John J. Siekierka, Ph.D., was named the director of the newly-created Margaret and Herman Sokol Institute for Pharmaceutical Life Sciences and Sokol Professor of Medicinal Chemistry in Fall, 2007. Former Director of Research and Development for Biomaterials and Advanced Technologies at Johnson & Johnson, Dr. Siekierka will work with university and pharmaceutical industry leaders to establish the Sokol Institute as a center for research and learning in the pharmaceutical life sciences.
"Dr. Siekierka brings a remarkable record of excellence from the pharmaceutical industry and a passion to share his research and discipline expertise," said Robert Prezant, dean of the College of Science and Mathematics at Montclair State. "His continued scholarship and strong leadership skills will blend to foster wide recognition and growing success of this important Institute."
The Sokol Institute creates a unique environment to bring together faculty, students, research associates, technicians and collaborating scientists from both industry and academia. Through the strength of its faculty and facilities, the Institute will help develop advanced graduate and post-doctoral programs in pharmaceutical disciplines such as medicinal chemistry and pharmacology. The Institute will also house faculty and researchers studying fundamental biological pathways relevant to human health and disease as well as support research in important global health issues such as AIDS and malaria.
With over 20 years devoted to managing research and investigators involved in biochemical, immunological and drug discovery research, Dr. Siekierka has extensive hands-on experience in pharmaceutical research and in-depth knowledge of the industry. Prior to his position as director of research and development at Johnson & Johnson, he was senior research fellow at Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research and Development, L.L.C. and prior to that, was director of the Department of Molecular Immunology at the Johnson & Johnson Immunobiology Research Institute. He has also held senior research positions at Merck Research Laboratories and the Roche Institute of Molecular Biology.
Dr. Siekierka is a noted author and speaker who has published over 60 works in scholarly journals and presented at numerous scientific conferences and symposia. Among his many accomplishments, his research has lead to discoveries that have resulted in five patents including contributions to the development of the Drug-Eluting Cypher(TM) Stent for which in 2003, he was awarded the Johnson Medal for Research and Development, Johnson & Johnson's highest award for research and development. He is also the recipient of the Johnson & Johnson Corporate Standards in Leadership Award (2001) and was twice awarded the J & J Excellence in Science Award (1996 & 2001). Dr. Siekierka is a graduate of Seton Hall University (B.S.), City University of New York (M.S.) and New York University (Ph.D.).