Dale L. Boger

Scripps Research

Primary Section: 14, Chemistry
Membership Type: Member (elected 2014)


Born in 1953 and raised in Hutchinson, Kansas, Dale Boger received his BSc in Chemistry from the University of Kansas (1975, with highest distinction and honors in chemistry) and PhD in Chemistry from Harvard University (1980) under the direction of E. J. Corey and supported by a NSF fellowship. He returned to the University of Kansas as a member of the faculty in the Department of Medicinal Chemistry (1979-1985), moved to the Department of Chemistry at Purdue University (1985-1991), and joined the faculty in the newly created Department of Chemistry at The Scripps Research Institute (1991-present) as the Richard and Alice Cramer Professor of Chemistry. Since 2012, he has served as the Chairman for the Department of Chemistry. Professor Boger is internationally recognized for his work in organic synthesis, heterocyclic chemistry, natural products total synthesis and biological evaluation, synthetic methodology development, and medicinal chemistry, and has made seminal contributions to improving glycopeptide antibiotics and the understanding of DNA-drug interactions of naturally occurring antitumor-antibiotics. He has served as the Editor-in-Chief for Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry Letters since its launch (1990) and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences.

Research Interests

Dale Boger is recognized for his work in organic synthesis, natural products total synthesis, synthetic methodology development, medicinal chemistry and has made seminal contributions to improving the glycopeptide antibiotics, to understanding the DNA-binding properties of naturally occurring antitumor-antibiotics, to probing protein-protein interactions, and to the discovery of new biological targets (e.g. FAAH). Most notable are his use of the hetero Diels-Alder reaction in syntheses of complex natural products, the development of cyclopropenone ketal cycloaddition reactions, the use of alkene addition reactions of acyl radicals, macrocyclization technology, an Fe(III)-mediated hydrogen atom transfer free radical functionalization of unactivated alkenes, and solution-phase combinatorial chemistry. Applications of this methodology in his natural products total syntheses are chosen based on their important biological properties. The most notable are CC-1065 and duocarmycin, bleomycin, vinblastine, and vancomycin. They made the unusual observation that both enantiomers of CC-1065 and the duocarmycins constitute effective DNA alkylating agents, defined their DNA alkylation selectivity, identified a remarkable source of catalysis for the DNA alkylation reaction, defined structural features contributing to functional reactivity, and delineated their impact on biological properties. Similarly, his group was the first to extend their total synthesis of the glycopeptide antibiotics to redesigned vancomycins to address vancomycin resistance.

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