UNCW launches Ph.D. in pharmaceutical chemistry

Friday 08 April 2022

The North Carolina Board of Governors approved the sixth doctoral program at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington at its April meeting. This highly anticipated program will offer the Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Chemistry and build on successful chemistry programs at UNCW.

“We are thrilled and excited to have approval from the North Carolina Board of Governors for this new doctoral program,” said Dr. Paulo Almeida, chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. “I thank our faculty for their dedication to bringing this program to life after years of hard work.”

Pharmaceutical chemistry is the study of drugs and their development. From antibiotics and cancer therapies to vaccine production, the pharmaceutical industry is improving patient outcomes and saving lives around the world.

UNCW’s new doctoral program will provide in-depth training in pharmaceutical and medicinal chemistry. Graduates will be prepared to join careers in academia and in the private sector as contributing scientists and project managers for pharmaceutical companies and related chemical industries.

“There is an accelerating pace for the discovery and development of new drugs to combat human diseases today,” said Dr. R. Thomas Williamson, Ph.D. pharmaceutical chemistry committee. The rapid development of COVID-19 vaccines is an example of this, which has been a key factor in reversing the course of a global pandemic that has claimed the lives of millions of people around the world.

“Other drug discoveries,” Dr. Williamson continued, “have completely changed the way we think about cancer treatment as we move away from traditional chemotherapy drugs and instead allow our own cells to defend themselves.” Medical advances like these start in labs with dedicated scientists engaged in high-level scientific drug research.

“Elevating UNCW to a level of doctoral research and discovery in pharmaceutical chemistry is incredibly exciting,” said Dr. Jeremy Morgan, professor and incoming chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. “New innovations arising from the advanced research of faculty and students will have the potential to spark the creation of industrial opportunities across the state, nation and even internationally.”

Over the past 10 years, UNCW has graduated nearly 1,000 students through the chemistry program, which includes a bachelor’s and master’s degree offering. The new PhD program will seamlessly integrate and build on the existing MSc program in Chemistry, in particular the concentration in Pharmaceutical Chemistry.

“PhD. in Pharmaceutical Chemistry is designed to strengthen our connectivity with industry partners and collaborators so that together we can strengthen our commitment to promoting a healthier future for our region and our state,” said Dr. Chris Finelli, Dean of the Graduate School. “The program will provide cutting-edge technology, world-renowned academic faculty, expert industry advisors, and the opportunity to address current and future health challenges.”

Southeastern North Carolina has seen steady growth in the pharmaceutical industry. Research labs, development and manufacturing labs, and large-scale biopharmaceutical manufacturing companies are moving into the area and expanding existing facilities. This expansion requires the recruitment of a well-educated workforce, which UNCW aims to meet with its future doctoral students.

Incoming doctoral students will have the opportunity to utilize the resources and professional expertise available at these established UNCW facilities: Center for Marine Science, Marine Biotechnology North Carolina (MARBIONC), Center for Innovation and entrepreneurship, Office of Innovation and Commercialization and several universities. subsidized analysis facilities.

The Doctor of Pharmaceutical Chemistry program is expected to launch in the fall of 2023, pending final approval from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). More information about the program and its offerings will be available in the coming months. In the meantime, questions can be directed to Dr. Williamson at [email protected]

This is the second doctoral program approval for UNCW since the start of the academic year in August 2021. With this latest addition, six doctoral programs are now available. UNCW received the Carnegie classification of an R2 institution in 2018, which is defined as a “Doctoral University: High Research Activity”. The university has since experienced significant growth in its higher education offerings and enrollment.

“The strategic development of innovative doctoral programs, focused on areas important to our region and the state, will continue to enhance the university’s academic excellence for years to come,” said Chancellor Jose V. Sartarelli. .

— Megan Kauzlaric