Patrick M. Woster
My mentor, Patrick M. Woster, passed on July 15. He was an accomplished medicinal chemist, having spent 20 years at Wayne State University before moving to the Medical University of South Carolina, where he became professor and chair of the Department of Drug Discovery and Biomedical Sciences, SmartState Endowed Chair in Drug Discovery, Distinguished University Professor, and Vincent T. Peng, M.D. Endowed Professor of Pharmaceutical Chemistry. He authored more than 120 articles in peer-reviewed journals; had more than 15 patent applications; directed 22 PhD dissertations, with 3 in training; and mentored 13 postdoctoral associates.
He was an avid supporter of the American Chemical Society, becoming a fellow in 2014. Additionally, he was an active member of the Division of Medicinal Chemistry, where he served as chair 2011–13 and was inducted into the division’s Hall of Fame. He was a prolific (and comedic) writer. I wanted to share a poem he wrote about protecting groups during his early years as a budding medicinal chemist:
Ode to a Protecting Group
The journal said you were the group to put my mind at ease.
They put you on in seconds and you came off like a breeze.
Reacting now with confidence I poured you in my stew.
And now my life is not the same. It’s all because of you!
For when I try to put you on, and work both day and night.
You either bind no place at all or every place in sight!
In terms of specificity, you’re Murphy’s safest bet.
You can be found upon the group that makes me most upset.
And should I try to cleave you off, it’s such a job of bull!
You’re only labile twice a year, or when the moon is full.
Try every agent known to man. Not one of them will do.
But when I store you in the fridge, you gladly split in two!
I’ve handled you most tenderly, with reflux and with ice.
I beg and plead, I sweat and bleed (and each one more than twice!)
One more reaction shall you do; I’ll see to this myself.
I’ll take your bottle in my hand and slide it off the shelf!
Charleston, South Carolina