JoAnne Stubbe Delivers 2024 Davison Lecture in Inorganic Chemistry

Categories: Events, Faculty, Research

Stubbe is the Novartis Professor Emerita and the winner of a National Medal of Science.

On Wednesday, February 28, 2024, Novartis Professor Emerita JoAnne Stubbe delivered the 2024 Alan Davison Lecture in Inorganic Chemistry. Her talk, entitled “The Road Less Traveled: For Love of Detection, Discovery, and All Things Radical”, drew a considerable crowd to 54-100.

 “Today will stand as one of my most memorable lectures,” said Lindsey Backman (PhD ’22), in a tweet following Stubbe’s presentation. “[Professor Stubbe’s] love for science is so contagious… I wish I could go back to grad school and take biochemistry again with her!”

Stubbe joined the MIT Chemistry faculty in 1987, following appointments at Williams College, Brandeis University, Yale School of Medicine, and the University of Wisconsin–Madison. She holds the distinction of being the first woman to earn tenure in the MIT Department of Chemistry, and, in 1990, went on to hold a secondary faculty appointment in the MIT Department of Biology. For the next thirty years, until her retirement in 2017, the Stubbe Lab studied ribonucleotide reductases — essential enzymes that provide the building blocks for DNA replication, repair and successful targets of multiple clinical drugs. 

Among Stubbe’s numerous honors and accolades is a 2009 National Medal of Science, given in recognition of her “groundbreaking experiments establishing the mechanisms of ribonucleotide reductases, polyester synthases, and natural product DNA cleavers — compelling demonstrations of the power of chemical investigations to solve problems in biology.”

“JoAnne Stubbe is a legendary scientist, a cherished colleague, and an inspiring teacher. It was wonderful for our current cohort of students and postdocs to be present for her lecture and to feel her infectious enthusiasm for science,” said Professor Dan Suess. “Her research interests in medically relevant aspects of biological and inorganic chemistry have clear parallels with the work of Alan Davison, and in this sense JoAnne’s delivery of the Davison Lecture is a celebration of Alan’s legacy.”

Stubbe’s Davison Lecture is now available to watch on the Department of Chemistry YouTube Channel. The Davison Lecture was established in 2005 by Professor Alan Davison. Davison, an innovator whose inventions included Cardiolite, an important tool in clinical nuclear cardiology, was a member of the Chemistry faculty for his entire academic career, from 1964 until his death in 2015.