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Kerry McPhail, Ph.D. Appointed Chair of Medicinal Chemistry, College of Pharmacy, University of Utah

Kerry McPhail, Ph.D. Appointed Chair of Medicinal Chemistry, College of Pharmacy, University of Utah

May 31, 2024 - The University of Utah College of Pharmacy has hired Kerry McPhail, PhD, as the next chair for its Department of Medicinal Chemistry. Her appointment will begin October 1, 2024. 

McPhail brings a wealth of experience and expertise to her new role, having distinguished herself as a leader and innovator. Her groundbreaking research in natural product chemistry and drug discovery has earned her international recognition. She is poised to lead the Department of Medicinal Chemistry to new heights of excellence.

Currently a professor of pharmaceutical sciences at the Oregon State University College of Pharmacy, McPhail has also served as its director of graduate programs.  Nationally, she chaired the 2022 Gordon Research Conference in Marine Natural Products and has served as president of the American Society of Pharmacognosy, among other leadership roles.

"We are thrilled to welcome Dr. McPhail to the University of Utah as the new department chair of Medicinal Chemistry," said COP Dean Randall Peterson, PhD. "Her passion for research, dedication to teaching, and commitment to advancing the field of medicinal chemistry make her an ideal person to lead the department into the future."

McPhail received a PhD in organic chemistry from Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa, before completing a postdoctoral fellowship at Oregon State. She then accepted a faculty position at OSU where she has established an internationally recognized research program focused on the discovery of microbial natural products relevant to cancer and infectious disease research. 

Her pioneering work has been supported by both federal and private funding agencies and has been recognized with awards, such as the Matt Suffness Young Investigator award, the William Barker Lectureship, and the Webster-Sibilsky Lectureship. McPhail has been a visiting professor at UC San Diego and Rhodes University.

As department chair, McPhail will oversee the strategic direction of the Department of Medicinal Chemistry, including faculty recruitment, research initiatives, and educational programs. She will also play a key role in fostering collaborations across disciplines and promoting the translation of research discoveries into clinical applications. She succeeds Darrell Davis, PhD, who will be stepping down after 15 years of outstanding service as department chair.

"I am honored and delighted to join the University of Utah as the new department chair for medicinal chemistry," said McPhail. "I look forward to collaborating with our inspiring students, staff and faculty to advance world-class medicinal chemistry research and education."

McPhail Kerry