Contact IMV

IMV Executive Assistant


tel. (612) 624-1926

fax. (612) 625-1108


18-242 Moos Tower
515 Delaware St. SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455

General Questions:

Robert Vince,

Department of Medicinal Chemistry, College of Pharmacy; Director, Center for Drug Design

Phone: 612-624-9911



Ph.D., University of Buffalo, 1966

Research Interests

Anti-microbial drugs (antibiotics). Over the years, bacteria have increasingly developed resistance to traditional antibiotics. Research on new antibiotics to fight infections caused by these super-resistant bacteria is currently underway in our labs. We are focusing on creating derivatives of vancomycin and penicillins to overcome bacterial resistance.

Anti-viral drugs. Our laboratory researches new anti-viral drugs and focuses in particular on developing new treatments for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). The virus which causes AIDS relies on several unique viral proteins which do not occur naturally in the human body. Our goal is to design novel molecules which block the chemical reactions carried out by these viral proteins, thereby preventing the virus from growing in the human body.

One of the viral proteins, reverse transcriptase, assembles genetic building blocks to make copies of the viral genetic material. We designed modified genetic building blocks (such as carbovir, shown on the right) which interfere with reverse transcriptase without harming the proteins responsible for maintaining the human body's genetic material. This research led to the development of the commercially available anti-HIV drug Ziagen∆. We are currently investigating possible new drugs targeting the reverse transcriptase, protease, and integrase enzymes of HIV.

Other areas of focus for our anti-viral programs are Herpes, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C.

Cancer Therapy. Cancer typically involves damage to the human body's genetic material. Several anti-cancer projects are ongoing based on our extensive history of creating modified genetic building blocks. In fact, the development of our anti-viral program and the successful design of the AIDS drug was a spin off of our anti-cancer drug program. Since most of the successful anti-tumor drugs are modified genetic building blocks, we continue to work in this area for the discovery of new cancer drugs.

We have also recently initiated a program to study Vitamin C in cancer chemoprevention and treatment. Vitamin C is an antioxidant, but we have found some additional interesting properties of Vitamin C that have potential for anti-cancer and cancer chemopreventive applications. We are studying these properties and will use our results to redesign the molecule into a more stable and effective potential drug.

Selected Recent Publications

  • "Synthesis of Conformationally Restricted 2',3'-exo-methylene Carbocyclic Nucleosides Build on a Bicyclo[2',3']hexane Template," Rashmi G. Bhushan and Robert Vince, Bioorg. Medicinal Chem. 10, 2325-2333 (2002).
  • "Synthesis and Biological Evaluation of Endocyclic-2',3'-didehydro-2',3'-dideoxymethanecarba Adenosine," Danae R. Quirk Dorr and Robert Vince, Nucleosides, Nucleotides, and Nucleic Acids, 21, 665-680 (2002).
  • "Metabolism of O6-Propyl and N6-Propyl-Carbovir in CEM Cells," William B. Parker, Sue C. Shaddix, Lucy M. Rose, Phuong T. Pham, Mei Hua, and Robert Vince, Nucleosides, Nucleotides and Nucleic Acids, 19, 795-804 (2000).

Featured News & Events

'Wisc-e-sota', a Joint UMN-UW Virology Training Grant Symposium was first held on Friday, Sepbember 20th, 2013 at the Uniiversity of Wisconsin-La Crosse, Cartwright Center. This was the inaugural collaborative symposium of the NIH T32-supported virology training programs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. Talks and poster sessions were presented by students, postdocs and faculty. The second UMN-UW Virology Training Grant Symposium will be held in the Fall 2014. Details to follow.

The 2014 IMV Symposium will be held on May 12, 2014 and Mark Denison (Vanderbilt) and Bert Semler (UC-Irvine) will be the Keynote Speakers. Click on the link below to register and submit abstracts.

About the IMV icon

Read about bacteriophage phi 29 and why it matters.

IMV Timeline

Explore nearly a century's worth of discovery in the field of virology at the University of Minnesota.


"This Week in Virology" from professor Vincent Racaniello.