Dr. James Janetka, Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, is this year’s ACS-St Louis Award winner. He attended college at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, earning a BS in biochemistry in 1990, also performing an undergraduate thesis with Dr. Peter Beak. He received his graduate training in organic and medicinal chemistry with Dr. Daniel Rich at Wisconsin-Madison, earning a PhD in 1996. He completed postdoctoral training with Dr. Kenner Rice at NIDDK/NIH. He worked as a medicinal chemist investigator and principal scientist with Vertex Pharmaceuticals and then with AstraZeneca in Boston from 1997 to 2009.
Dr. Janetka came to Washington University in 2009 and is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics, with an Adjunct Faculty appointment in the Department of Chemistry. He co-founded two companies in St Louis: Fimbrion and ProteXase Therapeutics. He has been a member of the American Chemical Society since 1990, participating in the organic, carbohydrate, biological chemistry and medicinal chemistry divisions. He is a member of the American Association of Cancer Research, the Siteman Cancer Center, the Center for Women’s Infectious Disease at Washington University, and the International Proteolysis Society. He has served on the editorial boards of Cancer in Chemistry Research for the AACR and Current Drug Discovery Technologies for Bentham Publishers. He is co-editor-in-chief for DrugDesign, Development and Therapy for Dovepress. He has served on grant review panels for the Regeneron Prize, the Susan G. Komen Foundation, the NIH (for parent and SBIR/STTR proposals), the Washington University Research Strategic Alliance Grant, the Siteman Cancer Center Investment Program, the Developmental Pathway Funding Scheme in the UK, as well as other National Science Organizations in France, Israel and Poland.
Dr. Janetka’s current research funding includes grant awards from NIH/NIAID, NIH/NIDDK, NIH/NCI, Vyera Pharmaceuticals, Susan G. Komen Foundation and Siteman Cancer Center. He has been an invited lecturer at several institutions and national and international meetings. His teaching contributions to Washington University have included lectures in courses in medicinal chemistry, high-throughput screening, microbial pathogenesis, cancer biology and biomedical engineering. He has served on the thesis committees of multiple students in both chemistry and the DBBS program at the medical school. He has 49 publications (36 since 2009) and 20 US granted patents covering GPCR, helicase, kinase, protease, and lectin inhibitors as therapeutics for cancer and infectious disease. His work and leadership has resulted so far in two oncology drugs AZD7762 and BVD-523, which is currently in Phase 2 trials.
The Saint Louis Award, sponsored by the Monsanto Company and administered by the Saint Louis Section–ACS, is presented to an individual who has made outstanding contributions to the profession of chemistry and demonstrated potential to further the advancement of the chemical profession. The award, consisting of a $1,500 honorarium and a plaque, is presented at the Saint Louis Award Banquet that will be held Friday November 2, 2018. Details on the St Louis Award symposium which will also be held that Friday afternoon at the Washington University Medical School, can be found here. (Reservations are required for the banquet; see link for RSVP instructions.)