Dale Lester Boger

Background Information

Born in Hutchinson, Kansas, Dale Lester Boger attended the University of Kansas where he received his bachelor's degree (1975) and later Harvard University where he received his doctorate (1980), both in chemistry. From 1979 to 1991, he first worked for the University of Kansas as an assistant, then for Purdue University as a professor. Currently, Boger works as the professor of chemistry for The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California. He also runs an internship program known as the Boger Group.

Research and Discoveries

Often in collaboration with colleagues from The Scripps Research Institute, Boger has released over 200 scientific publications. His field of interest in general is organic chemistry but can often be narrowed to medical chemistry. For instance, in a publication released in 2006, Boger explained how DNA strands are coiled tightly around a histone in the nucleus, regulating its accessibility to other substances, but allowed certain small molecules in. Duocarmycin SA and yatakemycin are two such substances and could aid in the designing of anticancer compounds.

In a different publication, also released in 2006, Boger revealed how to counter bacterial drug resistance by reengineering anti-biotics. Vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) is especially problematic in hospitals and it can tolerate vancomycin aglycon, an anti-biotic that works by inhibiting cell wall synthesis. However, by replacing a single atom in the antibiotic, Boger claims that VRE's resistance will be nullified as its alteration of an atom will have been compensated for in the antibiotic. Testing of this concept proved successful as levels of microbial activity decreased by as much as 1000x but Boger states that the process of altering an anti-biotic is very complicated.

Awards and Recognition

Searle Scholar Award, 1981-84
NIH Research Career Development Award, 1983-88
Alfred P. Slo an Fellow, 1985-89
ACS Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award, 1988
American Cyanamid Academic Award, 1988
ISHC Katritzky Award, 1997
ACS Award for Creativity in Organic Synthesis, 1999
Yamanouchi U.S.A. Faculty Award, 2000
Paul Janssen Prize for Creativity in Organic Synthesis, 2002
RSC Adrien Albert Medal, 200
Member, Medicinal Chemistry Study Section, National Institutes of Health, 1999-2003
Member, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2006
ACS Guenther Award in Natural Products, 2007

Impact upon Society

As an organic chemist, Boger not only benefits the scientific community through his innovation and dedication, but also the human as a whole because his research on medical issues affects everyone. By exploring the unknown, solving old problems, and creating future solutions, he is helping to protect and enrich human life.


“Dale L. Boger” The Scripps Research Institute. 11 Dec. 2008 <http://www.scripps.edu/chem/boger/db.html>.

"Drug Development; Two antitumor agents can modify cell-bound DNA." Obesity, Fitness & Wellness Week. 18 Feb 2006. 652. eLibrary. Proquest CSA. UPPER MERION AREA HIGH SCHOOL. 11 Dec 2008. <http://elibrary.bigchalk.com>.

"Nosocomial Infections; Scientists re-engineer antibiotic to counter drug resistance." Obesity, Fitness & Wellness Week. 11 Mar 2006. 1307. eLibrary. Proquest CSA. UPPER MERION AREA HIGH SCHOOL. 11 Dec 2008. <http://elibrary.bigchalk.com>.

Sauter, Eric. “Scientists Re-engineer a Well-Known Antibiotic to Counter Drug Resistance.” News and Views. 11 Dec. 2008 <http://www.scripps.edu/newsandviews/e_20060213/boger.html>.

Thompson, Alan. “February 2000 Meeting”. The Amalgamator. 11 Dec. 2008 <http://alchemy.chem.uwm.edu/amalgamator/meetings/m2000/feb0meet.html>.


1. <http://www.scripps.edu/chem/boger/db.jpg>

2. <www.flickr.com/photos/91887854@N00/542370154>

3. <http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c1/Vancomycin-Resistant_Enterococcus_01.jpg>