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Gunda I. Georg, PhD

Gunda I. Georg is Professor and Head of the Department of Medicinal Chemistry and the founding Director of the Institute for Therapeutics Discovery and Development (ITDD) in the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy. She received a BS in pharmacy (1975) and a PhD in medicinal chemistry (1980) from Philipps University in Marburg, Germany with Manfred Haake. She was a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Ottawa in Canada (1983) with Tony Durst.

After one year at the University of Rhode Island she joined Dale Boger’s group in 1984 as a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Kansas. Her position was converted the same year to a tenured position. At Kansas, she rose through the ranks to hold a University Distinguished Professorship. In 2007, she moved to the University of Minnesota where she occupies the Robert Vince Endowed Chair and the McKnight Presidential Chair in Medicinal Chemistry.

She is the Co-Editor-in-Chief for the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, which she took over from another Hall of Fame member, Philip Portoghese. She is an AAAS Fellow, a Fellow of the American Chemical Society, and has received the Ernest H. Volwiler Research Achievement Award of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, the Sato Memorial International Award of the Pharmaceutical Society of Japan, the University of Minnesota Academy for Excellence in Health Research, among others. In 2017, she was inducted into the American Chemical Society Medicinal Chemistry Hall of Fame.

Dr. Georg’s work is described in over 220 publications and she holds a number of patents. She has trained more than 100 PhD and post-doctoral students, most of whom have pursued careers in the pharmaceutical industry. At the University of Kansas, she was the PI of a statewide NIH-funded Center for Cancer Experimental Therapeutics (Center of Biomedical Research Excellence) with a focus on supporting and mentoring junior faculty members that was instrumental in the success of the careers of many junior investigators in the state of Kansas.

During her career, she has worked in several areas of medicinal chemistry in a highly collaborative manner with many research groups. She is known for her research on the medicinal chemistry of the anticancer agents paclitaxel, epothilones, cryptophycins, oximidines, triptolide and phenanthropiperidines. She has also published on synthetic organic chemistry, including total synthesis, and methodology development. Therapeutic areas have included cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, antibiotics, epilepsy, and most recently male and female non-hormonal contraception.

She is a co-inventor of the drug, Lusedra®, a water-soluble analogue of the anesthetic propofol, that was marketed by Eisai Pharmaceuticals in 2009. She is also the co-inventor of Minnelide™ an anticancer agent that entered clinical trials in 2013. She was a co-founder of ProQuest Pharmaceuticals, which was involved in the initial development of Lusedra®.

She is actively involved in professional organizations including the American Chemical Society and the AAAS. She has served for many years as grant reviewer on NIH study sections, for the NSF, AAAS, foundations and universities. She is a member of advisory boards for several scientific journals and Co-Editor of “Topics in Medicinal Chemistry.”

ACS Division of Medicinal Chemistry

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