Philip S. Portoghese

Supporting neuroscience research within Medicinal Chemistry

Philip S. Portoghese

Since joining the College of Pharmacy faculty in 1961, Distinguished Professor Philip S. Portoghese, Ph.D., has made significant contributions to the field of medicinal chemistry.

His research focuses on the neurosciences, and has been critical to the understanding of pain management, addiction and tolerance to morphine-like pain relievers. He is recognized around the world for his discoveries related to opioid receptors.

In an effort to continue and expand this type of research in the neurosciences within the Department of Medicinal Chemistry, Portoghese pledged $1 million in 2008 to establish the Philip S. Portoghese Chair in Medicinal Chemistry.

“I wanted to make this gift because, in part, I didn’t want to see neuroscience research disappear within the department after I retire,” said Portoghese.

Portoghese explains that even though neuroscience is a broad specialty of research that includes neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, few investigators are doing neuroscience research in the department.

“Nationally, neuroscience research is a somewhat neglected area within medicinal chemistry as compared to, say, the area of cancer, where lots more research is going on,” he said.

Portoghese has given other smaller gifts to the U and other organizations over the years, but he decided to make this large gift because he says, “I wanted the satisfaction of seeing the chair established while I was still alive.”

“I’ve been treated well by the U over the years. I’ve been fortunate to have a great lab and staff, I’ve been supported in my research efforts and I’ve felt appreciated,” said Portoghese.

“This gift has given me a personal sense of accomplishment and pride that is hard to describe.” - Philip S. Portoghese, Ph.D.

“Dr. Portoghese has always been a role model within the department, and his generous gift is another reason for him to be admired by his peers,” said Gunda Georg, Ph.D., professor and head of the Department of Medicinal Chemistry. “His gift exemplifies his loyalty and commitment to the department, the college and the University.”