BA Cambridge University, 1960
MA Cambridge University, 1963
PhD Cambridge University, 1963
Research Fellow, Queens' College, Cambridge, 1962-66
Research Associate and Fulbright Grantee, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1963-64
NATO Fellow, Cambridge University, 1964-66
Assistant Professor of Chemistry, SUNY at Albany, 1966-1971
Associate Professor of Chemistry, Virginia Tech, 1971-1977
Professor of Chemistry, Virginia Tech, 1977-1999
University Distinguished Professor, Virginia Tech, 1999-present
Honors and Awards:
Appointed Research Associate of Missouri Botanical Garden, 1998
Gene Wise Award, Blue Ridge Section, American Chemical Society, April 1999
Research Achievement Award, American Society of Pharmacognosy, July 1999
Virginia Scientist of the Year, 2002
Cook Award for Research, Department of Chemistry, Virginia Tech, May 15, 2004
Virginia Tech Alumni Association Award for Excellence in International Outreach and Research, 2004-2005
Ernest Guenther Award in the Chemistry of Natural Products from the American Chemical Society, 2008
Special birthday issue of the Journal of Natural Products, March 2009
The plants Cordia kingstoniana and Taxus kingstonii named in his honor
Member, National Advisory Council for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2010-2014.
Natural products have made a major contribution to drug discovery and especially to cancer chemotherapy, with paclitaxel (Taxol) being the best-selling anticancer drug in history. Research in our group is focused on the chemistry of biologically active natural products related to cancer and malaria. In the cancer area we are involved in a search for novel anti-cancer agents from Nature in a major collaborative project seeking to combine drug discovery and biodiversity conservation in Madagascar. Plant, marine, and microbial extracts are fractionated using selective bioassays to guide the fractionation, and structure elucidation is carried out primarily by spectroscopic methods. In some cases synthetic approaches to the isolated compounds are also employed, in order to confirm structures and to obtain adequate material for biological testing. Casearlucin A and ipomoeassin A are examples of compounds isolated in this work.
A second cancer-related project involves improved methods of delivery of the drug Taxol to tumors. Gold nanoparticles are being used in one approach, and the development of Taxol analogs with selective activity for certain classes of its molecular target tubulin is a second approach.
In the malaria area we have joined forces with the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research and Georgetown University to discover new antimalarial compounds from the superb National Cancer Institute Repository of natural products, and we have also partnered with Professor Belen Cassera in the Department of Biochemistry to examine the Merck Repository of natural products for antimalarial compounds.