UK Creates Endowed Pharmacy Chair

Aug 25, 2011

Someday, in the not too distant future, a pharmacist may be able to know exactly how patients will react to medications even before they take them. A cutting edge research field known as personalized medicine, or pharmacogenetics, involves studying a person's unique genetic code in order to determine how he or she will metabolize medicine.

That type of research will soon be done at the UK College of Pharmacy, thanks to a Million Dollar gift from Kentucky community pharmacist and philanthropist Larry H. Spears.

On Wednesday, the school officially established the Larry H. Spears Endowed Chair in Pharmacogenetics. College of Pharmacy Dean Tim Tracy says he's been personally involved in pharmacogenetics for the past fifteen years. 

"We are a top five college of pharmacy and now we can also be a leader in pharmacogenetics, again, one of the areas that's quickly becoming known as a major factor in controlling people's responses to drugs. So this chair will now allow us to bring in a nationally recognized scholar in pharmacogenetics to come to our institution, serve as that lead person, and really build a program in pharmacogenetics here at UK."

Tracy says the Spears donation will be matched with some $200,000 from the Research Challenge Trust Fund to create the college of pharmacy's first-ever endowed chair.