A synthetic organic chemist by training, Professor Ganem has broad scientific research interests ranging from organic and analytical chemistry to biochemistry. His current research focuses on the development of new methodology for combinatorial chemistry with applications to drug discovery and development.
Ganem has authored some 250 scientific papers as well as numerous popular articles about science and science education. His recent honors include the American Chemical Society's 2007 Creative Invention Award and the EPA's 2007 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award. Ganem is also interested in the interface of science and business, especially in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors. He served as consultant to the CIBA-Geigy Corporation (now Novartis) for nearly 20 years, and also consulted with Affymax, Cambridge NeuroSciences, Cordis Corp., Genencor, Glycomed, Magaininn Pharmaceuticals, Parke-Davis (now Pfizer), and Purdue Pharma. In 2000, Ganem and Tony Eisenhut '88 co-founded KensaGroup LLC (www.kensagroup.com), a private equity firm specializing in the development and commercialization of promising university and corporate intellectual property that meets the needs of strategic industrial partners. Ganem has founded or helped found several biopharmaceutical and technology startup companies in the past fifteen years, including LeukoSite, Inc., ArQule, Natural Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Taktix, Gene Network Sciences, NovaSterilis, Medhesives, North Sea Resins, Novomer, and Amicus Therapeutics.
Besides teaching organic chemistry to legions of aspiring premedical students over the past three decades, Ganem has also created a course for nonscientists, "The World of Chemistry." He is active in Cornell's Entrepreneurship Program, where he created and currently teaches several courses for students in the sciences, including Chemistry 404: Entrepreneurship in Chemical Enterprise, designed for young scientists interested in starting a business based on a new or emerging technology.
At Johnson, Ganem teaches NBA 608: Innovation in Pharma/Biotech; the Challenge of Change, as well as NBA 610: Technology Management: Bio, Info, Nano. He also serves as faculty advisor to Johnson’s Healthcare and Biotech Club.
Ganem received his BA in chemistry from Harvard College and his PhD in organic chemistry from Columbia University. After completing postdoctoral work at Stanford, he joined the Cornell faculty in 1974, serving as department chairman from 1993 to 1997 and again in 2001.