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DIGENIS HONORED BY COLLEAGUES AND FORMER STUDENTS

By Kristi Lopez

Photo of George A. Digenis, Ph.D.
George A. Digenis, Ph.D.

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"Above any paper he has published, grant that he was awarded, or patent that he was assigned, Dr. Digenis' lasting legacy will be his personal and academic offspring," Jay said. "As one of the offspring, I have a lifetime of indebtedness for the opportunity Dr. Digenis provided me, for which I will always be grateful."

Mike Jay, Ph.D.,
professor and director of the Center for Pharmaceutical Science and Technology

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May 10 , 2002 – (Lexington, Ky.) – George A. Digenis, Ph.D., professor emeritus of medicinal chemistry and pharmaceutics at the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy, was honored during the annual Pharmaceutical Sciences Postgraduate Research Conference held May 9 at Spindletop Hall.

Digenis, a pioneer in the rapid synthesis of drugs labeled with short-lived isotopes and the first scientist credited with applying gamma scintigraphy in the assessment of the in vivo performance of novel drug formulation, retired from the college on Jan. 1, 2002.

Mike Jay, Ph.D., professor and director of the Center for Pharmaceutical Science and Technology, was Digenis' 10th doctoral student. "Above any paper he has published, grant that he was awarded, or patent that he was assigned, Dr. Digenis' lasting legacy will be his personal and academic offspring," Jay said. "As one of the offspring, I have a lifetime of indebtedness for the opportunity Dr. Digenis provided me, for which I will always be grateful."

Peter Crooks, Ph.D., professor at the UK College of Pharmacy, was a young faculty member just starting out when he was hired by Digenis. "I have the highest regard for Dr. Digenis as a scientist and as a friend," Crooks said. "He is a shining light in pharmaceutical sciences and has had a tremendous impact on the field and on its future through his training and mentoring of students who now are leaders in research, industry and academia."

Digenis, a native of Greece, received his Bachelor of Science degree in pharmacy in 1959 at the American University of Beirut and a Ph.D. in medicinal chemistry in 1964 at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

In 1997, Digenis was presented an honorary doctoral degree in pharmacy and pharmaceutical technology from the University of Athens, Greece.

While at UK, he served as senior scientist at Sloan-Kettering Institute for Cancer Research from 1975 to 1980. He is the author of 170 refereed publications and owner of 14 U.S. patents in the area of solid phase reactions, synthesis of radio-labeled compounds, drug metabolism, drug design and design of novel drug formulations. He has served as a major professor for 40 doctoral students and 22 post-doctoral fellows and is a Fellow of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS).

He also is the major stockholder of a contract research laboratory in Lexington, which he and his son, Alexander Digenis, founded nine years ago. Since moving to Louisville in October 2000, Digenis has also started a new pharmaceutical company and serves as a member of that company's board of directors.


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