Wednesday, November 29, 2023

UNCW to launch doctoral program in pharmaceutical chemistry

UNCW will launch its sixth doctoral program by fall 2023 in pharmaceutical chemistry. (Courtesy UNCW)

WILMINGTON — UNCW will gets it sixth doctoral program, after the North Carolina Board of Governors approved at its meeting earlier in the week it would add a PhD in pharmaceutical chemistry.

According to a press release, Dr. Paulo Almeida, chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, said the program is launching “after years of hard work.”

The program studies the development of medicines, such as antibiotics and cancer therapies, as well as vaccine production. Students will receive hands-on, thorough training in order to enter the academic profession or move on to the private sector with pharmaceutical companies and other industries.

“There is an increasingly rapid pace for discovery and development of new medicines to combat today’s human diseases,” Dr. R. Thomas Williamson, chair of the Ph.D. in pharmaceutical chemistry committee, said in the release.

While Covid-19 has put vaccine importance front and center, pharmaceutical chemistry works to advance myriad medical needs, Williamson explained: “Other drug discoveries have completely changed how we think about treating cancer as we shift away from traditional chemotherapeutic agents and instead enable our own cells to defend themselves.”

Around 1,000 students have graduated with a bachelor’s or master’s from UNCW’s chemistry programs over the course of a decade, according to UNCW. The PhD program will build on earlier studies with “cutting-edge technology” and highly regarded academic faculty. It also will as connect students to partners and collaborators in the community to address challenges that arise in the industry, the release noted.

UNCW added the program to its roster as the region undergoes growth specific to the pharmaceutical chemistry sector. Labs in research, development and manufacturing, are relocating or expanding facilities locally, as seen in Thermo Fisher (neé PPD) Quality Chemical Labs, Cygnus, and Alcami Corps.

UNCW is aiming for a fall 2023 launch of the doctoral pharmaceutical chemistry program; the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges has to approve the addition.

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

Other doctoral programs offered at UNCW include nursing, educational leadership, intergrative, comparative and marine biology, coastal and ocean sciences and psychology.

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Shea Carver
Shea Carver
Shea Carver is the editor in chief at Port City Daily. A UNCW alumna, Shea worked in the print media business in Wilmington for 22 years before joining the PCD team in October 2020. She specializes in arts coverage — music, film, literature, theatre — the dining scene, and can often be tapped on where to go, what to do and who to see in Wilmington. When she isn’t hanging with her pup, Shadow Wolf, tending the garden or spinning vinyl, she’s attending concerts and live theater.

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