Silvestri Lecture

The Anthony J. and Heand Johns Silvestri Lecture in Chemistry is an endowed lectureship allowing the Chemistry Department to invite renowned speakers in Chemistry to our Department.  Through the generosity of Dr. Anthony and Heand Johns Silvestri, the department is able to host these preeminent scholars.

About Dr. Anthony Silvestri

Born in Glassboro, NJ, Dr. Silvestri graduated from Gloucester Catholic High School. He subsequently earned a B.S. in Chemistry from Villanova University in 1958 and a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Penn State in 1961.  Upon leaving Penn State, he joined Mobil as a Research Chemist at their Paulsboro (NJ) Research Laboratory. In 1963, he transferred to Mobil’s Princeton Technical Center as a Senior Research Chemist and was appointed Research Associate in 1968, Manager, Analysis and Special Technology in 1973 and Manager, Catalysis Research in 1975. In 1977, Dr. Silvestri returned to Paulsboro as Manager, Process Research and Development. In 1979, he undertook a one-year assignment at Mobil’s corporate headquarters in New York.

Dr. Silvestri returned to Paulsboro in 1980 as Manager of the Process Research and Technical Service Division and became Manager of the Products Research and Technical Service Division at that location in 1984. In 1989, Dr. Silvestri returned to Princeton as Vice-President with responsibility for Mobil’s Corporate Environmental Health and Safety Department. He retired from that position in 1996.

During his career with Mobil, Dr. Silvestri was involved in studies on chemical kinetics, heterogeneous catalysis, synthetic fuels production, fuel and lubricant formulations, environmental issues, product safety and toxicology. He authored or coauthored about 60 papers and United States patents. In 1984 Dr. Silvestri received the New York Catalysis Society Award for Excellence in Catalysis in recognition of his professional accomplishments and was named a Penn State Alumni Fellow in 1995.

In addition to his duties at Mobil, Dr. Silvestri has served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Chemical Industry Institute of Toxicology, has been a member of the Health and Environment General Committee of the American Petroleum Institute, served on the Advisory Council to the School of Chemical Engineering at Cornell University and was a member of the National Academy of Science Committee on control of explosive materials.

History of recipients:

2013 – Dr. Vern L. Schramm (October)
Professor Schramm studied chemistry, microbiology, nutrition and enzymatic mechanisms at South Dakota State University, Harvard and the Australian National University. He began his research in transition state analysis at the Department of Biochemistry at Temple University School of Medicine. He is now Professor and Ruth Merns Chair of Biochemistry at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. Schramm has developed the use of kinetic isotope effects and computational chemistry to understand enzymatic transition states. Knowledge of the transition-state permits design of powerful inhibitors. Two of the inhibitors designed by the Schramm laboratory have entered clinical trials and others are in earlier stages of development.  Professor Schramm has received many honors in recognition of his contributions to research. They include a Merit Research Award from the NIH, election as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Rudi Lemberg Award from the Australian Academy of Science and the Repligen Award from the Biological Chemistry Division of the American Chemical Society. Professor Schramm served as an Associate Editor of the Journal of the American Chemical Society for nine years. In 2007 he was elected to membership in the National Academy of Sciences.

2012- D. Cheryl A Kerfeld (November)
Dr. Kerfeld is currently head of the Structural Bioengineering and Bioinformatics Education Programs at the Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute. In addition to appointments with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's Genomics and Physical Biosciences Divisions, she is an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Plant and Microbial Biology at UC Berkeley and a member of the Berkeley Synthetic Biology Institute. Her research group combines methods in bioengineering, bioinformatics, cellular imaging, synthetic and structural biology for the engineering bacterial metabolism. Dr. Kerfeld was the winner of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology’s 2012 Award for Exemplary Contributions to Education.

2011 - Dr. Erik J. Sorensen - (October)
Dr. Sorensen is the Arthur Allan Patchett Professor in Organic Chemistry at Princeton University

2010 - Thomas J. Meyer – (November)
Dr. Meyer is the Arey Professor of Chemistry The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
“Our Energy Future Science & Technology Challenges of the 21st Century”

2009-Dr. Barbara J. Finlayson-Pitts – (September)
University of California, Irvine Distinguished Professor, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
“From Combustion to Climate:  Chemical Challenges for a Changing World”

2008 - Dr. Cynthia A. Maryanoff – (January)
Distinguished Research Fellow, Pharmaceutical Development, Cordis, a Johnson & Johnson Company
“From Discovery to Development”

2007 - Dr. Ronald L. Magolda – (March)
Vice President of Medicinal Chemistry for Neuroscience and Vice President for Women’s Health Wyeth Pharmaceuticals
“Discovery of Novel Nuclear Hormone Receptor Ligands”

2006 - Professor Christopher T. Walsh – (January)
Hamilton Kuhn Professor Biological chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, Harvard University Medical School
“Tailoring Strategies in Natural Product Biosynthesis:  Enzymatic Halogenations”

2005 – Dr. Esther S. Takeuchi - (April)
Vice President, Battery Research and Development, Wilson Greatbatch Technologies, Inc., Clarence, NY
“The Bionic Human:  Medical Devices and How they are Powered”

2004 – Dr. Arthur B. Ellis – (January)
The Director of the Chemistry, Mathematical and Physical Sciences Directorate at the National Science Foundation
The ABS’s of Nanotechnology:  Atoms, Bits and Civilization”

2003 – Dr. Joseph M. DeSimone – (March)
Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering
Department of Chemistry, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
 and Department of Chemical Engineering, North Carolina State University
“The Carbon Dioxide Technology Platform:  From the Synthesis and Processing of Fluoropolymers to Totally ‘Dry’ Microelectronics Processes and Dry Cleaning Garments”