Peter Dervan

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Peter B. Dervan
Nationality USA
Fields Chemistry
Institutions Yale
Alma mater Boston College
Yale University
Doctoral students Peter Schultz, Sam Gellman, Alanna Schepartz, Scott Strobel, Eric Kool, Laura Kiessling, Milan Mrksich, Anna Mapp
Notable awards Harrison Howe Award (1988)
Arthur C. Cope Award (1993)
Willard Gibbs Award (1993)
Nichols Medal (1994)
Naison de la Chimie Foundation Prize (1996)
Remsen Award (1998)
Kirkwood Medal (1998)
Alfred Bader Award (1999)
Max Tishler Prize (1999)
Linus Pauling Award (1999)
Tolman Award (1999)
Tetrahedron Prize (2000)
Harvey Prize (Israel) (2002)
Ronald Breslow Award (2005)
Wilbur Cross Medal (2005)
Frank Westheimer Medal (2009)
National Medal of Science (2006)

Peter B. Dervan is the Bren Professor of Chemistry at the 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. The most important of these small molecules are pyrrole–imidazole polyamides.[1] He is married to fellow Caltech chemist Jacqueline Barton.


Dervan received his B.S. degree from Boston College. He began graduate studies at the University of Wisconsin then moved on to complete his graduate research at Yale University, in the laboratory of Jerome Berson. He received his Ph.D. degree from Yale, and was an NIH postdoctoral fellow at Stanford.


From Stanford, Dervan became an assistant professor of chemistry 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 (1986- ), the American Academy of Arts & Sciences (1987- ), the American Philosophical Society (2002- ). He served as Chair of Caltech's Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering (1994-99). He is a founding member of the Scientific Advisory Board for Gilead Sciences (1987- ). He served on the Board of Directors for Beckman Coulter (1998-11). He is a Trustee of Yale University (2008- ). He was awarded the 2006 National Medal of Science in 2007 from President George Bush at the White House for his "fundamental research contributions" in organic chemistry.[2][3] He is an elected member of the French Academy of Sciences (2000- ) and the German Academy of Sciences (2004- ). He serves as a member of the Board of Scientific Governors of The Scripps Research Institute. In 2014, he presented the ACS Chemical Biology Lecture.[4]

Selected publications


  1. "Molecular recognition of DNA by small molecules". Bioorg. Med. Chem. 9 (9): 2215–2235. 2001. doi:10.1016/S0968-0896(01)00262-0. PMID 11553460.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "2006 National Medal of Science Winners". United States Government. Retrieved 2009-02-08.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. National Science Foundation - The President's National Medal of Science
  4. "ACS Chemical Biology Lecture" (PDF). Division of Biological Chemistry. Retrieved 2014-01-15.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links