Pharmaceutical Sciences Faculty Member Receives Prestigious ACS Teaching Award

Sabesan Yoganathan, Ph.D.
March 9, 2023

The New York Local Section of the American Chemical Society recently recognized Sabesan Yoganathan, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Medicinal Chemistry in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at St. John’s University’s College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, with the Outstanding Four-Year University with Graduate School Chemistry Faculty Teaching Award.

The New York Section was established as the second local section of the American Chemical Society in 1891. The organization honors the dedication of college professors in training the next generation of chemistry professionals. The awards recognize excellence in teaching Two-Year College Chemistry, Four-Year Undergraduate College Chemistry, and Four-Year University with Graduate School Chemistry. They are presented annually to recognize highly effective teaching and inspirational leadership by chemistry faculty within the New York Section.

“I am honored and grateful to be nominated by my colleagues and selected to receive this prestigious teaching recognition from the American Chemical Society,” said Dr. Yoganathan.

“Since I started my journey as a professor at St. John’s University, I have been blessed with exciting new opportunities to grow as an effective teacher and an innovative scientist.”

Dr. Yoganathan joined St. John’s as an Assistant Professor in medicinal chemistry in September 2014. In addition to medicinal chemistry, his educational and research training is in organic chemistry, microbiology, and natural products drug discovery. He also teaches chemistry and medicinal chemistry courses to students in biomedical sciences, nursing, pharmacy, and graduate (M.S. and Ph.D.) programs.

Dr. Yoganathan is an integral part of student success at St. John’s University. Students from the Yoganathan Research Laboratory at St. John’s have gone on to pursue graduate education and postdoctoral research in prestigious institutions, as well as employment in the chemical industry.

The Yoganathan laboratory provides a multidisciplinary teaching and research environment for undergraduate and graduate students. Much of their research focuses on developing chemical and biological approaches to discover novel medicinal compounds to treat infectious diseases and cancer.

Since 2014, 11 graduate students and more than 20 undergraduate students have been part of Dr. Yoganathan’s research team. He also provided summer research opportunities to high school students, inspiring them to pursue a STEM (i.e., science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education.

Dr. Yoganathan has contributed 26 peer-reviewed research articles in the fields of chemistry, medicinal chemistry, and drug discovery. He has also published two book chapters; one of his chapters is in the world-renowned medicinal chemistry textbook Foye’s Principles of Medicinal Chemistry, 8th Edition, which is used by pharmacy students and medicinal chemistry students at St. John’s and around the world.

Dr. Yoganathan is actively involved with the ACS New York Section and STEM educational activities. He served as a Co-director of Chemagination, which is an annual science competition for high school students.

He grew up in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, where he attended McMaster University and graduated with a B.Sc. (Honors) degree in chemistry, specializing in biological chemistry. Prior to joining St. John’s, Dr. Yoganathan earned his Ph.D. degree from the University of Alberta (Canada) and completed his postdoctoral tenure at Yale University.