Program Speakers

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Program Overview

A. Douglas Kinghorn, Ph.D.

Professor and Jack L. Beal Chair; Editor, Journal of Natural Products

Dr. A. Douglas Kinghorn has been Professor and Jack L. Beal Chair in Natural Products Chemistry and Pharmacognosy, College of Pharmacy, The Ohio State University since 2004. He received doctoral degrees from the University of London [Ph.D. in Pharmacognosy, 1975; D.Sc. in Pharmacy, 1990]. Dr. Kinghorn performed postdoctoral work at the University of Mississippi and the University of Illinois at Chicago. His research interests are on the isolation, characterization, and biological evaluation of natural products from higher plants, particularly with potential anticancer, anti-infective, and taste-modifying activities.

Dr. Kinghorn is a Fellow of five scientific and professional societies and of The School of Pharmacy, University College London (UCL). Dr. Kinghorn was designated as the 1993 B. Kenneth West University Scholar (Senior University Scholar) by the University of Illinois Foundation and was awarded the 2002-2003 University of Illinois at Chicago Award for Excellence in Teaching. He received the 2010 Norman R. Farnsworth Research Achievement Award of the American Society of Pharmacognosy for lifetime contributions to natural products research. In December 2011, he was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Science degree from the University of Bradford in the United Kingdom. He has authored or co-authored about 475 peer-reviewed research articles, review articles, and book chapters. Dr. Kinghorn has been Major and/or Thesis Advisor/Committee Member Chair to ca. 45 graduate students and has supervised over 60 postdoctorals and visiting scholars.

Alfred Stern, PhD

Executive Vice President Polyolefins and Innovation & Technology, Borealis

Alfred Stern was appointed Borealis Executive Vice President Polyolefins and joined the Executive Board of Borealis AG in July 2012. He joined Borealis as Senior Vice President Innovation & Technology in 2008, where he lead the creation of a Borealis Group R&D headquarter and the implementation of several proprietary Borealis technologies. Prior to Borealis, Alfred worked for E.I. Du Pont de Nemours where he held several leadership positions in the areas of research and development, sales and marketing, and quality and business management in Switzerland, Germany and the United States. In his last assignment, he was Global Business Manager of a business unit in Engineering Polymers in the United States. He holds a PhD in material science and a Master's Degree in polymer engineering and science, both from the University of Leoben in Austria. Alfred is also a certified Six Sigma Blackbelt for Marketing. He has been awarded, among others, DuPont Awards for new product patents and outstanding customer relationship management and a Prize of Honour from the Austrian Ministry of Science and Research. Alfred is a member of the board of directors (supervisory board) of Borough PTE in Singapore and Engel Injection Moulding Machines in Schwertberg, Austria. He is also a member of the steering board auf Plastics Europe and President of the Society for the Advancement of Polymer Technologies in Austria.

Amos B. Smith, III

Editor-in-Chief, Organic Letters

Amos B. Smith, III, is the Rhodes-Thompson Professor of Chemistry as well as Member of the Monell Chemical Senses Center and Associate Director of the Penn Center for Molecular Discovery at the University of Pennsylvania.  In addition, he is both an Honorary Member and Visiting Director of the Kitasato Institute in Tokyo.  Dr. Smith's research is dedicated to natural product synthesis, bioorganic chemistry, and materials science. More than 75 architecturally complex natural products have been prepared in his laboratory. Moreover, Dr. Smith, in collaboration with Ralph Hirschmann, pioneered the design and synthesis of non-peptide peptidomimetics of neuropeptideic hormone/transmitters and protease enzyme inhibitors. In collaboration with Peter Jurs, Dr. Smith developed groundbreaking computerized pattern recognition techniques that make it possible to analyze primate chemical communication.

Dr. Smith received his PhD from Rockefeller University.  To date, he has co-authored over 575 publications and delivered over 600 invited lectures, including plenary lectures at the National Organic Chemistry Symposium and numerous Gordon Research Conferences. His recent honors and awards include Honorary Membership in the Pharmaceutical Society of Japan, Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Royal Society of Chemistry Centenary Medal, Yamada Prize, Fellow of the American Academy of the Arts and Sciences, and Inaugural Fellow of the American Chemical Society.

NCL - Pune, India

Kolkata, India

Andrea Raninger, PhD

Deputy Director of the Criminal Intelligence Service, Austria Dr. Andrea Raninger earned her Doctorate in Inorganic Chemistry from the Institute for Inorganic Chemistry at the University of Vienna. She also holds a Master of Natural Science from the Faculty of Natural Sciences for Chemistry at the University of Vienna.

Anne Andrews, PhD

Professor of Psychiatry & Biobehavioral Sciences and Chemistry & Biochemistry, University of California, Los Angeles At UCLA, Andrews leads efforts in basic and translational research on anxiety and depression, and at the nexus of nanoscience and neuroscience. Andrews’ interdisciplinary research team focuses on understanding how the serotonin system and particularly, the serotonin transporter, modulate neurotransmission to influence complex behaviors including anxiety, mood, stress responsiveness, and learning and memory. Dr. Andrews earned her B.S. in chemistry from the Pennsylvania State University and received her Ph.D. in chemistry as a U.S. Department of Education Fellow working at the National Institute of Mental Health. There, she was also a postdoctoral fellow and senior staff fellow. Andrews has been the recipient of an NIH Fellows Award for Research Excellence, an Eli Lily Outstanding Young Analytical Chemist Award, an American Parkinson’s Disease Association Research Award, and a Brain and Behavior Research Foundation Independent Investigator Award. She is a member of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, International Society for Serotonin Research vice president, an advisory board member for the International Society for Monitoring Molecules in Neuroscience, and serves as Associate Editor for ACS Chemical Neuroscience.

