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Mansukh C. Wani, Ph.D.

Mansukh C. Wani was born in Nandurbar, Maharashtra, India. He attended grade school in Nandurbar, Maharashtra and graduated in 1943. He then received his bachelor's degree in Chemistry from the University of Bombay in 1947 and his master's degree in Organic Chemistry from the same University in 1950. In 1958, he came to the United States of America and obtained his Ph.D. degree in Chemistry from Indiana University at Bloomington in 1962, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. He joined the Research Triangle Institute (RTI) in North Carolina in 1962, where he currently holds the position of Principal Scientist (Emeritus).

Dr. Wani's main areas of research have included the isolation and characterization of biologically active natural products and synthesis of anticancer and antifertility agents. In the area of natural products research at RTI, he has been involved in the isolation, purification, and characterization of a wide variety of antineoplastic agents including camptothecin and taxol. These extremely important leads have contributed to the development of four prescription drugs (irinotecan and topotecan from camptothecin, and paclitaxel and docetaxel from Taxol), which together accounted for about one-third of the total cancer chemotherapeutic agent market in 2002. In addition to this ongoing work on plant-derived antitumor agents, continuing efforts have also been directed towards the synthesis of potent water-soluble camptothecin analogs. He has published extensively with over 200 publications and 36 patents to his credit. He has been an invited speaker to a number of national and international symposia on taxol and camptothecin.

Dr. Wani is the recipient of many awards, including the Bruce F. Cain Memorial Award given by the American Association for Cancer Research, the City of Medicine Award given by the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce, and the National Cancer Institute Award of Recognition, the 2000 Charles F. Kettering Prize of the General Motors Cancer Research Foundation, the Ranbaxy Research Award from the Ranbaxy Science Foundation, and the 2003 Distinguished Alumni Award from Indiana University. In August 2002, a plaque commemorating the discovery of Taxol at RTI was unveiled by the Gifford Pinchot National Forest of Washington State, and in April 2003, the American Chemical Society designated the discovery of camptothecin and Taxol at RTI a National Historic Chemical Landmark. In 2005, Dr. Wani received the North Carolina Award in Science from the Governor of North Carolina. In 2008, Dr. Wani received the Paul Ehrlich Magic Bullet Lifetime Achievement Award.

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