Medicinal Chemistry, College of Pharmacy, 2018
Regents Professor Gunda Georg, an outstanding and prolific scientist, is the head of the Department of Medicinal Chemistry and the director of the Institute for Therapeutics Discovery and Development (ITDD) in the College of Pharmacy. She holds the Robert Vince Endowed Chair in Medicinal Chemistry and the McKnight Presidential Chair. She is described as an exceptional researcher, scholar, teacher, mentor, leader, and editor, who has brought remarkable recognition and distinction to the University of Minnesota. Georg has dedicated her academic career to the application of synthetic medicinal chemistry with a focus on identifying from the millions of natural products those with a potential to cure currently intractable diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and epilepsy; provide non-hormonal male contraceptives; and improve anesthesia. Known as a preeminent internationally recognized leader in her field, Georg is credited with building strong interdisciplinary teams on the local, national, and international levels with physicians and biologists from across academia and industry who are experts in the diseases she is tackling. Because of her collaborative approach, her work has made a significant impact on worldwide human health problems.
After 22 years on the faculty at the University of Kansas, Georg joined the faculty ranks at the University of Minnesota in 2007. She was followed by all of her graduate students, postdoctoral trainees and staff members. Since her arrival, she has brought in grant funding worth $38,626,486 (direct costs only). She has 234 peer-reviewed publications and 274 abstracts to her credit. It is noteworthy that Georg placed in the top 5% of cited authors in journals of chemistry as determined by Thomson Reuters for the American Asthma Foundation (2010 and 2011). She has given 90 invited lectures at conferences, symposia, etc., including ones in China, Germany, Australia, Brazil, India, and France, as well as 101 invited seminars at universities and research institutes. Georg has organized 17 symposia and holds 12 patents. An exceptional educator and inspirational mentor, she has supervised 72 postdoctoral trainees, 41 Ph.D. students, 9 M.S. students and 57 undergraduates. Many of her students have gone on to accept important positions in the pharmaceutical industry and in academia. Currently, Georg teaches in two didactic graduate courses.
Georg’s service in and outside of the University is exceptional. In her role as department head, Georg has created a department that exhibits both success and mutual respect. Under her leadership, grant funding and research productivity has shown a dramatic increase and faculty members have contributed greatly to both the graduate and professional student education, resulting in the recruitment of high caliber and diverse graduate students. She also has increased the diversity of the department--there are now five tenured women faculty members in the department. She has served on numerous selection committees, including the McKnight Professors, Regents Professors, and the AHC Academy for Excellence in Health Research. Georg also served on the Provost’s Grand Challenges Research Strategy Team. In 2012, she was selected as co-Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, the most prestigious journal in the field of medicinal chemistry; in 2000, she co-chaired the 27th National Medicinal Chemistry Symposium; and, she is active in serving on NIH student sections as well as the editorial boards of a variety of scientific journals and the steering committees for the National Cancer Institute Chemical Biology Consortium and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development UO1/U54.
She is the recipient of several prestigious awards and recognitions. To name a few, in 1996, she was selected an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Fellow, and in 2013, she was elected an American Chemical Society (ACS) Fellow. Georg was also recognized in 2013 by receipt of the Volwiler Research Achievement Award, the highest scientific award of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (she is the second woman to join those ranks since the award was established in 1977). She was inducted into the AHC Academy of Excellence for Health Research in 2013, and most recently, she was inducted into the Medicinal Chemistry Hall of Fame.
Professor Georg’s career is exemplary, and we are fortunate to have her as part of our intellectual community.
Biographies are as-of time of award presentation.