Richmond Sarpong, who was born in Ghana, West Africa, is a professor of chemistry in the Department of Chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley, where he has been since 2004. He moved to the United States in 1991 after a childhood and adolescent years in Ghana, Zambia, and Botswana, respectively.
He was an undergraduate student at Macalester College, obtained his Ph.D. from Princeton University, and conducted a postdoctoral stay at Caltech.
Richmond and his research group at Berkeley are interested in identifying efficient and versatile ways to prepare natural products, which are compounds isolated from living organisms that form the basis for over 50% of the medicines that are currently on the market. His passion to pursue science with potential medicinal value was driven by the scourge of river blindness and AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa, which he witnessed first hand.
Richmond has served the chemistry community in many capacities. He is a member of the National Institutes of Health study section that evaluates proposals in the area of chemical synthesis and is on the board of editors for Organic Syntheses, a journal that provides robust chemical procedures. He is the recipient of numerous awards including the Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship, the Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar award, a Cope Scholar Award from the American Chemical Society, and a teaching award from the Department of Chemistry at UC Berkeley in 2009.