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Letter From the Chair

Andy Li Photo
Dr. Andy Li, M.D., Ph.D

It is my pleasure to welcome you to the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences in the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) at North Carolina Central University (NCCU). The Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences was established in 2007 and is housed in the Biomanufacturing Research Institute and Technology Enterprise (BRITE) building. The department supports the CAS commitment to excellence in scholarship, teaching and service. The Department engages in interdisciplinary teaching and research that provides relevant real world expertise required by students to become skilled scientists, to excel intellectually and professionally in a global environment, and to pursue careers in science and management or continue their education in graduate school.

The Pharmaceutical Sciences department offers four degree programs: 1) an undergraduate Bachelor of Sciences (BS) degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences, 2) a thesis Master of Sciences (MS) degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences, 3) a newly-approved non-thesis Master of Sciences program, and 4) a PhD degree in Integrated Biosciences (INBS), established and administered by the Graduate School at NCCU, which works together with other departments. The Ph.D. program offers two concentrations - Pharmaceutical Sciences and Biomedical Sciences. The Pharmaceutical Sciences concentration is designed for students with backgrounds and/or interests in pharmaceutical sciences, pharmacology, biochemistry or related disciplines while the Biomedical Sciences concentration is designed for students who are interested in biomedical research.

The department consists of highly qualified faculty with many years of real-world industry experience and academic teaching experience. This unique faculty composition permits the Pharmaceutical Sciences department to successfully accomplish its mission to combine academic teaching with industrial pharmaceutical training in one program.

The Pharmaceutical Sciences department provides student training in a setting that might be found in any biotech or pharmaceutical company. The department hosting institution BRITE possesses an array of equipment comparable to what is used in pharmaceutical and biotechnical companies. Students are trained by our faculty and staff to use equipment and to perform processes and assays commonly used in pharmaceutical and biotechnological industrial settings through various laboratory courses and research courses. The BRITE also has a 450,000 small molecule compound library and a complete automation facility where potential drugs are screened in medium- and high-throughput format. All students spend two semesters in the laboratory doing actual research and drug discovery with guidance and assistance from our faculty and scientific research staff.

Students are encouraged to learn to work independently, to develop the critical thinking skills required to design and execute scientific experiments, to analyze the data from their experiments, and ultimately to present their data in both scientific poster format and in seminar-style format. Often, student research is published in scientific journals and the student is included as an author on that publication. The Pharmaceutical Sciences department, as well as individual faculty members, provides funds to outstanding students to present their research data in national and regional conferences, and encourages students to participate in local Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology events.

The Pharmaceutical Sciences department has established partnerships both with companies in Research Triangle Park and in other locations in the United States and universities around the country. Our students have the opportunity to spend up to three summers working in an outside laboratory. Often, these internships lead to jobs following graduation.

Our students typically find jobs in pharmaceutical or biotechnological companies or enter graduate school after graduation. Our faculty and staff work closely together to guide students through the job application process including preparation of application letters, resumes, and application packages, as well as practice with their presentation skills and with mock interviews.

The success of a program is evaluated by its student graduation rate and placement rate after graduation. The average graduation time is four years for full time students and five years for part time students. Because of the combined effort of our student-focused faculty and staff, and the unparalleled training and opportunities offered to all our students, the student job placement rate, including those who enter graduate school, is 80-90% for the Undergraduate BS program and above 90% for Master’s program.

The Pharmaceutical Sciences department continues to develop new education programs and research initiatives to meet the needs of dynamic pharmaceutical science field. I sincerely hope you will join us along this exciting journey in NCCU’s Pharmaceutical Sciences Department. 

Andy Li, M.D., Ph.D
Chair, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences
2025 BRITE Building
1801 Fayetteville Street
Durham, NC 27707
(919) 530-6872

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