School of Humanities and Sciences
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Professor of Physics, Emeritus
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsProbes (accretion disks, ...) of black holes, sources and detectors of gravitational radiation, theories of gravitation, anthropic cosmological principle.
Professor of Biology
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsOur current focus is on maize anther development to understand how cell fate is specified. We discovered that hypoxia triggers specification of the archesporial (pre-meiotic) cells, and that these cells secrete a small protein MAC1 that patterns the adjacent soma to differentiate as endothecial and secondary parietal cell types. We also discovered a novel class of small RNA: 21-nt and 24-nt phasiRNAs that are exceptionally abundant in anthers and exhibit strict spatiotemporal dynamics.
BioChristopher Walsh is a consulting professor to the Stanford University Department of Chemistry and an advisor to the Stanford ChEM-H institute. He was the Hamilton Kuhn Professor of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology at Harvard Medical School from 1987 to 2013, when he took emeritus status. He has had extensive academic leadership experience, including Chairmanship of the MIT Chemistry Department and of the HMS Biological Chemistry & Molecular Pharmacology Department, as well as serving as President and CEO of the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. At Stanford he has taught short courses including Posttranslational Modifications of Proteins: Expanding Nature’s Inventory (Chem 187/287) and also Antibiotics: Mechanisms and Resistance.
Dr. Walsh’s research has focused on enzymes and enzyme inhibitors, with specialization on antibiotics and biosynthesis of other biologically and medicinally active natural products. He and his group authored 810 research papers, and four books: Enzymatic Reaction Mechanisms (1979); Antibiotics: Origins, Actions, Resistance (2003); Posttranslational Modification of Proteins: Expanding Nature’s Inventory (2005); and Antibiotics: Challenges, Mechanisms, Opportunities (2016).
Dr. Walsh is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the U.S. National Academy of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and a co-recipient of the 2010 Welch Prize in Chemistry. At Harvard and MIT he taught biochemistry, chemical biology, and pharmacology to medical students and graduate students and organic chemistry to undergraduates.
He has been involved in a variety of venture-based biotechnology companies since 1981, including Genzyme, Immunogen, Leukosite, Millenium, Kosan, Vicuron, Epizyme. Currently he is on the board of directors of Ironwood, and Proteostasis, and the non profits: California Institute for Biomedical Research and Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research. He is a member of the scientific advisory groups at Hua, Abide, Cidara, and Flex Pharma, an advisor to Health Care Ventures and a limited investor in Health Care Ventures, MPM bioventures, Clarus, and the Longwood Venture Funds.
Dr. Walsh is married to Diana Chapman Walsh, who was president of Wellesley College from 1993-2007 and was the founding chair of the board of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. Their daughter Allison Walsh Kurian is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Stanford and co-director of the High Risk Center for women with genetic predisposition to breast and ovarian cancer.
Professor of Statistics
BioGuenther Walther studied mathematics, economics, and computer science at the University of Karlsruhe in Germany and received his Ph.D. in Statistics from UC Berkeley in 1994.
His research has focused on statistical methodology for detection problems, shape-restricted inference, and mixture analysis, and on statistical problems in astrophysics and in flow cytometry.
He received a Terman fellowship, a NSF CAREER award, and the Distinguished Teaching Award of the Dean of Humanities and Sciences at Stanford. He has served on the editorial boards of the Journal of Computational and Graphical Statistics, the Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, the Annals of Statistics, the Annals of Applied Statistics, and Statistical Science. He was program co-chair of the 2006 Annual Meeting of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics and served on the executive committee of IMS from 1998 to 2012.
Professor of Biology, Emeritus
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsEvolutionary adaptive mechanisms, molecules to ecosystems
Robert Eckles Swain Professor in Chemistry and Professor, by courtesy, of Chemical Engineering
BioRobert Eckles Swain Professor in Chemistry Robert Waymouth investigates new catalytic strategies to create useful new molecules, including sustainable polymers, synthetic fuels, and bioactive molecules. In one such breakthrough, Professor Waymouth and IBM researcher Jim Hedrick opened a new path for production of environmentally sustainable plastics and improved plastics recycling, earning recognition in the 2012 Presidential Green Chemistry Award.
Born in 1960 in Warner Robins, Georgia, Robert Waymouth studied chemistry and mathematics at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia (B.S. and B.A., respectively, both summa cum laude, 1982). He developed an interest in synthetic and mechanistic organometallic chemistry during his doctoral studies in chemistry at the California Institute of Technology under Professor R.H. Grubbs (Ph.D., 1987). His postdoctoral research with Professor Piero Pino at the Institut fur Polymere, ETH Zurich, Switzerland, focused on catalytic hydrogenation with chiral metallocene catalysts. He joined the Stanford University faculty as assistant professor in 1988, becoming full professor in 1997 and in 2000 the Robert Eckles Swain Professor of Chemistry.
Today, the Waymouth Group applies mechanistic principles to develop new concepts in catalysis, with particular focus on the development of organometallic and organic catalysts for the synthesis of complex macromolecular architectures. In organometallic catalysis, the group devised a highly selective alcohol oxidation catalyst that selectively oxidizes unprotected polyols and carbohydrates to alpha-hyroxyketones. The Waymouth group pioneered the development of catalysts that can access multiple kinetic states during a polymerization reaction in order to control sequence distribution. They devised a novel strategy for the synthesis of elastomeric polypropylene utilizing a metallocene catalyst whose structure was designed to interconvert between chiral and achiral coordination geometries on the timescale of the synthesis of a single polymer chain.
In collaboration with Jim Hedrick of IBM laboratories, the Waymouth Group has developed an extensive platform of organic catalysts for the controlled ring-opening polymerization of lactones, carbonates and other heterocyclic monomers. Mechanistic studies of nucleophilic N-heterocyclic carbene catalysts revealed an unusual zwitterionic ring-opening polymerization method which enabled the synthesis of high molecular weight cyclic polymers, a novel topology for these biodegradable and biocompatible macromolecules. In collaboration with the Wender group, the Waymouth group has devised selective organocatalytic strategies for the synthesis of functional degradable polymers and oligomers that function as "molecular transporters" to deliver drugs and probes into cells. These efforts combine elements of mechanistic organic and organometallic chemistry, polymer synthesis, and homogeneous catalysis to rationally design new macromolecular structures.