Mercer will provide medicinal chemistry skills for Vanderbilt research projects, and in return she will have access to all of Vanderbilt’s facilities and the ability to use Lipscomb student pharmacists as her research assistants. Lipscomb pharmacy officials expect the partnership to lead to a summer research program for Lipscomb’s College of Pharmacy, the first pharmacy school established to serve Middle Tennessee.
“This will be a unique opportunity for the Lipscomb student pharmacists,” Mercer said of the partnership. “Out student already have excellent career opportunities to become practitioners in a variety of settings from hospitals to community pharmacies. This program will expose students to another side of the pharmaceutical field -- drug development -- through independent research studies.”
Mercer earned her doctor of philosophy from the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy and has had experience with every phase of classical drug discovery including organic synthesis, medicinal chemistry, pharmacology, drug metabolism, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics.
Scott Akers, Pharm.D., Ph.D., Lipscomb chair of the department of pharmaceutical sciences, also holds a dual appointment at Vanderbilt University.
“Drs. Mercer and Akers are excellent faculty to begin building the focus on research and drug development that Lipscomb plans for its student pharmacists,” said Roger Davis, dean of the College of Pharmacy. “The research side of the field is one that not as many people target for their careers, but it is desperately needed in today’s health care system. With Lipscomb’s values-based education and Vanderbilt’s world-class facilities, this partnership will provide students a unique opportunity in Middle Tennessee to carry out scientific research relating to pharmaceuticals before they even graduate.”
In response to a growing need for highly qualified pharmacists throughout the nation, Lipscomb University announced in November 2006 that it would create the third pharmacy college in the state, the first in Middle Tennessee. The College of Pharmacy achieved precandidate status with the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education in June 2008 and admitted its first class of 74 students in August 2008.