Like the enzymes that enable chemical reactions, Paul Wender acts as a catalyst at Stanford. As a global leader in the fields of molecular chemistry, designer molecules, and sustainable chemistry, his work stands at the forefront of the molecular revolution.
The chemistry professor's pioneering research in synthesis—the physical and chemical manipulation of chemical reactions to create a new product—has led to the development of both new therapeutic agents and new methods for delivering drugs and probes into cells and tissues.
Wender was integral to work on molecules used in the anti-cancer drug taxol, as well as phorbol, resiniferatoxin, and other molecules involved in medical research.
His Stanford lab, the Wender Group, harnesses chemistry, biology, medicine, and materials science to research and invent new reactions and synthesis-based strategies. These are applied to today’s most pressing medical challenges, including the treatment of HIV/AIDS, of resistant cancer, and of cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s.
Around campus, Wender is recognized not only for his work in the lab, but also for his dedication in the classroom. Whether he’s tying together pink and white balloons to demonstrate the shape of a methane molecule or using music to help students remember chemical reactions, Wender strives to make complicated material accessible and relevant.