News Release

Three U of M Regents Professors named

Regents professors
Gunda Georg, Regents Professor of Medicinal Chemistry; Marc Jenkins, Regents Professor of Microbiology and Immunology; and Erika Lee, Regents Professor of History and Asian American Studies

The University of Minnesota Board of Regents has given three faculty members the distinction of Regents Professor: Gunda Georg as Regents Professor of Medicinal Chemistry; Marc Jenkins as Regents Professor of Microbiology and Immunology; and Erika Lee as Regents Professor of History and Asian American Studies. The designation, granted this month, is the highest level of recognition given to faculty by the University.

“Professor Georg, Professor Jenkins and Professor Lee exemplify the very best of our University in their teaching, research and scholarship,” said University President Eric Kaler. “I congratulate them on this well-deserved distinction, and I thank them for their continued contributions to this University.”

Gunda Georg, Regents Professor of Medicinal Chemistry

Gunda Georg is the head of the Department of Medicinal Chemistry, the director of the Institute for Therapeutics Discovery and Development (ITDD) in the College of Pharmacy, the Robert Vince Endowed Chair in Medicinal Chemistry, the McKnight Presidential Chair, a Masonic Cancer Center member and a Department of Chemistry graduate faculty member.

She has dedicated her academic career to the application of synthetic medicinal chemistry with a focus on identifying agents with a potential to cure diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s and epilepsy; provide non-hormonal male contraceptives; and improve anesthesia. Since her arrival at the University of Minnesota in 2007, Georg has brought in $38,626,486 in grant funding. She has also been credited with 234 peer-reviewed publications and 274 abstracts, placing in the top 5% of cited authors in journals of chemistry as determined by Thomson Reuters for the American Asthma Foundation (2010 and 2011). In 2017 she inducted into the Medicinal Chemistry Hall of Fame of the American Chemical Society.

Marc Jenkins, Regents Professor of Microbiology and Immunology

Marc Jenkins is a Regents Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology in the Medical School, director of the University of Minnesota Center for Immunology, a Distinguished McKnight University Professor and a Masonic Cancer Center member.

One of the world’s most distinguished immunologists, Jenkins has devoted his career to understanding how a particular type of lymphocyte in the immune system, the  CD4 T helper cell, orchestrates the entire response to a pathogen, cancer cell, or other antigens. His research has helped establish basic immunological principles that lead to more effective vaccines and immunotherapies for rheumatoid arthritis, transplant rejection, and cancer. Jenkins has authored 170 plus papers, appearing in journals such as Cell, Nature, and Science. He has also been cited more than 18,000 times, earning him recognition by the Institute for Scientific Information as a highly-cited researcher in immunology.

Erika Lee, Regents Professor of History and Asian American Studies

Erika Lee is a Regents Professor in the Department of History and the Asian American Studies program in the College of Liberal Arts. She is the director of the Immigration History Research Center (IHRC), the Rudolph J. Vecoli Chair in Immigration History, a Distinguished McKnight University Professor, and a 2018 Andrew Carnegie Fellow.

One of the nation’s leading scholars in the field of immigration history, Lee is credited with discovering new sources of historical research, developing new frameworks for studying the past, and creating new digital tools that have helped to change the way immigration in the U.S. and the world is documented, taught and understood. A prolific writer, Lee is the author of three books, all of which have won major awards and more than 30 peer-reviewed or invited journal articles and book chapters. She is currently writing a sweeping examination of American xenophobia from the colonial era to the present, titled  Fear of the Stranger: A History of American Xenophobia. In addition, she founded, launched and currently directs Immigrant Stories, a National Endowment for the Humanities-funded project that works with recent immigrants and refugees to create a digital collection about immigration in the US and globally. She also organized the #ImmigrationSyllabus, a public resource containing essential topics, readings, and multimedia on immigration that is used in 107 countries.

The Board will formally recognize Georg, Jenkins and Lee at its meeting on September 14, 2018.


About the Regents Professorship
The Regents Professorship was established in 1965 by the Board of Regents to recognize the national and international prominence of faculty members. It serves as the highest recognition for faculty who have made unique contributions to the quality of the University of Minnesota through exceptional accomplishments in teaching, research and scholarship or creative work and contributions to the public good.

See current list of Regents Professors.

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