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2004 Smissman Memorial Lecturer

Daniel H. Rich

Daniel H. Rich, Ph.D.

  • Ralph F. Hirschmann Professor of Medicinal and Organic Chemistry The University of Wisconsin-Madison Madison, Wisconsin

Public Lecture and Award Presentation

  • The Best of Times; the Worst of Times: Drug Discovery in the 21st Century

Scientific Lectures

  • Chance and Luck in Modern Drug Design
  • Design and Synthesis of Inhibitors of Botulinum Toxin Metalloproteases


Dr. Daniel H. Rich, the Ralph F. Hirschmann Professor of Medicinal And Organic Chemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, was born December 12, 1942 in Fairmont, Minnesota. He was a General Motors Scholar at the University of Minnesota-Minneapolis from 1960-64 and received the B. Chemistry degree in 1964 (working with Wayland E. Noland). He received his Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Cornell University in 1968 (with A. T. Blomquist). He held postdoctoral appointments with Nobel Laureate Vincent du Vigneaud (Cornell University) and W. S. Johnson (Stanford) before joining the Faculty in Pharmacy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1970. Dr. Rich is now Professor of Medicinal Chemistry in the School of Pharmacy and Professor of Chemistry in the Department of Chemistry at UW-Madison. His research focuses on the synthesis and conformational analysis of cyclic peptides, and the design and synthesis of inhibitors of therapeutically important enzymes, especially aspartic proteases. He has published over 250 articles and trained 45 Ph.D. students and 50 postdoctoral students.

His research accomplishments have been recognized by the 1990 Vincent du Vigneaud Award in Peptide Chemistry, the 1992 ACS Division of Medicinal Chemistry Award, the 1992 Research Achievement Award of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists, the 1992 George Herbert Hitchings Award for Innovative Methods in the Design and Discovery of Drugs, the 1993 ACS Ralph F. Hirschmann Award in Peptide Chemistry, a WARF University Professorship at UW-Madison in 1994, the E. Volwiler Research Achievement Award from the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy in 1995, an Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award from the American Chemical Society in 1999, and the R. Bruce Merrifield Award from the American Peptide Society in 1999. In 1993, he was a Senior U.S. Scientist Alexander von Humboldt Scholar in Germany. In 2004, he was awarded an “Outstanding Achievement Award” from the Institute of Technology of the University of Minnesota.

Professor Rich was elected Teacher of the Year by the UW-Madison Pharmacy graduating class of 1986 for his teaching of Medicinal Chemistry. Each year he lectures at the Drew University Residence School in Medicinal Chemistry on the design of enzyme inhibitors and peptidomimetics; this course is offered annually to about 125 Ph.D. chemists recently hired into the US pharmaceutical industry as well as from England, Japan and other foreign countries. He presents about 20 invited lectures each year.

Professor Rich has served in administrative roles at UW-Madison. From 1976-1980 he was Assistant Dean of Graduate Studies in the School of Pharmacy. He served as elected member of the Physical Sciences Divisional Committee for UW-Madison from 1991–1993 and chaired the committee in 1992–1993. He was appointed to the UW-Madison Graduate School Research Committee (Biology Division) from 1994 to 1997. He also served as a member of the honorary degrees committee for UW-Madison from 1995–1998. He organized and wrote the first Chemistry-Biology Interface training grant for UW-Madison in 1992 and served as its Program Director, Principal Investigator and Chair of the Advisory Committee from 1993–2003; the UW-Madison CBI training program remains the largest of its type in the United States.

At the national level, Professor Rich was President of the American Peptide Symposium from 1979–1981, a member of the Bioorganic and Natural Products study section for NIH from 1981–1985 and Chairman of that study section from 1983–1985, a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science since 1986, and a council member for the American Peptide Society. He was Associate Editor for the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry from 1988–1992, and is currently Associate Editor of the ACS journal, Organic Letters.

Professor Rich also has been active within the Medicinal Chemistry Division of the American Chemical Society. He was Chair for the Division of Medicinal Chemistry in 1992, served as a member of the Planning Committee, organized two Symposia for the Division, and was an Academic Councilor for the division. He organized the 29th National Medicinal Chemistry Symposium held June 27–July 1, 2004 in Madison WI.

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