ATLANTA — Regents’ Professor of Chemistry Binghe Wang has been appointed by the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia as the inaugural Dr. Frank T. Hannah Chair in Medicinal Chemistry in the College of Arts & Sciences at Georgia State University.
The endowed chair was established through a gift from Hannah, who earned a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from Georgia State in 1960. The chair, which sits in the Department of Chemistry, has a five-year term and was established to support high-impact research advances in medicine, strengthen the department’s existing graduate curriculum and help attract top candidates to the graduate program.
“Many people have heard me say Georgia State was there when I needed it,” Hannah said.
“For a young man who needed to live at home and have a job, the just-opened College of Arts & Sciences was a blessing for me. I finished in three years with a solid pre-medical education thanks to flexible scheduling, supportive faculty and staff, and additional opportunities for part-time work at the school.”
Wang’s research focuses on drug design, drug delivery and chemo sensing, which uses synthetic molecules as sensors. His research has contributed to the design and synthesis of new therapeutic and imaging agents that target cancer, microbial pathogens and inflammatory conditions.
Wang joined the Department of Chemistry at Georgia State University in 2003 as a professor and Georgia Research Alliance (GRA) Eminent Scholar in Drug Discovery. In 2010, he became the founding director of the Center for Diagnostics and Therapeutics, a position he maintains. He led the Department of Chemistry as chair from 2011 to 2013, then served the College of Arts & Sciences as associate dean for the natural and computational sciences from 2014 to 2017 and as associate dean for research and graduate studies from 2017 to 2018.
He is a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors; has given more than 240 invited lectures worldwide; and has served in various roles, including as the editor-in-chief of Medicinal Research Reviews for nearly two decades, as the founding series editor of the Wiley Series in Drug Discovery and Development and on the Long-range Planning Committee of the Medicinal Chemistry Division of the American Chemical Society.
Wang said he is grateful for the recognition.
“This Frank Hannah Chair will give us the opportunity to explore high-risk but truly innovative new ideas in targeted drug delivery, organ protection and cancer,” he said.
Giovanni Gadda, chair of the Department of Chemistry, said he is thrilled about Wang’s appointment.
“Dr. Wang’s commitment to excellence and outstanding track record in scholarly work in medicinal chemistry makes him an excellent fit to fulfill Dr. Hannah’s intent to support academic work in medicinal chemistry,” Gadda said. “Dr. Wang’s outstanding international reputation will enable this position to elevate Dr. Wang’s and his students’ scholarly work and that of his colleagues in the Department of Chemistry, College of Arts & Sciences and Georgia State University.”
Hannah has a 36-year history of giving to Georgia State.
After graduating from Georgia State, Hannah earned his M.D. degree from Duke University, then completed his medical internship and ophthalmology residency at Duke Medical Center. He was certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology. He completed two years of active duty in the U.S. Army Medical Corps, including one year in Vietnam, before beginning private practice in Shelby, N.C., in 1970.
Hannah practiced in Shelby for nearly 50 years, retiring in June 2020. He is a Life Fellow of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and remains a member of the North Carolina Medical Society and the North Carolina Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons. During his years of active practice, he held numerous leadership positions and has served as councilor to the American Academy of Ophthalmology from North Carolina.
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