The emerging molecular revolution

Distinguished scientist Paul Wender, the Bergstrom Professor of Chemistry at Stanford University, California, and co-founder of CellGate, a biotech company pioneering new strategies for drug delivery, will share his knowledge about new pharmaceutical agents in a lecture titled, “The 21st Century Economy and the Emerging Molecular Revolution: Machines, Materials, and Medicines of the Future”. The lecture will take place this evening at 7:30pm in the Underground’s Contact Room, Student Centre.

Left: Paul Wender

The lecture constitutes the inaugural Ernest C. Mercier Lecture Series in Entrepreneurial Chemistry and celebrates the memory of Ernest C. Mercier, the executive vice-president of Toronto Dominion Bank from 1970 to 1993. Mercier is the late husband of Eileen Mercier, a York graduate (MBA ‘77) who established the lecture series in her late husband’s name. Eileen Mercier is a member of the Board of Governors of York University.

Right: Ernest Mercier

The lecture series which bridges chemistry with the world of business and entrepreneurial innovation, reflects the life of Ernest Mercier, who was trained in chemical engineering at the University of Glasgow. The study of science and engineering, he always believed, was excellent training for success in unexpected areas, including business. Connecting the worlds of business and commerce with the intensive research world of chemistry, the series will present an entrepreneur and graduate of a chemistry program who has used his/her own chemical science education as a springboard to other enterprises.

“Ernest believed that the benefits of discipline and analytical thinking, which his engineering education provided, were basic to understanding the cause-and-effect laws of business. That and a love of working with people were important reasons that he did well,” said Eileen Mercier. “This lectureship will hopefully inspire others to use their education in similarly unique ways.”

More about Paul Wender

Wender received his PhD in 1973 from Yale University. The co-founder of the biotech company CellGate, his research involves studies in chemistry, biology and medicine. His research group is interested in the design and mechanism of action of molecules that exhibit unique biological activity and therapeutic potential and in developing fundamentally new ways of synthesizing such compounds. This work has resulted in impressive strategies for preparing drugs or drug candidates such as: taxol, a remarkable anti-cancer drug; phorbol, an agent that is central to understanding the molecular basis for tumor promotion and carcinogenesis; resiniferatoxin, a new drug for treating neuropathic pain; and bryostatin analogs, which are designed agents that have an exceptional range of anti-cancer activities.

Wender is the recipient of the Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award, (1990);  Pfizer Research Award for Synthetic Organic Chemistry, (1995); American Chemical Society Award for Creative work in Synthetic Organic Chemistry, (1998). He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, (1992) and became a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2001.

More about Eileen Mercier

Eileen Mercier was appointed to the York University Board of Governors in 1996 and is currently the Vice-Chair of the board, Chair of the Land Use Committee and a member of the Executive Committee, the Finance & Staff Resources Committee, and the York University Pension Fund Board of Trustees. She serves on the boards of a number of public companies and the University Health Network.

Right: Eileen Mercier

A Fellow of the Institute of Canadian Bankers, Mercier is a former senior vice-president and chief financial officer of Abitibi-Price and is currently president of Finvoy Management Limited, which specializes in financial strategy, funds management, restructuring and corporate governance issues.

For more information about the event, contact Kimberley Glaze, manager of communications, alumni and special projects, Faculty of Science & Engineering at ext. 33352 or e-mail