philip H. Abelson, Deputy Editor, Science, and Scientific Advisor to AAAS, Washington, DC


Wendell L. Roelofs, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York


Winslow R. Briggs, Carnegie Institution of Washington, Stanford, California


Hugh D. Sisler, University of Maryland, College Park


Ernest Hodgson, North Carolina State University, Raleigh


Morton Beroza, USDA-ARS (retired), Beltsville, Maryland


Bruce D. Hammock, University of California-Davis


William S. Bowers, University of Arizona, Tuscon


Malcolm Thompson, USDA-ARS (retired), Beltsville, Maryland


Irvin E. Liener, University of Minnesota, St. Paul


Kriton Kleanthis Hatzios, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg


Robert L. Buchanan, Food and Drug Administration, College Park, Maryland


Donald L. Sparks, University of Delaware, Newark


Stanley B. Prusiner, Nobel Laureate, University of California, San Francisco


Bruce E. Dale, Michigan State University, East Lansing


Fergus M. Clydesdale, University of Massachusetts-Amherst


Charles J. Arntzen, Arizona State University-Tempe


Chris Somerville, Director of the Energy Biosciences Institute, Berkeley, California


Deborah P. Delmer, University of California-Davis


Eric Block, University at Albany, State University of New York


Keith Solomon, University of Guelph, Canada


Robert T. Fraley, Monsanto, Company, St. Louis, Missouri


James Tumlinson, Penn State, University Park


May R. Berenbaum, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign


John Pickett, Rothamsted Research, United Kingdom


James N. Seiber, University of California, Davis

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