Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Susan Mercer



Dr. Susan L. Mercer is an Assistant Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences in the College of Pharmacy. Her teaching responsibilities include Pharmaceutical and Medicinal Chemistry, CNS Pharmacology, Drugs of Abuse and Addiction, and the Integrated Biomedical Sciences Laboratory. Dr. Mercer received her B.S. in Chemistry from Seton Hill University in 2004 and her Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy in 2008.  Her graduate training provided both breadth and depth in every phase of classical drug discovery that included organic synthesis, medicinal chemistry, pharmacology, drug metabolism, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics.   Dr. Mercer has utilized her skill set to begin independent research at Lipscomb where she mentors professional and undergraduate students in the research laboratory. Her research interests include the design and synthesis of molecules as potential tools to study biological systems concerned with drugs of abuse and the development of novel opioid analgesics with reduced side effects.

In addition to her work with Lipscomb University, Dr. Mercer is an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Pharmacology at Vanderbilt University and a member of the Vanderbilt Institute of Chemical Biology.  Dr. Mercer is published in the medicinal chemistry and pharmacology literature and serves as a manuscript reviewer for Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry Letters and Current Medicinal Chemistry.  She has been the recipient of various awards including a Leadership Development Award from the ACS Younger Chemists Committee (2008) and has been recognized by Seton Hill University as a Distinguished Recent Alumni (2009).  Dr. Mercer also serves her profession as the Secretary/Treasurer for the Drug Design and Discovery Section of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists. She and her husband, Greg, have been married for five years and are expecting their first child in early March.
Christian Heritage
I was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA and grew up in a Christian family. I was privileged to attend Christian schools through the eighth grade and later attended Seton Hill University for my undergraduate studies. I am continually grateful that I was able to pursue a majority of my education in a Christian environment and was surrounded by intelligent, compassionate professors who truly wanted their students to excel and succeed both professionally and spiritually.
Between these academic institutions and various volunteer activities, I discovered my passion for serving others. In particular, I became very involved with the Muscular Dystrophy (MD) Association as a summer camp counselor during high school and college. The campers ranged in age from 6 to 21 with various types and degrees of MD. I learned a lot from the campers, parents and volunteers and a lot about myself – these experiences have definitely strengthened my faith and shaped my career path to pursue scientific research. While pursuing my graduate degree I continued to volunteer and serve in various capacities which fulfilled my spiritual needs while at a secular school. 
When graduation was close in sight I began to investigate my career opportunities in the pharmaceutical sciences and concluded that pursuing a faculty position at a small student-focused Christian school would be a fulfilling and rewarding career. I wanted to educate student pharmacists who were more than competent professionals, but ones who exhibited caring and compassion for their patients. I believe that my presence at Lipscomb is part of God’s plan. I truly enjoy working in a Christian environment where morals, ethics, and values are prominent. Lipscomb promotes and encourages their faculty, staff and students to be Christ-like though engagement in mission and service activities which allow me to pursue my passion while leading by example.