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Peter B. Dervan

Born June 28, 1945 (1945-06-28) (age 64)
Nationality USA
Fields Chemistry
Institutions Yale
Alma mater Boston College
Boston College High School
Doctoral students Peter Schultz, Eric Kool, Laura Kiessling, Milan Mrksich, Anna Mapp
Notable awards Harrison Howe Award (1988)

Arthur C. Cope Award (1993) ACS Gibbs Medal (1993) Nichols Medal (1994) Maison de la Chimie Foundation Prize (1996) the Remsen Award (1998) Kirkwood Medal (1998) the Alfred Bader Award (1999) the Max Tishler Prize (1999) the Linus Pauling Award (1999) the Richard C. Tolman Medal (1999) the Tetrahedron Prize (2000) the Harvey Prize (Israel) (2002) the Ronald Breslow Award (2005) the Wilbur Cross Medal (2005)

National Medal of Science (2006)

Peter B. Dervan is the Bren Professor of Chemistry at California Institute of Technology. The primary focus of his research is the development and study of small organic molecules that can sequence-specifically recognize DNA, a field in which he is an internationally recognized authority. He is married to fellow Caltech chemist Jacqueline Barton.



Dervan received his B.S. from Boston College in 1967. He began graduate studies at the University of Wisconsin then moved on to complete his graduate studies at Yale University, in the laboratory of Jerome Berson. He received his Ph.D. from Yale in 1972, and performed post-doctoral research at Stanford through 1973, as an NIH Postdoctoral Fellow.


From Stanford, Dervan became an assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry at Caltech. He received tenure in 1979 and is currently the Bren Professor of Chemistry. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences. He served as Chair of Caltech's Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering. He is a founding member of the Scientific Advisory Board for Gilead Sciences. He also serves on the Board of Directors for Beckman Coulter. He serves on the editorial advisory board for the journals Bioorganic Chemistry, Bioconjugate Chemistry, Tetrahedron, Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry, Current Opinion in Drug Discovery and Development, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and ACS Chemical Biology. He was recently elected as an Alumni Fellow to the Yale Corporation, and was awarded the prestigious National Medal of Science in 2006 for his "fundamental research contributions" in organic chemistry.[1]

Selected publications

  • Nickols, N.G.; P.B. Dervan (2007). "Suppression of androgen receptor-mediated gene expression by a sequence-specific DNA-binding polyamide". Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 104: 10418‚Äď10423. doi:10.1073/pnas.0704217104.  
  • Dervan, P.B.; A.T. Poulin-Kerstien and E.J. Fechter and B.S. Edelson (2005). "Regulation of Gene Expression by Synthetic DNA-Binding Ligands". Top. Curr. Chem. 235: 1‚Äď31.  


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