Turning Discoveries Into New Therapies and Drugs
Gunda Georg, PhD, is a world-renowned medicinal chemist who strives to discover and develop bioactive compounds and to improve their potency, selectivity and pharmaceutical properties. Her research interests include cancer, male contraception, and Alzheimer's disease. Notably, she is a co-inventor of the anesthetic drug Lusedra®, and co-inventor of the anti-cancer drug Minnelide, which is made from the natural product triptolide.
“I'm originally from Germany and my first degree is in pharmacy, where I learned how many of our drugs come from nature–morphine and aspirin, for instance,” said Georg.
“It's intriguing to think that plants played a role in how pharmacy started. We've now gone a lot further, but natural products are still important to drug discovery.”
Now in Phase II clinical trials, Minnelide has shown promise in targeting pancreatic cancer cells.
In 2018 Georg was appointed a Regents Professor of the University of Minnesota. The Regents Professorship is the highest honor the University bestows on its faculty. It recognizes faculty who have made exceptional contributions to the University through teaching, research, scholarship, or creative work, and contributions to the public good.
She is professor and head of the Department of Medicinal Chemistry, director of the Institute for Therapeutics Discovery and Development, and the Robert Vince Endowed Chair and McKnight Presidential Chair. She also serves as co-editor-in-chief of the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry of the American Chemical Society. She has received numerous awards and recognitions throughout her career, including induction into the Medicinal Chemistry Hall of Fame of the Division of Medicinal Chemistry of the American Chemical Society.