Department of Medicinal Chemistry1

Elizabeth AminThe Department of Medicinal Chemistry consists of a diverse group of faculty members, PhD graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and research scientists working at the interface of chemistry and biology.

Areas of research focus in the Department include antiviral drug design, cancer drug discovery and chemoprevention, chemical biology, carcinogenesis, peptidomimetics, receptor modeling, drug metabolism, gene therapy, combinatorial biosynthesis, natural product chemistry and NMR and X-ray crystallography.

Featured Faculty

Gunda Georg

Dr. Gunda Georg holds the plaque commemorating her induction into the ACS Medicinal Chemistry Hall of Fame. Dr. Gunda Georg, professor and head of the Department of Medicinal Chemistry, was inducted this year into the ACS Medicinal Chemistry Hall of Fame during the American Chemical Society meeting which took place on August 22nd in Washington D.C. This highly-selective award, granted to less than 100 individuals since its creation in 1966, recognizes Dr. Georg as a senior scientist who’s long-standing research and teaching contributions have had significant impacts in the field of Medicinal Chemistry. Read more about Dr. Georg's career and contributions here and about the ACS Medicinal Chemistry Hall of Fame here.

Previous inductees from the University of Minnesota Department of Medicinal Chemistry include Phillip Portoghese and Robert Vince. 

Courtney Aldrich

Courtney AldrichAldrich is featured in the HealthTalk story, "Promising research for a new antibiotic" discussing a study method that has the potential to unlock significantly more antibiotics.

Daniel Harki

Daniel HarkiA new St. Paul-based company that is developing drug therapies that will make cancer treatments more effective is based on scientific discoveries by Harki.

Congratulations to Dr. Todd Doran who is the recipient, along with Dr. Nam Chul Kim, of the 2019 Engebretson Drug Design and Discovery Grant! As awardees they will each receive $15,000 for their project "Development of PINK1 Kinase Inhibitors."

We are saddened to announce the passing of a Medicinal Chemistry alumnus, Dr. Kathy Webster. Kathy graduated with her Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in 1986 and went on to become the Founding Dean of the Keck Graduate Institute's (KGI) Scool of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. Under her leadership KGI attained accreditation, recruited world-class faculty and staff, and implemented an entirely new active learning curriculum.

An article coauthored by Drs. Natalia Tretyakova and Daeyoon Park on the potential for DNA damage caused by methylating agents was highlighted this month by Chemical & Engineering News. Click here to read more about their paper "Histone tails decrease N7-methyl-2′-deoxyguanosine depurination and yield DNA–protein cross-links in nucleosome core particles and cells."

Dr. David Ferguson was consulted for the recent Duluth News Tribune article Alzheimer's Added to Medical Marijuana Treatment List in Minnesota” about the practical uses of medical cannabis.


Graduate students receive a diverse educational experience in chemistry and biology that prepares them for the evolving multidisciplinary research of the pharmaceutical industry and academics.

The Journal of Medicinal Chemistry publishes studies that contribute to an understanding of the relationship between molecular structure and biological activity or mode of action.

ACS Infectious Diseases is the first journal to highlight chemistry and its role in the multidisciplinary and collaborative field of infectious disease research.  Read more

The mission of the ITDD is to carry out interdisciplinary research, help educate the next generation of scientists, and to enhance the biomedical research infrastructure at the University of Minnesota by creating opportunities for drug discovery and early pre-clinical drug development.

The book, From Digitalis to Ziagen, covers the history of the University of Minnesota’s Department of Medicinal ChemistryFree downloads available

Department Calendar of Events