Out of more than 100 colleges of pharmacy in the United States, the College of Pharmacy at the University of Illinois at Chicago is the third oldest and, founded in 1859, is even older than the University of Illinois itself. The UIC College of Pharmacy is ranked third nationally for overall research expenditures by the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy and is currently ranked seventh in NIH funding. Despite enrolling an average of 120 graduate students at any one time, there is no training grant at the UIC College of Pharmacy. One of our most prestigious programs in natural products research and graduate education is the Program for Collaborative Research in the Pharmacological Sciences (PCRPS), which was founded by the late Prof. Norman Farnsworth. This program emphasizes interdisciplinary collaborative research and graduate education in the area of natural products. The PCRPS incorporates our graduate program in Pharmacognosy, which is one of just two such programs in the United States, our postdoctoral training program in Pharmacognosy, and our Medicinal Chemistry graduate and postgraduate education focusing on natural products. The UIC College of Pharmacy is also home to the UIC/NIH Center for Botanical Dietary Supplements Research, which is the longest continuously NIH-supported Botanical Center. Founded by Prof. Farnsworth, the UIC Botanical Center is now directed by Prof. van Breemen and is focused on evaluating the safety and efficacy of botanical dietary supplements used by women as alternatives to estrogen replacement therapy at menopause. The UIC Botanical Center has been a focus of graduate and postgraduate education in natural products research. Our pre-doctoral and post-doctoral trainees move on to leadership positions in academia, industry and government here in the United States and internationally. Training young scientists for careers in natural products research is a core mission of our College of Pharmacy, the PCRPS, and the Botanical Center and will be the focus of this training grant. The Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy have an outstanding league of faculty to serve as mentors to the new trainee appointments presented in this application.
The majority of drugs and supplements in use today are derived from natural products. This training grant will support the education of the next generation of scientists who will be responsible for establishing the safety and efficacy of dietar supplements and for the discovery of new therapeutic agents from natural product sources.
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