Retirement of Dr. Philip S. Portoghese

July 5, 2023

Dr. Philip S. Portoghese's headshot

The Medicinal Chemistry Department celebrates and honors Dr. Phillip S. Portoghese as he retires from the University after 62 years of exemplary teaching, research, and service.

Dr. Portoghese is an internationally known chemist and researcher. Perhaps most well-known for designing several opioid ligands including β-funaltrexamine, naltrindole, norbinaltorphimine, and naltriben, he pioneered the use of bivalent ligands to target opioid receptor complexes called heteromers.

Philip S. Portoghese was born in 1931 in New York City, New York. He received his B.Sc. in pharmacy in 1953 from Columbia University and his PhD in pharmaceutical chemistry in 1961 from the University of Wisconsin. He joined the College of Pharmacy at the University of Minnesota in 1961. During six decades of distinguished service at the University of Minnesota, he gained international recognition for his work. Dr. Portoghese has trained over 100 graduate students, postdocs, and visiting scientists from around the world.

An inductee into the University of Minnesota Academy of Excellence in Health Research, Portoghese is also the recipient of over ten other major awards for excellence, achievement, honor, and outstanding contributions from national scientific societies including a MERIT funding award from the National Institutes of Health. Portoghese served 40 years as editor-in-chief of the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry making him the longest standing editor of the most prestigious and highly cited medicinal chemistry journal in the world.

Dr. Portoghese's contributions at the University of Minnesota have also had a quantifiable impact. As an effort to continue and expand research in the neurosciences, he donated $1 million to establish the Philip S. Portoghese Chair in Medicinal Chemistry. Additionally, the Philip S. Portoghese Distinguished Lecture in Medicinal Chemistry has been established in his honor to recognize scientists who have made outstanding contributions to medicinal chemistry.

Congratulations on your retirement, Dr. Portoghese! While your dedication to education, science, and the field of Medicinal Chemistry will be missed, your legacy will endure.

Media Contacts

Dawn Tucker
College of Pharmacy
Eileen Omizo-Whittenberg
College of Pharmacy