Monroe E. Wall, Ph.D.

 

Monroe E. Wall, Ph.D. served as Chief Scientist in Chemistry and Life Sciences at the Research Triangle Institute. Dr. Wall studied at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, where he received B.S. (1936) and M.S. (1938) degrees in chemistry and a Ph.D. degree in agricultural biochemistry (1939). In 1941, Dr. Wall joined the Department of Agriculture's Eastern Regional Research Laboratory. He directed a research group in the first large-scale screening of plant products for potential precursors of cortisone and other steroids. More than 7,000 plants were collected, and the group's findings led to the preparation of cortisone. In 1958, his group discovered that extract of Camptotheca acuminata had antitumor activity. Dr. Wall came to RTI in 1960 from the USDA specifically to start a chemistry research group. In addition to carrying on his own research, he served as research vice president from 1971 to 1983, during which time he helped build RTI’s staff and capabilities in the areas of analytical and environmental chemistry, life sciences and bioorganic chemistry, organic and medicinal chemistry, and toxicology. In addition to the Kettering Prize, the highest honor in the field of cancer research, Dr. Wall was the recipient of the USDA Superior Accomplishment Award, the American Pharmaceutical Association’s top research prize for natural products chemistry, and the Research Achievement Award of the American Society of Pharmacognosy. In 1998 he was awarded the American Chemical Society’s Alfred Burger Award, the most prestigious award in medicinal chemistry. The Wall-Wani discoveries of Taxol and camptothecin in the 1960s helped revolutionize modern cancer research. Dr. Wall worked at RTI until he died in 2002 at the age of 85.