Alumnae Spotlight: Annmarie Previte Sabb, Ph.D. ’64

Annmarie Previte Sabb 64 bio imageDuring her 20 year career as a pharmaceutical research scientist and medicinal chemist in drug discovery research, Dr. Annmarie L. Previte Sabb, Douglass College Class of 1964, designed and synthesized drugs for the treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease, schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, obesity, inflammation, and GI disorders.  She has led multidisciplinary research teams in the areas of Alzheimer’s Disease, neuropathic pain therapeutics, and an exploratory team to discover therapeutic uses for orphan G-protein coupled receptors in the brain. Dr. Sabb is an authority in the area of muscarinic agents for memory disorders, Alzheimer’s Disease, and the modulation of serotonin receptors for the treatment of schizophrenia, depression, and anxiety. She discovered a serotonin 1A antagonist for cognition (SRA-444), a novel heterocyclic serotonin 2C agonist (WAY-163909), which led to the development candidate SCA-136 (Vabicaserin) for schizophrenia, a novel serotonin transporter family leading to WAY-253752 for the treatment of depression, and she designed and synthesized an M1 muscarinic agonist for dementia in Alzheimer’s Disease. She hold over 50 patents and publications.

Although she entered Douglass as a pre-med major, she graduated with a degree in chemistry and was Phi Beta Kappa. Her activities included Voorhees Chapel Choir, The Caellian, modern dance, theater and serving as a Campus Tour Guide and Vice-President of the Government Association. After graduating, she was a research chemist in the chemical industry while earning a master’s degree in chemistry from Rutgers University. She went on to earn a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from Princeton University, studying with Professor Edward C. Taylor, an expert in heterocyclic chemistry and the inventor of the cancer drug, Alimta. She was elected to Iota Sigma Pi Scientific Honor Society, Sigma Xi Honorary Research Society, and won the Princeton University Teaching Merit Award.

At Wyeth Research in Princeton, NJ, she was awarded the Wyeth Research Patent Award (1997-2005), and the Wyeth Special Recognition Award (2005). In 2004 she was elected to Marquis Who’s Who in America, in 2010 to Who’s Who of American Women, and in 2011 to the Who’s Who in Science and Engineering. Her professional activities include Peer Reviewer, Center for Scientific Review, National Institute of Health; Scientific Advisory Board, Peer Reviewer, Institute for the Study of Aging; Scientific Advisory Board, Current Topics in Medicinal Chemistry, Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry Letters; Invited Chair and Co-Organizer, Second and Third International Conferences on Neurodegeneration in Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, and Acute Stroke; Guest Editor of the issue on Alzheimer’s Disease in Current Topics in Medicinal Chemistry; and numerous presentations at scientific meetings.

Annmarie is an active alumna who shares her time and her financial resources with the Associate Alumnae of Douglass College and Douglass. She has held every Class officer position, and was Vice President and Reunion Chair for her 45th Reunion and Class President for her 50th Vanguard Reunion. She was President of the Parents’ Association when her daughter, Jacqueline Sabb Callahan ’99, was a student, and served on the Dean’s Advisory Council at that time.

In 2000, she initiated and co-organized the Wyeth-Douglass College Lectureship, which brought renowned women scientists to Douglass to give a public lecture, meet students and hold a banquet.  The Lectureship ended after ten years when Pfizer bought Wyeth. Wyeth also sponsored awards for the best posters presented by Douglass students at scientific poster sessions. Annmarie also spoke to Douglass students at Project Super events and in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) programs.  Annmarie and her husband donated the Frederick J. Sabb and Annmarie Previte Sabb ’64 Electronic Classroom on the first floor of the Mabel Smith Douglass Library, endowed the Annmarie L. and Jacqueline M. Sabb Scholarship for a Douglass Student, and were major donors to the Campaign for Douglass for the Global Village Living Learning Center Residence Hall at Douglass.

Annmarie retired from pharmaceutical research in 2006. She continues to mentor Princeton students in GWISE (graduate women in science and engineering) and to interview students applying to Princeton.


The Associate Alumnae of Douglass College and Douglass will induct three distinguished alumnae into The Douglass Society at the annual ceremony on Saturday, October 17, 2015, at 11:30a.m. in the Rectangular Room, Neilson Dining Hall, at Douglass. This year’s honorees are: Cheri L. Beasley, Esq. ’88, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of North Carolina and Lecturer in Appellate Law; Sharon Matlofsky Karmazin ’67, Tony Award-Winning Producer and Public Library Leader; Annmarie Previte Sabb, Ph.D. ’64, Pharmaceutical Research Scientist, Medicinal Chemist, Inventor. The Douglass Society was established in 1973 to recognize alumnae who have made major contributions in their field of expertise and whose life work embodies exceptional accomplishments and leadership.

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