Samuel J. Danishefsky, PhD, is an emeritus member of the Chemical Biology Program in the Sloan Kettering Institute. Dr. Danishefsky is best known for his pioneering work synthesizing complex organic molecules. The innovative techniques he established have had wide-ranging influence in the field of organic chemistry, and in the development of novel cancer therapeutics.
Dr. Danishefsky’s work focused on the chemical synthesis of small-molecule natural products of therapeutic potential. Dr. Danishefsky is also known for pioneering efficient methods to synthesize carbohydrates. He developed a diene reagent with versatile chemical reactivity, now known as the Danishefsky–Kitahara diene. At MSK, he developed new methods to assemble these carbohydrates onto peptide backbones and collaborated with MSK clinicians to advance these glycopeptide vaccines to clinical trials.
Dr. Danishefsky is the recipient of numerous awards, including Harvard’s Max Tishler Prize Lecturer, the Wolf Prize in Chemistry, Tetrahedron Prize, ACS Cope Medal, ACS Nichols Medal, Nagoya Gold Medal, ACS H. C. Brown Medal, F. A. Cotton Medal, Benjamin Franklin Medal, Bristol Myers Squibb Lifetime Achievement Award, ACS Roger Adams Award, and RSC Sir Derek Barton Gold Medal. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences, and the American Academy of Arts and Science. He held the Eugene W. Kettering Chair at MSK.
Dr. Danishefsky obtained his Ph.D. from Harvard University, and joined MSK in 1991 after serving the faculties of the University of Pittsburgh and Yale University. He is also a Professor of Chemistry, Emeritus, at Columbia University.