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Christopher Walsh

Christopher Walsh

Adjunct Professor


Christopher Walsh is a consulting professor to the Stanford University Department of Chemistry and an advisor to the Stanford ChEM-H institute. He was the Hamilton Kuhn Professor of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology at Harvard Medical School from 1987 to 2013, when he took emeritus status. He has had extensive academic leadership experience, including Chairmanship of the MIT Chemistry Department and of the HMS Biological Chemistry & Molecular Pharmacology Department, as well as serving as President and CEO of the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. At Stanford he has taught short courses including Posttranslational Modifications of Proteins: Expanding Nature’s Inventory (Chem 187/287) and also Antibiotics: Mechanisms and Resistance.

Dr. Walsh’s research has focused on enzymes and enzyme inhibitors, with specialization on antibiotics and biosynthesis of other biologically and medicinally active natural products. He and his group authored 810 research papers, and four books: Enzymatic Reaction Mechanisms (1979); Antibiotics: Origins, Actions, Resistance (2003); Posttranslational Modification of Proteins: Expanding Nature’s Inventory (2005); and Antibiotics: Challenges, Mechanisms, Opportunities (2016).

Dr. Walsh is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the U.S. National Academy of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and a co-recipient of the 2010 Welch Prize in Chemistry. At Harvard and MIT he taught biochemistry, chemical biology, and pharmacology to medical students and graduate students and organic chemistry to undergraduates.

He has been involved in a variety of venture-based biotechnology companies since 1981, including Genzyme, Immunogen, Leukosite, Millenium, Kosan, Vicuron, Epizyme. Currently he is on the board of directors of Ironwood, and Proteostasis, and the non profits: California Institute for Biomedical Research and Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research. He is a member of the scientific advisory groups at Hua, Abide, Cidara, and Flex Pharma, an advisor to Health Care Ventures and a limited investor in Health Care Ventures, MPM bioventures, Clarus, and the Longwood Venture Funds.

Dr. Walsh is married to Diana Chapman Walsh, who was president of Wellesley College from 1993-2007 and was the founding chair of the board of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. Their daughter Allison Walsh Kurian is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Stanford and co-director of the High Risk Center for women with genetic predisposition to breast and ovarian cancer.


Adjunct Professor, Chemistry

Other Appointments

Emeritus Faculty, Harvard Medical School (2014 - Present)
Member, Stanford Chem-H (2013 - Present)
Scientific Advisory Board Member, The Stanley Center, Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT (2010 - Present)
Senior Associate Member, The Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT (2010 - Present)
President, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (1992 - 1995)
Hamilton Kuhn Professor of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, Harvard Medical School (1991 - 2014)
Chairman, Department of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, Harvard Medical School (1987 - 1987)
Karl Taylor Compton Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1985 - 1987)
Chairman, Chemistry Department, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1982 - 1987)
Uncas and Helen Whitaker Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1980 - 1985)

Honors & Awards

Honorary Doctoral Degree, The Scripps Research Institute (2017)
Benjamin Franklin Medal in Chemistry, The Franklin Institute (2014)
Gordon Hammes Lecture, American Chemical Society Division of Biological Chemistry (2013)
Inhoffen Medal for Natural Products Chemistry, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research and the Technical University of Braunschweig, Germany (2013)
Keynote Lecture, Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (2012)
Max Tishler Prize Lecture, Harvard University Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology (2012)
Co-recipient, Welch Award in Chemistry, The Welch Foundation (2010)
Pauling Medal and Lecture, Stanford University School of Medicine (2010)
Ian Scott Medal, Texas A&M University (2009)
Whelan Medal, University of Chicago (2008)

Boards, Advisory Committees, Professional Organizations

Advisory Board Member, MPM Capital, Clarus Ventures, Health Care Ventures
Member, Board of Directors, Transform Pharmaceuticals, Kosan Biosciences, Magen Biosciences, Achaogen
Member, Board of Directors, Leukosite, Diacrin, Critical Theraputics, Vicuron
Scientific Advisory Board Member, Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Dyax, Caliper, LS9, Sirtris, Epizyme, Verastem
Scientific Advisory Board Member, Hua, Abide, Flex Pharma, Cidara
Scientific Advisory Board Member, Immunogen, Genzyme, Cambridge Neurosciences, Epix Medical
Chair and Member, Board of Directors, California Institute of Biomedical Research (Calibr) Scientific Advisory Board (2012 - Present)
Member, Board of Scientific Governors, The Scripps Research Institute (2012 - 2014)
Member, Scientific Advisory Board, The Ludwig Cancer Institute (2011 - Present)
Member, Board of Directors, Proteostasis (2009 - Present)

Professional Education

Postdoc, Brandeis University, Biochemistry (1972)
PhD, The Rockefeller University, Life Sciences (1970)
BA, Harvard College, Biology (1965)

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