School of Humanities and Sciences
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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.
Ph.D. Student in Chemistry, admitted Autumn 2016
BioI use methods from statistical inference and physics to improve RNA structure prediction methods, with the goal of someday making complex RNA machines like in vivo neural nets a reality.
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 bioactive polymers, synthetic fuels, and sustainable plastics. In one such breakthrough, Professor Waymouth and Professor Wender developed a new class of gene delivery agents.
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. In collaboration with Dr. James Hedrick of IBM, we have developed a platform of highly active organic catalysts and continuous flow reactors that provide access to polymer architectures that are difficult to access by conventional approaches.
The Waymouth group has devised selective organocatalytic strategies for the synthesis of functional degradable polymers and oligomers that function as "molecular transporters" to deliver genes, drugs and probes into cells and live animals. These advances led to the joint discovery with the Wender group of a general, safe, and remarkably effective concept for RNA delivery based on a new class of synthetic cationic materials, Charge-Altering Releasable Transporters (CARTs). This technology has been shown to be effective for mRNA based cancer vaccines.
Francis W. Bergstrom Professor of Chemistry and Professor, by courtesy, of Chemical and Systems Biology
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsMolecular imaging, therapeutics, drug delivery, drug mode of action, synthesis