The MAD Scientist Hall of Fame

Name: Frederick Sweet

Country of Residence: USA

Areas of Science: Medicine

Comments: Comments: Since 1971, I have been a professor of reproductive biology at the School of Medicine at Washington University in St. Louis. My main areas of research are the molecular biosynthesis, transport, and mechanism of action of the female hormones. Practically, I have worked on the development of new birth control agents and also anti-cancer substances for treating hormone-associated cancers of the female reproductive system. In additon to laboratory research, my personal working interests are preventing unintended teen pregnancy locally, and human overpopulation globally. FINALLY, FROM 1979 UNTIL TODAY I HAVE SERVED AS MEMBER OF THE MEDICAL SCHOOL'S COMMITTEE ON ADMISSIONS. IT HAS BEEN A WONDERFULLY PRIVILEDGED EXPERIENCE TO BE PART OF SELECTING NEARLY FIVE GENERATIONS OF MEDICAL DOCTORS WHO ARE AMONG THE BEST IN THE WORLD.


Biography: Since the age of seven, I was fascinated by science and medicine. Much of my growing up years in New York City were spent at the Museum of Natural History, Haydn Planetarium and the Bronx Zoo. I was nuts about chemistry, astronomy, and animals. When I was a teenager, my mechanically ingenious older brother helped me to build a 4-inch Newtonian reflector telescope (I had to teach him optics). [Ten years later, as an optical-electronics engineer at Fairchild Camera & Electronics, my brother designed and built the first orbiting space camera for NASA, named the Lunar Mapper] After receiving a science diploma from Stuyvesant High School, I majored in chemistry in college and received a B.Sc. degree. My post-graduate years were spent studying organic chemistry at two different universities. This extended into Canada where I received a Ph.D. degree in organic chemistry for completing the first stereoselective syntheses of carbohydrates from non-carbohydrate precursors. Returning to New York City, I worked on the synthesis of new nucleosides for treating leukemia at Sloan-Kettering Institute for Cancer Research. Finally, I settled down in the midwest at Washington University School of Medicine where I spent the rest of my life doing research on the chemistry and biology of hormones that promote the development and functioning of the female reproductive system. Some of the new substances made by me were molecular "tools" for studying this system. Others were intended to serve as birth control compounds. Many of them were specially designed to block or kill cancers. For this work, I used everything from hazardous chemicals, human cells growing in Petri dishes, and laboratory animals to powerful neutron beams from giant nuclear reactors. In science and medicine, you use whatever it takes to get the job done.

Frederick Sweet