UC Presidential Chair in Medicinal Chemistry Installation

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On March 1, 2020, we celebrated the official installation of Professor Michael Jung as the UC Presidential Chair in Medicinal Chemistry.

An intimate gathering of close supporters, donors, faculty, alumni, and friends gathered for a reception and dinner at Shutters on the Beach in Santa Monica. UCLA Chancellor Gene Block and Dean of Physical Sciences Miguel García-Garibay honored Jung in their remarks at the event.

Select photos from the event can be viewed below and an online gallery can be viewed here

Jung was named the UC Presidential Chair in Medicinal Chemistry on July 1, 2018. Presidential chairs are created by the Chancellor’s office and approved by the Office of the President to honor UCLA’s most accomplished faculty. Jung has made exceptional contributions to UCLA in the areas of research, teaching, and service. In the past few years, he has had brilliant success in the development of drugs for prostate cancer. UCLA has benefited tremendously from Jung’s accomplishments, receiving more than $1.1B from selling the patent rights to Xtandi. 

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(Left) Professor Michael Jung and UCLA Chancellor Gene Block. (Left) Dean of Physical Sciences Miguel García-Garibay with Alice Jung and Michael Jung

Special guests at the event included Professor Judith Smith, physiologist and long-time Dean and Vice Provost of Undergraduate Education, and Founding Dean of UCLA’s Herb Alpert School of Music, and two UCLA alumni who were influenced by Jung when they were students – Dr. Sep Sarshar ’89, recipient of the 2017 UCLA Chemistry & Biochemistry Alumni Award, with his guest Melissa Misetich, and former Jung group member alumna Professor Jennifer Murphy (Ph.D. ’11), UCLA Department of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology at the Crump Institute for Molecular Imaging, with her husband Alex Quinonez. 

About Professor Michael Jung

Professor Michael Jung received his BA in 1969 from Rice University and his PhD in 1973 from Columbia University, where he worked with Gilbert Stork as an NSF Fellow. After a one-year NATO postdoctoral fellowship with Albert Eschenmoser at the ETH in Zurich, he joined the faculty at UCLA in 1974, where he is a Distinguished Professor of Chemistry. An authority on synthetic organic and medicinal chemistry, Jung consults for several industrial laboratories in both biotech and big pharma settings. He has more than 320 patents and/or patent applications arising from both his consulting activities and his own research. Recently Jung has expanded his role in medicinal chemistry at UCLA and has more than 15 ongoing collaborations. Two compounds from his lab has been FDA approved and are on the market: Xtandi, approved in 2012 for the treatment of castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC), and Erleada, approved in 2018 for the treatment of non-metastatic CRPC. These drugs have extended the lives of hundreds of thousands of patients. In addition, Jung has founded 11 biotech startup companies. He has supervised 93 PhD and nine Masters theses and has taught 130 postdoctoral scholars. He has published more than 360 articles and given over 645 lectures on his research. In 2017, Jung and his wife, Alice, endowed the Michael and Alice Jung Chair in Medicinal Chemistry and Drug Discovery to enable UCLA to hire a faculty member who will conduct drug discovery research with the goal of producing effective new pharmaceuticals. 

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(From left) Alice Jung, Professor Judith Smith, Professor David Eisenberg, Lucy Eisenberg, Professor Mike Jung.

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(Left) Alum Dr. Sep Sarshar ’89, Melissa Misetich, Professor Heather Maynard.  (Right) Professor Richard Kaner and Dr. Sara Kaner (UCLA Geffen School of Medicine).

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(Left) Jung group alum Professor Jennifer Murphy (Ph.D. 11) and husband Alex Quinonez. (Right) Professor Steven Clarke, Assistant Dean of Physical Sciences Dr. Kathleen Micham, Professor Cathy Clarke.

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(Left) Guita Motevasselani, Professor Bill Gelbart and Professor Patrick Harran. (Right) Professor Yves Rubin, Dean Miguel García-Garibay, and Professor Arnold Baas (UCLA Geffen School of Medicine).

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(From left) Professor Craig Merlic, Professor Jennifer Merlic (Vice President of Academic Affairs, Santa Monica College), Professor Anne Andrews, Graduate Division Vice Provost and Dean Robin Garrell, Professor Ken Houk.

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Guests enjoyed custom made iced sugar cookies with images related to Jung and his research. The cookie on the right features the molecular structure of the drug Xtandi.

Photos and article by Penny Jennings, UCLA Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, penny@chem.ucla.edu.