Born in Hannover, Germany, in 1933, Guenter Grethe studied chemistry at the Technical University in Braunschweig, where he obtained his Dr.rer.nat. in 1961 with a thesis on the total synthesis of tetracycline antibiotics. In 1962, he emigrated to the United States. After two years of postdoctoral work at the University of Wisconsin, he joined Hoffmann-LaRoche, Nutley, NJ, as research chemist. Fascinated by the emerging use of computers in chemistry, he left Roche to join MDL Information Systems, Inc. in 1985 until his retirement in 2003 as Director, Scientific Affairs.. The following ten years, he consulted for several companies in the area of chemoinformatics.
His main interests are in the area of reaction databases and reaction data management software and applications. Integration of data and user-friendly access have played a significant role in his work. He is the author of over 20 patents, has published over 50 papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals and has given presentations and organized symposia at national and international meetings on topics in synthetic chemistry and in the area of reaction data management. He was chairman of the International Conference on Chemical Structures in 1996, 1999 and 2002. Since 1955, he is a member of both the Americn Chemical Society (ACS) and the Gesellschaft Deutscher Chemiker (GDCh). In the Division of Chemical Information (CINF) of ACS, he held several positions over the years, including Division Chair (1998). He was Secretary General of the Biotechnology Secretariat of ACS from 2000 through 2003. In 2001, he received the Herman Skolnik Award of the Division of Chemical Information of ACS. From 2000-2005, he was chairman of the Chemical Structure Association Trust (CSA Trust) and in 2005 was awarded the the CSA Trust Ernie Hyde Award.