Dervan Alumni Reunion
About 80 former graduate students and postdoctoral coworkers from the Dervan group visited the Caltech campus on the weekend of March 12-14, 2016 for a reunion to celebrate Peter's 70th milestone. Saturday was a day full of lectures by Dervan alumni with stories and recollections of life at Caltech. Speakers included John Stephen Taylor, Michael Van Dyke, John Termini, James Maher, Warren Wade, Hans Dieter-Arndt, Martha Oakley, Kathy Grant, David Liberles, Scott Priestly, Kent Gates, Aseem Ansari, Simon Friedman, Christian Melander, Dan Harki, Dave Chenoweth, Jordan Meier, Michelle Farkas, Amanda Hargrove, Jevgenij Raskatov, Adam Urbach, Jason Belitsky, Bobby Arora, Ralf Jaeger, Marc Distefano, Brent Iverson, Yitzhak Tor and Milan Mrksich. The group broke for lunch in the Schlinger Courtyard with Pie 'N Burger cheeseburgers and pie on the menu. At 5:00 pm there was a wine/beer reception in Dabney Gardens and a fabulous buffet dinner (roast beef) prepared by the Athenaeum kitchen under the watchful eye of General Manager Marisu Jimenez. Former group members from as far away as China, Korea, Germany and Switzerland were able to re-connect and make new friends.
On Sunday afternoon the group reconvened at the Dervan's oceanside weekend home on beautiful Crescent Bay, Laguna Beach. Among the Alumni group was John and Linda Griffin, Jong Sung Koh, Kevin Luebke, Ryan Bremer and his wife, Nick Wurtz, Victor Rucker, Ryan Stafford, Sherry Tsai, John Phillips, David Montgomery, Fei Yang, JJ Kang, Jerzy Szablowski and his wife, Thomas Martinez, Alexis Kurmis, Marius Sutter and his wife, Heinz Moser, Robert Haner, Marc Greenberg, Carol Wada, Roland Burli, James Zhan, Bogdan Olenyuk, Tim Welch, Tiezheng Jia, Paul Finn and Alice Ghidini.
On Monday at the ACS National Meeting in San Diego, a symposium was held in the Biological Chemistry and Organic Divisions entitled, Frontiers in Biomolecular Recognition: From Materials to Cells. Lectures by more Dervan alumni Peter Schultz, Tadhg Begley, Anna Mapp, Scott Strobel, Pete Beal, Eric Kool, Nick Nickols, Milan Mrksich, Erick Carreira, Sam Gellman, Alanna Schepartz and Laura Kiessling revealed the breadth and excitement in the field of chemical biology. Former coworkers commented on Dervan's early influential role founding the field of chemical biology by moving organic chemistry to biology and medicine. That evening, a DervanFest reception at the Hard Rock Hotel was joined by the Grubbs family and Dennis Dougherty. At the dinner, Dervan reminded the Alumni group not to forget the important role the CCE Division and Caltech played in their lives!
The three day event was organized by Anna Mapp, Bobby Arora and Jordan Meier. As a 70th birthday present, the alumni and friends of the Dervan group endowed a new CCE lectureship in Peter's name upon his retirement.
John and Linda Griffin write:
"It was truly amazing to pick up conversations with colleagues as if only a weekend had passed, rather than years or even decades! We consider ourselves so very fortunate to have had the chance to work with you at Caltech."
Marius Sutter from Basel writes:
"I enjoyed it very much to see many of the coworkers, some of them the first time after 30 years and renew the bonding."
Simon Friedman writes:
"Last week Dervan-Fest succeeded spectacularly on both professional and human levels. I have never felt more a part of the continuum of scientists than in that room on Saturday, and never more part of a community: a community that you to a large degree created and shaped (curated). Many thanks to you and Jackie, and all my best wishes for the coming years."
Scott Strobel writes:
"It was remarkable to see so many people from multiple generations of lab members at the event last month. What a legacy you have created in science!"
Pete Beal writes:
"What a wonderful opportunity to see the Dervan Alumni together and share stories about our time at Caltech! Peter influenced us all in so many ways and it was great to come together and show our appreciation on the occasion of his birthday. My time in the Dervan lab altered the trajectory of my life to such an extent, both professionally and personally, it's hard to imagine what I'd be doing now had I not spent those few years in Pasadena!"
Roland Burli writes:
"It's been a wonderful event! It brought back great memories about Caltech, the group and yourself as a mentor; fantastic! Many thanks again for hosting us at Laguna Beach. Very best wishes to you and Jackie!"