June 17 commencement marks 10-year anniversary of the UCI Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences

June 17 commencement marks 10-year anniversary of the UCI Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences

The UCI Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences will hold its Spring 2018 commencement ceremony at 12:30 PM at the Bren Events Center. The ceremony marks a decade of excellence for the department.

“At our first commencement ceremony we graduated seven students from our undergraduate major and we did not yet have a PhD program,” recalls Mahtab Jafari, associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences and founding faculty member. “Now in our 10th year, we expect to graduate over 100 undergraduate students this Spring, and we currently have 40 PhD students in our program. We are ranked in the top 10% of pharmaceutical sciences departments nationwide, which is impressive for such a young department like ours.”

The rapid growth and success of the program is largely due to the department’s exceptional faculty. “At the time I was brought on, we had two full time faculty,” explains Richard Chamberlin, chair. “I was tasked with building a team of cutting-edge scientists that would equip our students with a solid foundation in the basic sciences, allowing them to succeed in any biomedical school or field. Today, we have 14 faculty members and 10 affiliated faculty, a scientifically diverse team of chemists, structural biologists, synthetic biologists, pharmacologists, materials scientists, and others.”

Graduates are well qualified to seek employment in the public and private sectors, or to pursue graduate degrees such as a PhD, MD, or PharmD. UCI is the number one feeder to pharmacy schools nationwide; nearly half of the program’s graduates pursue a doctorate degree in pharmacy school.

In looking forward, the next major milestone is to build Orange County’s first public School of Pharmacy. “Our highest priority is to create a world-class teaching and research facility,” says Chamberlin. “Our existing program will be the cornerstone of the new UCI School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, part of the Susan and Henry Samueli College of Health Sciences.”

The new school will offer the following programs: BS in Pharmaceutical Sciences, Post-baccalaureate Certificate in Pharmaceutical Sciences, MS in Pharmacology, PhD in Pharmacological Sciences with concentration in Pharmaceutical Sciences, Pharmacology, and Medicinal Chemistry, and will add a PharmD program.

Under the umbrella of the College of Health Sciences, research and teaching will focus on a collaborative, holistic, and preventive care model.

“Our goal is to train the next generation of pharmaceutical scientists to be transformative drivers of change,” says Chamberlin. “From advancing therapies to treatment, we have no doubt our graduates will play an integral role in shaping a brighter, healthier future.”