The chemistry community recently said goodbye to Dr. Toshio Fujita, who helped develop the Quantitative Structure-Activity Relationship (QSAR) method along with Corwin Hansch. This method has helped generations of chemists interpret molecular interactions and predict the properties of new molecules. Over the last 50 years, the QSAR method proved vital to chemists looking to discover new drugs and agrochemical materials. It also helped encourage chemists’ use of machine learning in their research.
Fujita, who passed away on August 21, 2017, was the author of more than 300 papers, including 37 in ACS Publications journals. An early paper describing the QSAR method, “p-σ-π Analysis. A Method for the Correlation of Biological Activity and Chemical Structure,” published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS) in 1963, has been cited almost 2,800 times to date, according to Google Scholar. A related paper, “A New Substituent Constant, π, Derived from Partition Coefficients,” published in JACS the following year, has been cited almost 1,700 times so far.
Throughout his later years, Fujita continued to publish, occasionally commenting on the different approaches within the field he helped create, as in his paper “Understanding the Roles of the “Two QSARs,” published just last year in the Journal of Chemical Information and Modeling. As he wrote in a chapter of the 1995 ACS Symposium Series eBook Classical and Three-Dimensional QSAR in Agrochemistry, “Despite the fact that the various approaches to QSAR have…completely changed the way we study the interaction of organic compounds with the various forms of life, we have a long way to go in developing a science of QSAR.”
Fujita’s long career was full of accolades, including Recognition for Research Performance from the Division of Agrochemicals of ACS in 1992 and the ACS’ International Award in Pesticide Chemistry in 1994.