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Dale Boger Appointed as Chair of Department of Chemistry; Thomas Kodadek, Vice Chair

The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) has named Dale Boger as chair of its Department of Chemistry. In addition, Thomas Kodadek has been appointed vice chair. 

TSRI’s Department of Chemistry is comprised of scientists on both coasts. Boger is based in the institute’s La Jolla, CA, campus, and Kodadek in the Jupiter, FL, campus.

“I am delighted that Dale and Tom have agreed to serve our Department of Chemistry—one of the most outstanding group of chemists in the world,” said Michael A. Marletta, president of TSRI and a faculty member in the Department of Chemistry. “Dale and Tom are outstanding scientists with vision, and I am very excited to work with both of them as we move chemistry ahead. It’s unique to have a chemistry department within a biomedical research institute and ours is an essential part of TSRI. I am confident Dale and Tom are the right leaders for the future.”

Boger succeeds K. C. Nicolaou, who had served as chemistry chair since the inception of the department in 1989.

“I’m honored to have the opportunity to serve the faculty,” said Boger, who is Richard and Alice Cramer Professor of Chemistry at TSRI. “We have a fabulous program and a remarkably distinguished group of faculty, and I look forward to working together with them to ensure the department’s continued ascent as the premier program in the country.”

“I look forward to working with Dale to foster continued excellence in organic chemistry and chemical biology at Scripps on both coasts,” Kodadek said.

TSRI has been highlighted in a Science Watch survey of "high-impact" papers in chemistry as the top institution worldwide by citations per paper. And, according to U.S. News & World Report, the institute's graduate program is rated seventh overall in the nation in chemistry, with a ranking of third in the specialty of organic chemistry and fourth in biochemistry.

Ten faculty members have joined the institute’s chemistry department to head laboratories in the last four years, including Kodadek, who arrived in 2009. Boger and Kodadek’s new positions take effect October 8.

Dale L. Boger

Dale Boger, 59, received his BS in chemistry from the University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas (1975) and PhD in chemistry from Harvard University (1980). He returned to the University of Kansas in 1979, moved to Purdue University in 1985, and, in 1991, joined the faculty at TSRI. 

Boger is internationally recognized for his work in organic synthesis, medicinal chemistry, natural products total synthesis and biological evaluation, synthetic methodology development including combinatorial chemistry, and bioorganic chemistry. He has made seminal contributions to the understanding of DNA-drug interactions, small molecule stabilization or disruption of protein–protein interactions involved in signal transduction, and to the discovery and validation of new biological targets. 

Boger has been the recipient of numerous awards for his work, including an inaugural year Searle Scholar Award, the inaugural year ISHC Katritzky Award in Heterocyclic Chemistry, an American Chemical Society (ACS) A. C. Cope Scholar Award, the ACS Award for Creativity in Organic Synthesis, the Paul Janssen Prize for Creativity in Organic Synthesis, the ACS Ernest Geunther Award in Natural Products, and the ACS Ralph Hirschmann Award in Peptide Chemistry. He is also an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Thomas Kodadek

Kodadek, 53, received a bachelor's degree in chemistry at the University of Miami (1981) and a PhD in organic chemistry from Stanford University (1985). He completed postdoctoral work in biochemistry the University of California, San Francisco, and joined the University of Texas, Austin, as an assistant professor in 1987. He joined the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center as a professor of Internal Medicine and Molecular Biology in 1998 and became director of the Division of Translational Research in 2005.

At Scripps Florida, Kodadek holds joint appointments in the Departments of Chemistry and Cancer Biology.

Kodadek has made fundamental discoveries in nucleic acid enzymology, including elucidating the biochemistry of homologous genetic recombination and the role of the proteasome in eukaryotic transcription.  His more recent research is focused on developing chemical tools to address important problems in biology and medicine, for example identifying synthetic molecules capable of targeting antibodies, B cells and T cells in an antigen-like fashion for the purpose of monitoring and manipulating the immune system.

His awards and honors include the Jane Coffin Childs Postdoctoral Fellowship; American Cancer Society Junior Faculty Research Award; NIH Director's Pioneer Award. He is also an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

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“I’m honored to have the opportunity to serve the faculty,” said Dale Boger, who has been appointed chair of the Department of Chemistry.





“I look forward to working with Dale to foster continued excellence in organic chemistry and chemical biology at Scripps on both coasts,” said Thomas Kodadek, who has been appointed the department’s vice chair.