The Early Years. I was born in 1961 in Oceanside, NY, a Long Island suburb of The Big Apple, and grew up there until going to Haverford College, a small Liberal Arts college 10 miles west of Philadelphia.

What turned me on to organic chemistry. I took intro organic chemistry from Claude Wintner, who obtained his Ph.D. from R. B. Woodward, the greatest synthetic organic chemist ever. Claude had a very distinct style that was filled with wonder. I learned that organic chemistry is very different from other chemistry, particularly general chemistry. Structure is key as is mechanism. I learned that it is OK to find calculations of moles, pH, and enthalpy a bit dry, because there are concepts such as handedness, recognition, and reaction pathways that are far more visual and dynamic than general chemistry. Organic chemistry can be very creative and expansive; it is not as reductive as other areas can be.

As an undergraduate, I spent a summer in a research lab focused on development of anti-malarial drugs. We were cleaning shop one week and I was asked to clean up some compounds to ship off for screening for anti-cancer and other activity. I took some green sludge and after recrystallization I found a pile of beautiful sparkling white crystals. I recalled Claude Wintner encouraging us in labs to "watch the crystals grow." I realized that I was the only person on the planet to have this material in hand. And, unlikely though it may be, I realized that it was possible that this may be the cure to some disease. That was the end of my interest in drug discovery, but the concept of designing, making, and having a unique molecule has stuck with me.

Graduate School. After graduating from Haverford in 1983, I went West to UCLA. I first joined the group of Robert Stevens, a synthetic organic chemist who died during my first year. I then joined the group of Donald J. Cram, who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1987 for his work in creating the field of Host-Guest Chemistry. Don, who passed away in the Summer of 2001, was the most enthusiastic person I've ever met. He always seemed to be happy and never tired of talking about research and encouraging new ideas. With Cram, I learned how to design, synthesize, and characterize organic molecules and complexes that have well-defined 3-D structure.

Postdoc. After earning a Ph.D. from UCLA in 1988, I moved back to New York. I spent one year in the laboratory of E. Tom Kaiser at The Rockefeller University. Tom, a renown bioorganic chemist, had tragically died just before I arrived. I worked on peptide hormones that contained amphiphilic helices (alpha-helices with hydrophobic and hydrophilic faces). I discovered that I enjoyed designing, synthesizing, and characterizing any type of molecule that posesses well-defined 3-D structure, be it purely organic or a biopolymer. I then moved to New York University where I worked for two years with Neville Kallenbach, a biophysical chemist who was also interested in alpha-helical peptides and proteins.

UBC. I started at UBC in 1991 as an Assistant professor. I embarked on projests related both to my graduate work and to my postdoctoral work. The encapsulation work began as a direct extention of my graduate work, as I had some ideas that nobody else seemed inclined to pursue, so I felt compelled or it would never be explored. And Don Cram was very encouraging. He was nearing retirement at the time and wanted to see the work continued in some fashion, even though my interests were somewhat different from his. I also combined the two areas of my research experience by using the organic hosts as scaffolds to which could be linked helical peptides with well-defined secondary structural units. I was promoted to Associate Professor in 1996, and to Professor in 2001.


Curriculum Vitae

Education and Employment

Professor University of British Columbia Chemistry 2001-present
Associate Professor University of British Columbia Chemistry 1996-2001
Assistant Professor University of British Columbia Chemistry 1991-1996
Postdoctorate New York University (N. R. Kallenbach) Chemistry 1989-1991
Postdoctorate The Rockefeller University (E. T. Kaiser) Bioorganic Chem. 1988-1989
Ph.D. U. of California, Los Angeles (D. J. Cram) Chemistry 1988
B.A. Haverford College Chemistry 1983


Merck Frosst Centre for Therapeutic Research Award, 2001; Awarded yearly to one organic chemist in Canada under age 40.
Elected Fellow of the Canadian Institute for Chemistry, 2001
UBC Killam Research Prize, 2000; Awarded yearly to five Faculty in Science at UBC.
McDowell Medal, 2000; Awarded yearly to one Faculty in Science at UBC within 12 years of their Ph.D.
Ichikizaki Award for Young Chemists, 1995
Ichikizaki Award for Young Chemists, 1994

Professional Affiliations

American Chemical Society
American Association for the Advancement of Science
American Peptide Society
Protein Society
Canadian Society for Chemistry

Committees, Boards, Symposia Organization

Organizer for the 7th International Conference on Calixarenes, 2003
CSC Conference: Program Chair for the Biological and Medicinal Chemistry Division, 2002
CSC Conference: Co-organizer for the Organic Workshop, 1998
CSC Conference: Organizer for "Molecular Recognition" symposium, 1998
Canadian Society for Chemistry: Chair, Biological and Medicinal Chemistry Division 1994-95

Recent Funding

1999-03 NSERC Research Grant
1997-2000 National Institutes of Health (NIH, USA)
1996-98 Petroleum Research Fund, Type AC Grant
1994-96 Petroleum Research Fund, Type AC Grant

Invited Presentations

International Conference on Physical Organic Chemistry, San Diego, August, 2002.
Cram Memorial Symposium, UCLA, March, 2002.
University of Washington, January, 2002.
Plenary Lecturer, 6th International Conference on Calixarenes, Twente, The Netherlands, September, 2001.
Symposium on "Precision Polymerizations and Controlled Supramolecular Architectures," Pacifichem, Hawaii, December, 2000.
Brigham Young University, February, 1999.
Bioorganic Gordon Research Conference, June, 1998.
University of Victoria, November, 1997.
Fifth Chemical Congress of North America, Symposium on "Supramolecular Structures: Characterization and Physical Aspects", Cancun, Mexico, November, 1997.
4th International Conference on Calixarenes, Parma, Italy, September, 1997.
NSF Workshop on Synthesis and Bioorganic Chemistry, Tomales Bay, CA, July, 1997.
NATO Advanced Research Workshop on Self-Assembly in Synthetic Chemistry, Quebec, May, 1996.
Symposium on Molecular Recognition and Supramolecular Assemblies, Pacifichem, Hawaii, December, 1995.
Dalhousie University, University of New Brunswick, St. Mary's University, and Acadia University, November, 1995.
University of British Columbia (Chemistry), October, 1995.
UBC-Ritsumeikan Symposium on Chemistry, Bioscience and Biotechnology, Japan, May, 1995.
Canadian Workshop in Organic Chemistry, Guelph, May 1995.
UBC-Ritsumeikan Symposium in Biology and Chemistry, Vancouver, 1994.
NATO Advanced Research Workshop on Supramolecular Stereochemistry, Iceland, 1994.
Bio-Mega Boehringer Ingelheim Research Inc., 1994.
Cram Symposium, Los Angeles, CA, March 1994.
Molecular Recognition and Supramolecular Chemistry Symposium at the 76th CSC Conference 1993.