David W. Christianson
Roy and Diana Vagelos Professor in Chemistry and Chemical Biology
David Christianson is well known for his work in biological chemistry, focusing on the structure and function of metal-requiring enzymes. In recent years, his research has illuminated complex molecular mechanisms in the biosynthesis of terpenes, a family of natural products that includes menthol, cholesterol, and the anticancer drug Taxol. He has also discovered a new metalloenzyme that plays a key role in the chemistry of male and female sexual arousal.
He has been named an Office of Naval Research Young Investigator, an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Research Fellow, a Searle Scholar, and a Camille and Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar. He has received the Repligen Award in Chemistry of Biological Processes, the Pfizer Award in Enzyme Chemistry from the Biological Chemistry Division of the American Chemical Society, a Pennsylvania Drug Discovery Institute Award, and a Rhodes Trust Inspirational Education Award from Oxford University. Christianson has also earned the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching at the University. He teaches biochemistry and serves as an adviser in the Roy and Diana Vagelos Scholars Program for the Molecular Life Sciences.
About the Donor
P. Roy Vagelos, a chemistry major who graduated from Penn in 1950 before going on to receive a medical degree from Columbia University, is the retired chairman and chief executive officer of Merck & Co.