Askar Fahr, Ph.D.

Program Manager for the Chemical Physics/Physical Chemistry and Physical Organic Chemistry Committees of American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund (ACS PRF)

Prior to joining ACS in May 2010, Dr. Fahr was the Principal Scientist for a joint Department of Energy-Parsons Engineering project on designing, pre-testing and building the nuclear Salt Waste Processing Facility (SWPF) at Savannah River Site, South Carolina.  He led a group of scientists and engineers with objectives of solving complex chemical processing and facility design issues. He implemented innovative and cost-effective thermochemical modeling simulations and targeted laboratory investigations to better understand complex physicochemical processes in SWPF.  Results of his studies were utilized for enhanced process designs, process optimizations, and as a predictive and safety tools.  Dr. Fahr was also a Project Scientist for joint National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL)-Parsons Engineering projects for evaluations and optimizations of advanced energy conversion systems, clean coal and alternative fuels technologies. Askar obtained his M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in Physical Chemistry from Georgetown University. His graduate research focused on laser induced photochemistry, reaction kinetics, reaction dynamics and molecular spectroscopy.  Following a postdoctoral appointment in Physical Chemistry Laboratories at Oxford University, he became a Research Scientist at National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).  He studied chemical and spectral properties of a large number of highly reactive radical species that play important roles in combustion, atmospheric, environmental, and industrial processes. His research projects were funded by NASA- Planetary Atmospheres, -Upper Atmosphere and -Outer Planets Research Programs and by the U.S. Department of Energy-Basic Energy Sciences Program.  Askar has also served as an adjunct professor of Physical Chemistry at Howard University and American University, both in Washington D.C.

Bassam Z. Shakhashiri

ACS Immediate Past President

Bassam Z. Shakhashiri is the first holder of the William T. Evjue Distinguished Chair for the Wisconsin Idea at UW-Madison. He is well known internationally for his effective leadership in promoting excellence in science education at all levels, and for his development and use of demonstrations in the teaching of chemistry in classrooms as well as in less formal settings, such as museums, convention centers, shopping malls and retirement homes. The Encyclopedia Britannica sites him as the "dean of lecture demonstrators in America." His scholarly publications, including the multi-volume series, Chemical Demonstrations: A Handbook for Teachers of Chemistry, are models of learning and instruction that have been translated into several languages. He is an advocate for policies to advance knowledge and to use science and technology to serve society. He promotes the exploration and establishment of links between science, the arts and the humanities, and the elevation of discourse on significant societal issues related to science, religion, politics, the economy, and ethics. Professor Shakhashiri was the 2011 President-Elect of the American Chemical Society, is serving a one-year term as president in 2012 and will be immediate past president in 2013.

Becky Wolff

Senior Training Specialist, Chemical Abstract Service (CAS) A Bachelor’s of Science degree in chemistry, an MBA in marketing, and train-the-trainer certification from the University of Richmond have served Becky well during her career at CAS. During her 18 years, she has worked with all of the content and solutions that CAS offers. This work ranged from adding property data to REGISTRYSM to working with IT on enhancements to the search software. In her current role, Becky has been using her experience as a Product Manager to create customer training materials and videos. In her spare time she enjoys hiking, building a shipping container vacation cabin, gardening, reading, and cooking.

Benjamin Pratt, PhD

Associate Director, Chemistry, Akarna Therapeutics Ben is the Associate Director, Chemistry for Akarna Therapeutics in San Diego, California. He received his B.A. in chemistry with high honors from Dartmouth College in 2000. He spent 3 years in the department of process chemistry at Rhodia ChiRex in Boston MA, synthesizing chiral building blocks and optimizing the route to Vertex’s clinical candidate VX-950 (Telaprevir). In 2008, Ben earned his Ph.D. from the Scripps Research Institute where his thesis work focused on the total synthesis of natural products and their analogues in the lab of Professor K.C. Nicolaou. Since leaving TSRI, Ben has been a medicinal chemist at several San Diego based biotech companies focused in the areas of oncology, metabolic disease and cognitive function. A 14-year member of the ACS, Ben became involved in the San Diego Local Section serving as co-chair of the Younger Chemists Committee since 2010 and as assistant treasurer in 2013. With his colleagues in the YCC and the help of ACS innovative projects grant, Ben co-founded the Academics 2 Industry (A2I) lecture series that serves as a primer course for aspiring medicinal chemists. Since its inception in 2011, A2I has been presented at UCSD, UCLA, and twice at TSRI, with a UCSB series planned for early 2014.

Bhaskar Rao Venepalli, Ph.D.

President and CEO, CiVentiChem Bhaskar is the President and CEO of CiVentiChem, a premier contract R&D services company located in Research Triangle Park of North Carolina. Prior to joining CiVentiChem, Bhaskar was a manager in the new business group of Eastman Chemical Company.  He is also responsible for organizing business meetings with delegations from India and Europe to help local biotech companies. He is a member and supporter of NC Biotechnology Center, Centre for Entrepreneurial Development (CED), local chapter of TiE. Bhaskar is also involved in several community-related volunteer activities. He served as the Chairman of the Sri Venkateswara Temple of North Carolina located in Cary, NC. He has been helping the American Chemical Society (ACS) at local and national levels as a volunteer. Bhaskar has been a career consultant and presenter at ACS for the past 14 years. Bhaskar has won numerous awards for academic achievements. In 2010, he was honored as “the Entrepreneur of the year in the Biotechnology & Pharmaceuticals category” by the Boston based IndUS Business Journal. He has been appointed to the board of North Carolina Biotechnology Center and is a member of the Executive Committee of NC-INPAC.