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Joseph G. Cannon

by Susan J. Ainsworth
January 16, 2012 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 90, Issue 3

Joseph G. Cannon, 85, a professor emeritus of medicinal chemistry at the University of Iowa, died in Iowa City on Dec. 17, 2011.

Born in Decatur, Ill., Cannon earned a B.S. in pharmacy in 1951, an M.S. in chemistry in 1953, and a Ph.D. in chemistry in 1957, all from the University of Illinois, Chicago.

He began his career at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, as an assistant professor in its School of Pharmacy, becoming an associate professor in 1960. He joined the faculty of the College of Pharmacy at the University of Iowa in 1962, becoming a professor of medicinal chemistry in 1965 and a professor emeritus of medicinal chemistry in 1996.

His research interests included synthetic organic chemistry, chemical pharmacology, heterocyclic chemistry, structure-activity relationships, and the stereochemistry of nerve hormones and of nerve hormone receptors. Cannon conducted research on the conformational chemistry of depolarizing myoneural blocking agents. Collaborating with University of Iowa pharmacologist J. P. Long, Cannon later focused on the chemistry, structure-activity relationships, and pharmacology of dopamine agonists and hemicholinium.

Named a Dale E. Wurster Research Fellow in the University of Iowa’s College of Pharmacy in 1984, Cannon received the Iowa Regents Award for Faculty Excellence in 1994 and the Bristol-Myers Squibb Smissman Award in Medicinal Chemistry in 1997.

An emeritus member who joined ACS in 1952, Cannon was inducted into the Division of Medicinal Chemistry Hall of Fame in 1997. He taught an ACS short course, “Pharmacology for Chemists,” for 27 years.

He was book review editor for the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry and served on the editorial boards of many publications.

Cannon enjoyed travel, opera, and Civil War literature.

He is survived by his wife, Lynne, whom he married in 1960; daughters, Huldah and Barbara; sons, Douglas and Stephen; and four grandchildren.



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