Innovation Week 2011 - Dr. Vennerstrom -- a UNMC hero

by Chuck Brown, UNMC public relations | October 14, 2011

Here's a recent quote from a prominent campus researcher:

"I get a lot of praise within our department about the work our group does, but then I think of Jonathan Vennerstrom and how he quietly does amazing, life-saving work and it really puts things into perspective."

From 42nd St. to the world

picture disc.
Jonathan Vennerstrom, Ph.D.
What the professor in the UNMC College of Pharmacy's work has entailed is the development of a pair of antimalarial drugs that stand to save millions of lives in Africa and other places where the mosquito-borne illness is a threat.

This work has garnered praise globally and gained the financial support of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation via the Medicines for Malaria Venture.

Dr. Vennerstrom also was on the team that developed creatine ethyl ester (CEE), which is currently sold around the world as a nutritional supplement for athletes and non-athletes alike.

Part of the process

For his various contributions to science and innovation, Dr. Vennerstrom received the Achievement Award from UNeMed Corporation during the Innovation Week Awards Ceremony on Thursday.

For Dr. Vennerstrom, the award is simply a byproduct of the scientific process that he fell in love with long ago.

Passions merge

As a child, he lived in east Africa with his missionary parents where he saw the damage malaria caused. Then in college, he became infatuated with chemistry.

Eventually his love of chemistry merged with his desire to help those with malaria and that led him into drug discovery and development -- a process that has been endlessly rewarding for the UNMC professor.

"I find the trial and error process that we use to create drug candidates a real learning experience," Dr. Vennerstrom said. "There are a lot of things we still don't understand. You have to do the experiments."

Jeremy Gieseke
October 16, 2011 at 11:34 PM

Congratulations Dr. Vennerstrom! I bet if more researchers could ice skate like you can we would have even more amazing discoveries!

Blaise Mathias Costa
October 14, 2011 at 4:09 PM

Congratulations Dr.Vennerstrom! That discovery contribute a lot for people live in developing countries..!

Ted Roche
October 14, 2011 at 2:02 PM

Congratulations Jonathan. You are an inspiration to us all. Ted

Lisa Spellman
October 14, 2011 at 9:54 AM

Congratulations Dr. Vennerstrom, you are among my heroes for your commitment to serving others through the work you do. Pilamaya! Lisa Spellman