I wanted to write a short note to commemorate my postdoc supervisor, Prof Bob Pettit, who passed away in September last year. He was a colossus of natural product chemistry and cancer research who made seminal discoveries such as the bryostatins, dolastatins, combretastatins, cephalostatins and spongistatins. I worked for nearly two years from 1993 at the Cancer Research Institute at Arizona State University. Phoenix was a great place to live, and I had a very enjoyable times working with many colleagues in the lab and exploring Phoenix, Arizona and beyond.
The last (and only) picture I have of Bob and I was taken on the New York Harbour cruise at the 43rd ASP Annual Meeting held from 27 –31 July 2002 in New Brunswick, New Jersey, as well as a picture of him delivering his lecture at this conference.
I had been in Singapore for a few by then and was starting to work on antibacterials. I asked him if he was interested in also looking at antibiotics. I still remember him saying to me, “Mark, I will look at antibiotics after I have solved cancer”. RIP.