Samuel J. Danishefsky

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Samuel J. Danishefsky
Born (1936-03-10) March 10, 1936 (age 79)[1]
Nationality American
Institutions University of Pittsburgh,
Yale University,
Columbia University
Alma mater Yeshiva University,
Harvard University
Doctoral advisor Peter Yates
Known for Danishefsky’s diene,
Danishefsky Taxol total synthesis

Samuel J. Danishefsky (born March 10, 1936) is an American chemist working as a professor at both Columbia University and the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.[2]

Birth and education[edit]

Samuel J. Danishefsky was born in 1936 in the United States. He completed his B.S. from Yeshiva University in 1956. He earned his Ph.D. in chemistry from Harvard University in 1962 with Peter Yates, which partially overlapped with a National Institutes of Health postdoctoral fellowship in the laboratory of Gilbert Stork at Columbia University.[3]

Academic career[edit]

After completing his PhD, he became professor at the University of Pittsburgh, where he eventually attained the rank of University Professor and taught until 1979. From 1979 to 1993, he was a professor at Yale University, where he rose to the rank of Sterling Professor of Chemistry. By 1991 he was sharing his time with Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center as director of the Laboratory for Cancer Research Bioorganic Chemistry, becoming chair in 1993. He accepted an appointment as professor at Columbia University in 1993, and now splits his time between Columbia and Sloan-Kettering.


Danishefsky Taxol total synthesis overview from raw material perspective

Samuel J. Danishefsky is known for his role in synthesizing the precise three-dimensional structures of many complex organic compounds, which are considered to be the primary training ground for the kind of chemist who plays a pivotal role in the discovery and development of new pharmaceuticals. Among the molecules synthesized by Danishefsky at Columbia University are epothilones and calicheamicin, which are natural products that have great promise as anti-cancer agents.

He is also known for The Danishefsky Taxol total synthesis. The Danishefsky Taxol total synthesis is an important third Taxol synthesis published by his group in 1996 [4] two years after the first two efforts described in the Holton Taxol total synthesis and the Nicolaou Taxol total synthesis. Combined they provide a good insight in the application of organic chemistry in total synthesis.

Awards and honors[edit]

In 1995/96 he shared the Wolf Prize in Chemistry with Gilbert Stork of Columbia University for "designing and developing novel chemical reactions which have opened new avenues to the synthesis of complex molecules, particularly polysaccharides and many other biologically and medicinally important compounds".[5]

He is the recipient of several other awards including the American Chemical Society's Guenther Award and Aldrich Award for Creative Work in Synthetic Organic Chemistry, the F.A. Cotton Medal for Excellence in Chemical Research of the American Chemical Society, the Tetrahedron Prize (1996), the Arthur C. Cope Award (1998), the New York City Mayor's Award for Science and Technology, and the Bristol Myers Squibb Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2006, he was awarded the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Chemistry for his achievements in synthetic organic chemistry, particularly for the development of methods for preparing complex substances found in nature, and their emerging applications in the field of cancer treatment.[6] He is a member of the Board of Scientific Governors at The Scripps Research Institute. He holds an honorary doctorate from Yeshiva University.

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Samuel J. Danishefsky at Columbia University
  3. ^ Samuel J. Danishefsky (2000). "From the Laboratory to the Clinic: A Retrospective on Fully Synthetic Carbohydrate-Based Anticancer Vaccines". Angew. Chem. Int. Ed (39): 836–863. 
  4. ^ Total Synthesis of Baccatin III and Taxol Samuel J. Danishefsky, John J. Masters, Wendy B. Young, J. T. Link, Lawrence B. Snyder, Thomas V. Magee, David K. Jung, Richard C. A. Isaacs, William G. Bornmann, Cheryl A. Alaimo, Craig A. Coburn, and Martin J. Di Grandi J. Am. Chem. Soc.; 1996; 118(12) pp 2843 - 2859 DOI Abstract
  5. ^ The Wolf Prize in Chemistry
  6. ^ Samuel Danishefsky, the winner of Benjamin Franklin Medal in Chemistry in 2006

External links[edit]