Professor George Gokel received his B S in Chemistry from Tulane University (New Orleans, LA) in 1968, and his Ph D in Chemistry from the University of Southern California with I. K. Ugi in 1971. He did a postdoctoral fellowship with D J Cram at UCLA, 1972-1974. He served on the faculty at Penn State, Maryland, Miami, and Washington University prior to joining the University of Missouri–St Louis as Distinguished Professor in 2006.
In the past five years, Dr Gokel has developed a new family of anion-selective channels composed of amphiphilic peptides. His initial reports of chloride-selective transport were featured on Nature’s “Science Update” web site, March, 2002, and www.ChemWeb.com, March, 2002. The compounds have been demonstrated to mediate chloride transport in vital lung epithelial tissue. Efforts are underway to develop an aerosol drug delivery system for these compounds in the hope that they may be useful for symptomatic relief of cystic fibrosis.
Simultaneously, Dr Gokel was working to solidify the question of π interactions with alkali metal cations. Mass spectral and computational studies made clear that such interactions were possible but the solid state structures available were all opportunistic. It could be argued in most, if not all, cases that the cation was located in the observed position by crystal packing forces. Dr Gokel designed a receptor system that could be systematically varied structurally, sterically, and electronically, permitting him to probe the details of these cation-π interactions.
Dr Gokel is active in the scientific community. He is on the editorial boards of Chemical Communications, the New Journal of Chemistry, Supramolecular Chemistry, Letters in Organic Chemistry, and other journals. He served as editor of several journals for various periods, recently ending a three-year term as editor of New Journal of Chemistry. Indeed, the Journal recently honored his work with a first ever special issue.