Pharmacology Expert to Speak at Shelby

The chemistry department welcomes Shaun Stauffer, research assistant professor of pharmacology at Vanderbilt University, for a seminar on drug development Oct. 9 from 12:45 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. in Shelby Hall room 1093.

The seminar, “Collaborative Drug Discovery and Probe Development in Academia,” will focus on Stauffer’s research on drug development. On top of the speech, Stauffer will meet with faculty to discuss research topics.

Kevin Shaughnessy, chemistry department chair at UA, said having speakers outside the University visit gives faculty an opportunity to discuss their research and find ideas they may not have thought of otherwise. He also said they can spark inspiration, and give networking opportunities for faculty and students.

Stauffer worked in the pharmaceutical industry before getting into academia. Shaughnessy said because of Stauffer’s background, the speaker has seen the whole process of drug development and can give the audience a wide perspective.

“I hope in part that students see what they might do with their career,” Shaughnessy said. “I think since this involves both industrial and academic aspects, it gives them a broader view of what you can do with chemistry.”

The chemistry department holds these seminars in order to give students and faculty a better understanding of all they can do with a chemistry degree. The department has about 10 speakers a semester, and although the majority is visiting faculty from other universities, it tries to bring in people outside the realm of academia.

“A lot of students don’t know exactly what a chemist does or what chemistry is,” Shaughnessy said. “Chemistry is a broad base that allows you to do lots of things, from medical to scientific. One value of these visits, especially with people with different perspectives, is you can see the different career paths for someone with a chemistry background.”

Stauffer leads a drug discovery team within the Vanderbilt Center for Neuroscience Drug Discovery. He will discuss what happens in the research center as well as his own projects in the seminar.

The talk is free and open to the public. Shaughnessy says that chemistry undergraduate and graduate students, and those who are interested in going into medicine—especially pharmacy—could find this speech of interest. For a list of the chemistry department’s upcoming speakers, check out the department’s events website.