Dr. James McChesney, PhD has over 45 years of research and development experience in natural products. He is the founder and Principal of Ironstone Separations, Inc in Oxford, MS and ChromaDex’s Chief Scientific Officer of Natural Products.
He received a B.S. in Chemical Technology from Iowa State University; a M.A. in Botany and a Doctorate in Organic Chemistry, both from Indiana University, with an emphasis on Natural Products.
He had a distinguished teaching career as professor of Botany and Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Kansas, and then as professor of Pharmacognosy at the University of Mississippi.
He also served as an advisor to the World Health Organization on Traditional Medicines and anti-malarial drug development, and to UNESCO in Natural Products Chemistry. In 1985, he taught natural products chemistry in Brazil as a Fulbright Fellow. From 1978 to 1986, he chaired the Department of Pharmacognosy at Ole Miss.
From 1986 to 1995 he was Director of the Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Mississippi where he established the National Center for Natural Products Research, a state-of-the-art 115,00 square-feet R&D facility.
In 1986-87 he was President of the American Society of Pharmacognosy, the premier organization of natural products researchers in the world. In 1993 Dr. McChesney was named F.A.P. Barnard Distinguished Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Mississippi. In 1995 he was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science for his contributions to the development of Artemisinin-based anti-malarials.
He retired from academia in 1996 to take a position as Vice President of Research and Development at NaPro Biotherapeutics, Inc., a natural product pharmaceutical company. Later, as CSO of Tapestry Pharmaceuticals, he designed a next generation taxane, TPI 287, which overcame many clinical limitations of current taxanes and is currently in Phase II clinical trials.
His research interests include the chemistry, metabolism, function and production of biologically-active organic natural products, bioanalytical chemistry of natural products and drugs, chemotherapy of tropical diseases, and the control of plant growth and development. Most recently he has focused on development of biologically-active natural products as pharmaceuticals, especially as cancer chemotherapeutics. As a recognized expert in medicinal plant development, he frequently lectures and has authored over 40 patents and nearly 200 peer-reviewed publications.