Distinguished Firmenich Scientist, Dr. Christian Margot visits the department

Liz McGrath
April 27, 2018

On Thursday, April 26, Dr. Christian Margot, Distinguished Scientist, and Director of Human Perception & Bioresponses, at Firmenich, SA, Geneva, visited the department to meet with Firmenich Professor of Chemistry, Ronald Raines, and former Firmenich Career Development Chair holders, Professors Rick Danheiser, Jeremiah Johnson, and Mohammad Movassaghi.

The Firmenich Professorship was established in 1979 following discussions between Dr. Robert Firmenich, and chemistry professor, George H. Büchi, to honor Drs. Roger and Georges Firmenich on the occasion of their retirements from Firmenich SA.  

For 39 years, the professorship has provided vital support for faculty research and education and will continue to do so in perpetuity.  The professorship began as a chair for career development of junior faculty, however, by 2007, the income from the endowed Firmenich Professorship fund had grown to a level where it could support the research and educational activities of a distinguished senior faculty member, or two Career Development Chair holders.  Appointment to a named professorship is among the highest honors that MIT can bestow on a member of its faculty.  Professor Raines is the second faculty member to be appointed to the full professorship (previously held by Professor Gregory C. Fu) and he is delighted and honored to hold the position.

Graduate students and postdocs from the Raines, Buchwald, and Kiessling groups, also got an opportunity to meet Dr. Margot when they attended his presentation on research being carried out at Firmenich on molecular structure-function correlations related to the sense of smell. Firmenich was founded in 1895 in Geneva, Switzerland. It currently employs 7,000 people around the world in 63 facilities and has over 2900 patents.   Dr. Margot's presentation, which included fragrance "sniffing" samples, was very well received.

Professor Raines is looking forward to visiting Dr. Margot and his colleague, Professor Geneviève Berger, Firmenich’s Chief Research Officer, when he travels to Europe in June.