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Corwin Hansch Dies

Corwin Hansch, the Pomona College chemist whose work led to new advances in the development of drugs and chemicals, has died, reports the Los Angeles Times' Thomas Maugh II. He was 92. Hansch "pioneered the field of relating a molecule's chemical structure to its biological activity," Maugh says. His work was widely used in the development of new drugs and chemicals. Known as the "father of computer-assisted molecule design" for his development of Quantitative Structure Activity Relationships, his work has allowed chemists to modify drugs and other molecules in a "predictable" way in order to achieve desired results. "QSARs, also known simply as Hansch equations, are a series of equations that relate observable biological effects to specific, measurable properties of molecules," Maugh says. "The equation that results then reveals how the structure of the molecule should be varied to obtain the maximum biological effect." Hansch equations can even be used to modify a molecule to minimize its adverse effects. He formally retired in 1988, but continued doing research until 2010. By the time he retired, Hansch had published more than 250 papers, Maugh adds.

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