Skip to content Skip to navigation

Med Chemists Bond at Triathlon

Sep 25 2022

Posted In:

20/20 Blog

Santa Cruz, CA — A group of professional and amateur athletes convened in Santa Cruz to compete in a triathlon, a sport younger than many of the participants. The triathletes completed an open-water swim around the Santa Cruz pier, a 25-mile bike ride to Davenport and back, and a 6.2-mile run. 

Mark Smith Ph.D., head of the Stanford Medicinal Chemistry Knowledge Center at ChEM-H and longtime Mahajan Lab collaborator, encouraged Mahajan Lab postdoc David Dennis to train for his very first triathlon. 

Smith explained, “Training is a great way to release stress from the laboratory, and there are similarities between medicinal chemistry and triathlons. Both are endurance events that require a good level of training and strategic thinking to be successful.” Mark first started competing in triathlons in 2006 with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team. 

“Mark oversees my day-to-day work in the laboratory and brings the same intensity to his chemistry projects as he brings to his triathlon training,” Dennis remarked. “He is a great mentor for me to learn the ropes of medicinal chemistry. He has decades of experience and is eager to share what he has learned.” 

With over two decades of industry experience in medicinal chemistry and drug discovery, Smith has been collaborating with the Mahajan lab for the last three years to develop new therapies for eye diseases. He is focused on delivering medicinal chemistry solutions for some of the biggest challenges facing physician scientists at Stanford and believes medicinal chemistry is essential to the development of novel therapeutics to address eye diseases. 

Vinit Mahajan M.D., Ph.D., professor and vice chair of Stanford ophthalmology research, said, “It is awesome working with the medicinal chemists at Stanford. They are active, smart, go getters who bring energy and enthusiasm to everything they do. I am confident that their triathlon mindset will help us discover new therapies for patients who have challenging eye diseases.”