Dr. Rina K Dukor, co-founder and President of BioTools, Inc., received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the University of Illinois Alumni Association. Established in 1957, this award is the highest honor bestowed upon alumni of the University of Illinois by the Alumni Association on behalf of the University. The award is presented to those alumni who have attained outstanding success and national or international distinction in their chosen business, profession or life's work, and whose accomplishments reflect admirably on or bring honor to their Alma Mater.
Born and raised in the Soviet Union, Dukor arrived in Chicago at the age of 15. Graduating high school in a year-and-a-half, on a mission to find a great affordable education, she visited University of Illinois (UIC) where she attended a chemistry lecture given by Dr. Eric Gislason, then UIC Professor and Vice Chancellor of Research. Captivated by his lecture Rina enrolled at UIC where she became immersed in the groundbreaking research on protein structure under the guidance of Professor Timothy Keiderling. She went on to receive her Ph.D. degree at UIC with his supervision and completed post-doctoral research position in the Biotechnology Division of Amoco in Chicago area.
In 2000, Dukor left Amoco (Vysis/ Abbott) to launch BioTools with Distinguished Professor Laurence A. Nafie of Syracuse University (now Emeritus). The company, now based in Florida, introduced the first commercial dedicated vibrational circular dichroism (VCD) spectrometer, and soon became a world leader in developing biopharmaceutical research instrumentation for drug companies, regulatory agencies, and universities. Two of the company's products have received recognition from the annual R&D 100 Awards, widely regarded as the Academy Awards of scientific research and development.
"Our work has opened a new way to understand the structure of molecules that are called chiral and biologics," explains Dukor. "These two classes of molecules today compromise the majority of all new pharmaceutical drugs being developed. Use of our technology leads to a better understanding of drug actions and helps with the design of new structures. For regulatory agencies, our products allow a simple method to check the correctness of structure, such as the handedness of a new chiral molecule. And in academia, scientists in all fields - from biology to nanotechnology - are using our methods for exploring the structures of new compounds and materials."
Today, as co-founder and President of BioTools, Dr. Rina Dukor provides sophisticated, award-winning research instrumentation and lab services to the world's largest pharmaceutical companies and top academic institutions. She credits her success to the University of Illinois saying, "I will forever be grateful to UIC. I wouldn't be doing what I'm doing today and couldn't be who I am if it wasn't for UIC. I am humbled, proud and honored by this incredible recognition from the University of Illinois Alumni Association.