Of the >100 pharmacy colleges in the U.S., the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) College of Pharmacy is the third oldest, founded in 1859, and is even older than the University of Illinois itself. The UIC College of Pharmacy consistently ranks in the top five nationally for overall research expenditures by AACP and for NIH funding. Enrolling an average of 120 graduate students at any one time, this renewal application seeks support for our most prestigious program in natural products research and graduate education: the Program for Collaborative Research in the Pharmaceutical Sciences (PCRPS), which was founded by the late Prof. Norman Farnsworth. PCRPS has a global reputation of excellence in graduate education and postgraduate training, with hundreds of alumni worldwide. The signature of this program is its emphasis on interdisciplinary and collaborative approaches to graduate education in natural products of biomedical relevance. The PCRPS incorporates our Pharmacognosy graduate program, one of just two such programs in the U.S., a postdoctoral and scholarly training and exchange program in Pharmacognosy including the UIC WHO Traditional Medicines Collaborating Center, and Medicinal Chemistry graduate and postgraduate training with a natural products focus. Since 1999, the UIC College of Pharmacy is also home to the UIC/NIH Center for Botanical Dietary Supplements Research, which is the oldest NIH-supported Botanical Center. Directed by the PI, Dr. Pauli, the UIC Botanical Center evaluates the safety and efficacy of botanical dietary supplements that are used widely by menopausal women in the U.S. With approximately 50 PhD graduates so far, this Center has been a major focus of graduate education in natural products research. The recently established Center for Natural Product Technologies (CeNAPT) has further expanded this educational opportunities for our trainees. Mentored by a large group of well-funded faculty with expertise in natural products research, our graduates move on to leadership positions in academia, industry, regulatory, and government here in the U.S. and all over the world. Training young scientists for careers in natural products research is a core mission of our College of Pharmacy, the PCRPS, and the Botanical and CeNAPT Centers, and the focus of this training grant.
The majority of drugs and dietary supplements (DSs) in use today are derived from or represent natural products. This training grant will support the education of the next generation of scientists that have the knowledge and skills to discover new therapeutic agents from natural product sources and be responsible for establishing the safety and efficacy of DSs.
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