John Leonard Fahey, B.Sc., Ph.D. born March 4, 1944
Stand up, look up, look out, see the wonder
The ideas and thoughts expressed at the ErinPharm web site have been developed over a lifetime of my experience. I have chosen here to present my career to date in chronological order.
I was born in the market town of Stockton-on-Tees in northern England. I have memories of heavily bombed sections of where I lived. I guess I'm what was called a 'war baby'. I was taken to live with my father's parents in Ballybohan, Roscommon, in Ireland, where I had an idyllic childhood.
Later I was taught at St. Mary's school in Stockton and then at age eleven gained entrance by examination to St. Mary's College in the nearby town of Middlesbrough. The college was run and administered by Marist priests who gave me a quality of education preparing me well for life
They taught me the joy of acquiring knowledge. They taught me integrity, honor, and a profound respect for others. They taught me that a strong internal moral compass is fundamental. They laid a solid foundation for the years I had ahead of me. I am always in debt to their principles and ideals.
January 1, 1961, I began work as a laboratory assistant for Imperial Chemical Industries in the nearby town of Billingham. My career in chemistry began with the joy of running a carbon analysis apparatus, determining moisture in fertilizers, and the preparation of ultra-precise analytical standards.
For the next two years I took night classes at the local Stockton-Billingham Technical College then passed examinations in Chemistry, Pure and Applied Mathematics, and Physics at the 'A' Level General Certificate of Education in January 1963 that qualified me for university entrance.
St. Mary's College taught me well. I passed ordinary level General Certificate of Education in english language, english literature, latin, french, mathematics syllabus I, physics, chemistry and history in 1960.
I entered St. Andrews University in Dundee, Scotland in September 1963.
I studied chemistry, physics and mathematics in my first year; chemistry and biochemistry in my second; chemistry alone in my third and fourth year.
I graduated from St. Andrews University with a B.Sc. Honours degree third class on October 11, 1967.
On February 18, 1968 I migrated to the United States of America to take up a position with the Warner-Lambert Research Institute in New Jersey as an assistant scientist in the organic synthesis department.
In September 1968 I began graduate evening classes at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey.
At the Warner-Lambert Research Institute I accomplished the synthesis of over a hundred novel organic compounds, gained a publication in the Journal of Organic Chemistry and then another in the Journal of the Chemical Society from my undergraduate work at St. Andrews University.
In September 1970 I began full time thesis work under Dr. Ajay K. Bose in the chemistry department of Stevens Institute of Technology where I was assigned to explore the synthesis of novel bicyclic organic compounds.
In September 1972 I successfully defended my thesis and was awarded a Ph.D. in chemistry for my work, titled: The Synthesis of Penicillin and Cephalosporin Analogs. From my thesis work I gained another half dozen publications in the Journal of Organic Chemistry and Tetrahedron.
In September 1972 I started to work at Merck Sharp & Dohme in Rahway, New Jersey. That began three years of exciting intellectual and scientific stimulation from my mentors, Dr. Burton Christensen, Dr. Raymond Firestone and Dr. Ronald Ratcliffe. My horizens widened and the daily pleasure of working with such gifted scientists stimulated my imagination and brought me wonder. I was privileged to be on a team from the beginning of the discovery of a new antibiotic, thienamycin, from a fermentation broth through to the organic synthesis that proved its structural identity. And so I began to look up, to see the wonder. That antibiotic led to Imipenem: a broad spectrum antibiotic, the first carbapenem..
During my time at Merck I published further papers in synthetic organic chemistry in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry but my thoughts were turning to teaching others what I had learned so in 1975 I returned to Stevens Institute of Technology to take up a position as Research Scientist with funding from the A.H. Robins Company, continuing bench work with some teaching and guiding graduate students in laboratory techniques.
In September of 1976 I accepted a faculty position as Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Fairleigh-Dickinson University in Rutherford, New Jersey. On that campus I enjoyed six years of teaching chemistry to over a thousand students, with most going off to careers in nursing, dentistry, and medical school. And, as I was promoted to Associate Professor, a small number followed my path in life, went on to graduate work in chemistry and earned advanced degrees of their own. I am very proud of all of these students, they went the extra mile when studying for me. During those years my students got exceptional national recognition from the American Chemical Society for the vibrancy of their student chapter. I also contributed time as President of the Faculty Union (AAUP) and as President of Sigma Xi (chapter of national scientific recognition society). They were very pleasurable years.
In late 1983 I returned to the pharmaceutical industry by accepting an offer to be the clinical project director of a deep venous thrombosis program for Organon in West Orange, New Jersey. My mentor, Dr. Abraham Feigenbaum, gave me several years of pleasure writing medical protocols and running clinical studies for a low molecular weight heparinoid anticoagulant in fractured/replacement hip surgery and major abdominal and thoracic surgery.
By the late 1980's the spread of HIV in the American population had become a horror with little hope in sight. By 1989 I was recruited to work as Director of Clinical Research at the Community Research Initiative in Manhattan with Dr. Bernard Bihari and Dr. Joseph Sonnabend.. It was difficult to see any wonder in those days but my hope was not quenched. It was a humbling experience. By 1995 I had moved to a consultant position at St. Lukes's-Roosevelt Hospital in Manhattan and progress was finally being won against HIV and AIDS. It was exhausting and emotionally bruising. I needed to move on.
Over the next five years I became a full time consultant writing medical protocols, monitoring studies, and reviewing regulatory documentation for studies in hypertension, hepatitis C, diabetes, and schizophrenia with several major pharmaceutical companies and Contract Research Companies such as Besselaar and IBAH.
During 2000 I survived a medical crisis and underwent angioplasty for a descending aortal blockage with left femoral artery plaque. I shifted the focus of my attention, fought back, would not accept the medical thinking of the time that my medical problem would be inevitably progressive, began an ongoing program seeking to reverse progression of the plaque, then taught myself webmaster skills, founded the web.com company ErinPharm and began study of atherosclerosis
I consider myself fortunate that atherosclerosis has been a field of intense study and discovery over the last few years. I've managed to completely clear the arteries of my heart; I anticipate clearance of the rest of my atherosclerosis as medical frontiers advance. Hence my ErinPharm Central page. And with that page I'd like to share my point of view - that even healthy individuals should adopt a regimen that prevents and reverses atherosclerosis; that in the face of medical adversity we should not give up hope; we should see the wonder.
Grandma Bridget Fahey, Great uncle Frank Eady and I in Ballybohan, Roscommon in 1986
I am following my own advice along with sensible nutrition and moderate exercise. I've found I can do hours of gardening sitting on a metal folding chair wielding garden tools and getting plenty of upper arms exercise. I've brought my LDL-cholesterol down to 60 mg/dL and my triglycerides to 92 mg/dL. My daily 40 mg of simvastatin and gardening work have contributed to my HDL-cholesterol level of 46 mg/dL. However I'd like that latter number to go higher. For that I'm looking forward to FDA approval of a CETP inhibitor. That could well be Merck's investigational drug candidate anacetrapib currently in a global Phase III clinical trial.
Buy my memoir of my early years of life.
1944 - 1968