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UT to offer two new pharmacy programs

The University of Toledo soon will have two new degree programs — one undergraduate and one doctoral — for students in the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

The two new programs, a bachelor’s degree in cosmetic science and a doctoral degree in experimental therapeutics, have been in progress for years. Both have been approved, and the college aims to have them up and running by fall 2013.

The program for a doctoral degree in experimental therapeutics was approved in late August after it went through many changes and revisions, including approval by the Ohio Board of Regents as well as by UT committees and offices.

The process started several years ago when faculty members felt that there was a gap within the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. The college already had a doctoral program for medicinal chemistry as well as a pharmacy doctoral program, but faculty members wanted another unique program.

Faculty members began inviting colleagues from other institutions to seminars to share ideas. With their input and many discussions, the idea of an experimental therapeutics program was developed.

“What we liked about the concept of experimental therapeutics is that it really is a bridge between our two standing doctoral programs,” said Dr. William Messer, professor and chair of the Department of Pharmacology. “We have these efforts to design new therapies, and clinical efforts to provide those therapies to patients, but there was a gap in doctoral training in the middle.”

Once the idea was established, the proposal was written and revised by faculty in the Department of Pharmacology. During this time, the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences moved from Main Campus to Health Science Campus, which required the proposal to change as well.

“The whole process I think strengthened the proposal,” Messer said. “It aligned our program with what’s happening here on the Health Science Campus. It fits nicely with the efforts that are going on, not only within the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, but within the College of Medicine and Life Sciences as well.”

With this program, students will combine research on diseases that include cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, rheumatoid arthritis, and work in a clinical setting. They will be able to see how the laboratory work directly applies to the disease being treated.

The catalog for the program is being finalized for fall 2013. The college faculty and staff members are recruiting students with a strong background in pharmacology.

“As we’re recruiting students, we have a real opportunity to have an impact,” Messer said. “We’re looking for the best students who are motivated and want to make a difference.”

While the doctoral program should be ready next year, the undergraduate program has been approved by the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and is making its way through the Faculty Senate and the UT program committee. Meanwhile, students are lining up to switch into the program.

With this program, UT will become the second school east of the Mississippi River that offers such a curriculum.

“I’m very enthusiastic about the program,” said Dr. Ken Alexander, professor of pharmacy practice. “The enthusiasm is based on the fact that there’s a need and nobody is fulfilling that need.”

It has taken Alexander more than 18 months to shepherd the program to its current adoption.

UT already had undergraduate pharmacy programs in place, but what was lacking in order to create a cosmetic science major was the business component. That component was requested by the industry to produce graduates who are ready for the expanding cosmetic market.

“By being a school of pharmacy, which is already training students in formulation and product development, and which has the biology and chemistry components, the only missing piece was the business aspects of the industry,” Alexander explained. “The students have to understand that the cosmetic industry is not just formulation; it’s a business that requires the formulator to make sure that they are fitting the market to the needs of the people.”

Any student who will have taken the prerequisite chemistry, biology and anatomy, and physiology courses can enroll in the program. However, beginning in the third year, only 45 students will be able to continue with the program due to limited lab space. This will make the program very competitive.

UT also hopes to establish a graduate program for cosmetic science in the future, making it the fourth school east of the Mississippi River with this offering. Graduate programs for cosmetic science generally only enroll between five and 10 students on average.

For more information on the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and its degree programs, visit utoledo.edu/pharmacy.

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