Iwao Ojima received his B.S. (1968), M.S. (1970), and Ph.D. (1973) degrees from the University of Tokyo, Japan. He joined the Sagami Institute of Chemical Research and held a position as Senior Research Fellow until 1983.
He joined the faculty at the Department of Chemistry, State University of New York at Stony Brook first as Associate Professor (1983), was promoted to Professor (1984), Leading Professor (1991), and then to University Distinguished Professor (1995). He served as the Department Chairman from1997 to 2003. He serves as the founding Director for the Institute of Chemical Biology and Drug Discovery (ICB&DD) at Stony Brook from 2003. Also, he was a Visiting Professor at the Université Claude Bernard Lyon I, France (1989), The University of Tokyo, Japan (1996), The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA (1997), and Université de Paris XI, BIOCIS, Châtenay-Malabry, France (1997).
His research interests include medicinal chemistry and chemical biology (anticancer agents, tumor-targeted drug delivery, antibacterial agents, enzyme inhibitors), catalytic asymmetric synthesis, organic synthesis by means of organometallic reagents and catalysts, peptidomimetics, β-lactam chemistry (applications of the β-lactam synthon method), and organofluorine chemistry (fluoroamino acids and peptides, fluorotaxoids, medicinal applications). He has published more than 450 papers and reviews in leading journals and more than l00 patents granted, edited 8 books (SciFinder lists >980 publications to his credits; Google Scholar indicates h-index of 68, total citation >21,000), and he has given 130 Plenary and Invited Lectures in international conferences and symposia by December 2015.
He is a recipient of the Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award (1994), the E. B. Hershberg Award (for important discovery of medicinally active substances) (2001) and the ACS Award for Creative Work in Fluorine Chemistry (2013) from the American Chemical Society; The Chemical Society of Japan Award (for distinguished achievements) (1999) from the Chemical Society of Japan; Outstanding Inventor Award (2002) from the Research Foundation of the State University of New York. He was inducted into the Medicinal Chemistry Hall of Fame, American Chemical Society (2006).
He is an elected Fellow of the J. S. Guggenheim Memorial Foundation (1995-), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (1997-), The New York Academy of Sciences (2000-), the American Chemical Society (2010-), and National Academy of Inventors (2014-).
He has served in various advisory committees for National Institutes of Health (National Cancer Institute, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institute of General Medical Sciences), National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy. He has served as a member of the Executive Committee for the Division of Organic Chemistry and the Long Range Planning Committee for the Division of Medicinal Chemistry, American Chemical Society. He has organized and chaired numerous international and award symposiums at the American Chemical Society National Meetings.
He has served and has been serving as Editorial Advisory Board member of Journal of Organic Chemistry, Organometallics, Journal of Molecular Catalysis, Chemistry Letters, Anti-Cancer Agents in Medicinal Chemistry, Current Topics in Medicinal Chemistry (current), Medicinal Chemistry (current), Letters in Drug Design & Discovery (current), and Bulletin of the Chemical Society of Japan (current). He has also served as the Guest Editor for thematic issues of the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, Accounts of Chemical Research, and Current Topics in Medicinal Chemistry. In addition, he serves as the Senior Editor of “Future Medicinal Chemistry”.