Submitted by Dr. John-Stephen Taylor, St. Louis Award Committee Chair
On October 25th, 2019 a symposium and banquet was held in honor of Dr. David Keire, this year’s 49 annual St. Louis Section ACS Awardee, for his outstanding contributions to the profession of chemistry and demonstrated potential to further the advancement of the chemical profession. The symposium “Keeping it Safe. Current challenges in the Analysis of Food and Drugs,” was attended by over 50 people from academics and industry in a state of the art lecture hall in the Academic and Research Building of the St. Louis College of Pharmacy (STLCOP). The attendees were welcomed by Dr. Benjamin Barth, Associate Professor of Chemistry at STLCOP, and immediate past chair of the section. Dr. Barth spoke of the great contributions of the local section to the community and introduced Dr. Larry Lee, Director of the FDA/CDER Office of Pharmaceutical Quality, Office of Testing and Research. Dr. Lee spoke of the great contributions that Dr. Keire has made to solving important problems in the analysis of conventional and biological drugs, and in upgrading the analytical and spectroscopic capabilities of the FDA in St. Louis.
Dr. Keire then spoke of the use of high field NMR for assaying the integrity of biological drugs such as filgrastin and valscartan. He also spoke of the recent discovery of NMDA, a carcinogenic nitroso compound found in certain drug preparations. Dr. Cindy Buhse of the FDA Office of Pharmaceutical Quality Office of Quality Surveillance then spoke about the challenges of staying ahead of potential problems by monitoring drug quality and inspecting manufacturers and reformulators. After a coffee break, Nicole Konsdorf of the NP Analytical Laboratories spoke of analytical methods for monitoring Vitamin D levels in pet food, which is of great importance since vitamin D accumulates in fatty tissue and is toxic to dogs at high levels. Dr. Justin Sperry of Pfizer then talked about how the stability of newly developed monoclonal antibodies and gene therapy drugs can be monitored by liquid chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry. The symposium ended on an appropriate note with a presentation by Dr. Matt Vincent of the Budweiser Technical Center of Anheuser-Busch/In-Bev. He described how he used analytical gas chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry to solve manufacturing and distribution problems that result in off-tasting and smelling beer. Needless to say, the Busch/In-Bev beer served at the reception that followed tasted great!
The symposium and reception was immediately followed by a Banquet at the Glen Echo country Club, which was attended by many members of the local ACS section and guests. The attendees were then called to dinner, where Benjamin Barth introduced David Keire and his wife and thanked him for putting on such a great symposium. He then introduced Dr. Keire’s guests, and elected members of the local section and former St. Louis Section ACS award winners. Everyone was then treated to a great dinner of a mixed green salad, tenderloin Oscar, and cherries jubilee. While people were enjoying their dessert and coffee, Dr. Benjamin Barth presented Dr. Keire with St. Louis Section ACS Award after which Dr. Keire was introduced by Dr. Lee, who extoled his important contributions to the FDA, and to maintaining the safety of drugs. Dr. Keire then gave a fascinating talk about his upbringing and adventures in life, from working with his father’s bee hives as a child, to taking fractions from an industrial distillation column at a refinery and determining the octane rating by the knocking sound when combusted in an octane engine. Finally, he described his transatlantic sailing adventure with his uncle, where they had to negotiate more than one gale with 20 foot waves. Ben closed the proceedings thanking everyone for attending and the staff and chef of the Glen Echo Country for the fine service and food and wished everyone a safe trip home.
(All photos courtesy of Jim O’Brien)