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AHC game changer: Gunda Georg

Gunda Georg, Ph.D., is an esteemed researcher and professor in the College of Pharmacy at the University of Minnesota. As head of the Department of Medical Chemistry, Georg has made a tremendous impact in the field of synthetic medicinal chemistry.

Gunda Georg

Georg is also the director of the Institute for Therapeutics Discovery and Development and holds both the Robert Vince Endowed Chair in Medicinal Chemistry and McKnight Presidential Chair. This July she will receive the prestigious Volwiler Research Achievement Award for her research accomplishments.

“I am honored to receive the Volwiler Award. It is a privilege to become part of a group of outstanding scientists who have received this award before me, including Philip Portoghese, Ph.D., in my department, who received the award in 1984, and my former mentor Lester Mitscher from the University of Kansas, who was honored in 1985,” Georg said of the award given by the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy.

Georg’s research, which focuses on pivotal areas such as cancer treatment and Alzheimer’s disease, has been funded by various National Institutes of Health grants. But lately, her involvement with developing the world’s first male contraceptive pill has been widely considered her most unique endeavor. Georg believes the pill will not only make waves in the medical community, but will have a cultural impact as well.

“It’s going to raise the issue of male reproductive responsibility,” Georg said. “It will also affect the definition of masculinity, which is intertwined with sexual and reproductive needs.”

As you can tell, Georg wears many hats at the University of Minnesota. Still, while juggling all of her leadership positions, she somehow finds time to review and edit articles as co-editor in chief for the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry – the primary research publication in her field.

When asked what keeps her driven, Georg put it elegantly.

“What keeps driving me is the sheer joy and excitement of intellectual pursuit, the training of students, and the potential to help develop groundbreaking therapies, such as the male contraceptive pill.”

After completing her undergraduate and graduate studies in Germany, Georg came to North America to find better opportunities for women in science. She has undoubtedly made her mark in the medical community by authoring more than 190 publications and gaining the respect of her peers. Throughout all of her countless research hours and teaching responsibilities, Georg remains passionate about improving the status quo of drug options, making her a true game changer.

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