Patrick Knerr, PhD

Director of Metabolic Translational Research and Peptide Innovation

Joined the IBRI in January 2024

Patrick Knerr

Patrick Knerr, PhD, is a peptide medicinal chemist with a decade of experience in industrial drug discovery, research project management and scientific team leadership. At the Indiana Biosciences Research Institute (IBRI), he directs the Peptide Therapeutics group, with a sharp focus on translating early research findings into innovative drug candidates, particularly for the treatment of metabolic diseases, and fostering collaborative relationships across scientific disciplines.

Knerr grew up in the Lehigh Valley region of eastern Pennsylvania. As both an undergraduate and graduate student, he performed research at the interfaces of peptide chemistry, organic synthesis and biosynthesis in the laboratories of Prof. Joel Schneider and Prof. Wilfred van der Donk. He obtained his first professional position in 2013 with DuPont Crop Protection in Newark, Del., where he served as analytical technical expert of a portfolio of both market-phase and development-phase agricultural products.

In 2016, he joined the Novo Nordisk Research Center Indianapolis (NNRCI), where he drove multiple drug discovery campaigns centered on the design and optimization of peptide hormone analogs for the treatment of type 2 diabetes and obesity. To date, those efforts have resulted in two programs reaching Phase 2 clinical trials, three programs reaching preclinical development, and three granted US patents. In 2022, he assumed the position of site head for the NNRCI, providing scientific and strategic direction to a multidisciplinary team of 20 scientists and a global network of academic and industrial collaborators. For a full list of Knerr's published research, click here.

Knerr lives in Plainfield, Ind., with his wife and son and is a parishioner of St. Susanna Church. He enjoys going on adventures with his family, playing ultimate frisbee and overreacting to the most recent incident involving Philadelphia professional sports.

Areas of Expertise

  • Drug discovery and optimization for metabolic diseases
  • Peptide medicinal chemistry
  • Peptide synthesis, ligation and (bio)conjugation


  • Doctor of Philosophy (Chemistry), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2013
  • Bachelor of Science (Biochemistry), University of Delaware, 2008

Honorary Societies

  • American Chemical Society
  • American Peptide Society