Young Alumni Award

Patrick Fier, '09
2022 Heritage Honours Awards | Young Alumni Award Winner

This award recognizes alumni who have demonstrated success early in their career and who have been active in the life of the University of Northern Iowa.


Following an outstanding undergraduate career at UNI, Patrick attended the University of California, Berkeley for his Ph.D. Patrick is a principal scientist at Merck & Co. Inc., has published many scientific and scholarly papers, is a frequent speaker and has received a long list of awards and honors. Patrick led Merck's large-scale efforts to produce molnupiravir, a drug to stop COVID-19 from spreading in people exposed to the virus before they need to go to the hospital. The U.S> Food and Drug Administration issued emergency authorization for the drug in December 2021 for the treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19. Patrick's doctoral mentor, professor John Hartwig, says Patrick's ability to identify the intersection between what's important and what's achievable is uncanny, claiming he invents more chemistry on Friday afternoons than by most people all week.

Patrick has a gift for solving the complex problems he had always dreamed of deciphering: How do you take simple chemicals and convert them into a drug? His expertise proved the perfect answer to the fastest-spreading pandemic of a lifetime. True to his nature of wanting to build practical things, he builds furniture in his spare time. Patrick was also the guest speaker for this year's Leland W. Wilson Lecture, hosted by UNI's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

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Patrick Frier








Patrick Frier, '09