Georg, Gunda

Gunda I.
Georg, PhD
Year Inducted: 
1992
Gunda Georg
Highlights: 
  • Robert Vince Endowed Chair and McKnight Presidential Chair in Medicinal Chemistry at University of Minnesota
  • University Distinguished Professor of Medicinal Chemistry at KU
  • Honored with Sato Memorial International Award of the Pharmaceutical Society of Japan
  • Received Kansas Higuchi/Endowment Research Achievement Olin K. Petefish Award in Basic Sciences
  • First Kansas principle investigator of an NIH Center for Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE)
  • Co-inventor of LusedraTM, an anesthetic approved by the FDA in December 2008
Biography: 

Dr. Gunda Georg has achieved regional, national, and international recognition.  She is an expert in the area of b-lactam and taxol chemistry.  This field is a very competitive area in organic chemistry, with a tremendous worldwide effort taking place in industry and academia, fueled by the global importance of the compounds in alleviating human suffering.  According to Dr. Iwao Ojima, Leading Professor of Chemistry at SUNY, “This honoree’s work is always high in quality, which gives impact on the development of synthetic and medicinal chemistry in the nation and in the world.”  Dr. Georg has continued to work in the antibiotic field, but she has also taken on new challenges, namely research on the very promising anti-tumor agent taxol.  This drug, which is only available in minute amounts, has attracted intense interest in the scientific community due to its effectiveness in combating solid tumors.  Taxol is a prime candidate for the treatment of ovarian cancer.  This is indicative of Dr. Georg’s commitment to the well-being of women.  Dr. Jeffrey Aubes in the School of Pharmacy notes she “is acutely aware of her place as a role model for female scientists and takes every opportunity to help younger people of either gender to attain the kind of success she has and in a more egalitarian environment.” 

Dr. Georg serves on the scientific panels of very prestigious funding agencies: the American Cancer Society, the National Institutes of Health, the Kansas Affiliate of the American Heart Association, and others.  She is frequently asked to review manuscripts of other scientists for publications.  Her works are constantly cited, has inspired other researchers to the tune of 10-20 papers per year, and is actually used in commercial labs, which testifies the early confidence placed in her by the National Institute of Health was well-earned.  She has distinguished herself as a dedicated researcher, fine teacher, responsible mentor, and notable friend both to beginning and advanced students.

Professor Georg was the first principle investigator of an NIH Center for Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) in the state of Kansas.  This state-wide COBRE for Cancer Experimental Therapeutics received funding from 2000-2010 in the amount of $10M.  In addition to carrying out cancer-related research, the Center created new research infrastructure and mentored junior faculty to become successful and NIH-funded invest investigators.  

Professor Georg has over 450 publications, abstracts and public presentations.  She has trained over 140 graduate students, postdocs and undergraduate students in her laboratory. Dr. Georg and her research groups conduct research on cancer experimental therapeutics, Alzheimer’s disease, and male contraception. Together with KU Professor Val Stella and others, she is the co-inventor of LusedraTM, an anesthetic (Eisai Pharma) that was approved by the FDA in December 2008.  

Honors & Achievements: 
  • University of Kansas Excellence in Teaching Award,
  • University of Kansas Higuchi/Endowment Research Achievement Award
  •  Olin K. Petefish Award in Basic Sciences
  •  AAAS Fellow

Did You Know..
  • Only 22% of all Distinguished Professors at KU are women, compared to 24% just two years ago
  • Of the 165 members of the Kansas legislature, only 41 are women
  • Only 3 of the 14 Kansas Court of Appeals Judges are women
  • 38% of Kansas families with a single-female head of household live below the poverty level
  • Median earnings in Kansas for women are just 79% of what median earnings are for men

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