Robert Vince, Ph.D., Director of Center for Drug Design, named fellow by the National Academy of Inventors

Friday, December 22, 2017

Robert Vince, Ph.D., Director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Drug Design has been named a fellow to the National Academy of Inventors (NAI), a non-profit organization recognizing and supporting innovators and inventors at universities and non-profit research entities across the U.S. The prestigious award is given to individuals whose inventions have made a significant impact on society. 

“Creating novel treatments for disease is our mission. I’m so honored to be recognized for my inventions in this field, and to be included in the same group as so many other distinguished inventors,” Vince said.

Vince is a leader in drug development. His most notable achievement is the design of a series of antiviral compounds used to develop the drug Ziagen TM. It is used worldwide to treat AIDS. His discovery has led to twenty-eight U.S. patents and several foreign patents.

Most recently, Vince and his colleague Swati More, Ph.D., Assistant Professor at the Center for Drug Design, have developed a simple, non-invasive diagnostic tool shown to detect early stages of Alzheimer’s disease in mice. It could be used in a routine eye exam and is currently being studied in an early-phase human clinical trial.

“Anyone who has an education or background in science is interested in innovations and technology. While their work may not directly apply to a given product, they contribute by teaching those who work in industry, or providing the basic science knowledge used to create technology,” Vince said.

“Dr. Vince is committed to generating ideas that could benefit society but he also patiently puts in the years of hard work it takes to translate those ideas into products that have been or will be brought to the marketplace,” said Rebecca Gerber, M.B.A., M.S., Associate Director of the Office of Technology Commercialization within the Office of the Vice President of Research.

Vince joins two other previous NAI fellows hailing from the University of Minnesota: President Eric Kaler, Ph.D., and Kamil Ugurbil, Ph.D., professor in the Medical School’s Center for Magnetic Resonance Research. 

Vince will be officially inducted in Washington D.C. on April 5, 2018.

Vince obtained a B.S. in Pharmacy and Ph.D. in Medicinal Chemistry from the College of Pharmacy at SUNY Buffalo. He joined the medicinal chemistry faculty at the University of Minnesota in 1967. Over the years, he has had many accolades, including a Certificate of Commendation by the Minnesota Governor, honors from the Minnesota Medical Alley, induction to the Minnesota Science and Technology Hall of Fame, and several awards from the University of Minnesota. He was elected as Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and inducted into the Medicinal Chemistry Hall of Fame by the American Chemical Society. He founded the Center for Drug Design in 2002, where he is currently Director. 

Learn more about the NAI fellows program