Dr. Christopher McCurdy visits Rowan as part of the Dreyfus Foundation Grant

The Rowan University College of Science & Mathematics and the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry welcomed Dr. Christopher McCurdy to campus on November 14th and 15th. The visit was made possible by a grant from The Camille & Henry Dreyfus Foundation. McCurdy’s talk, entitled “A Natural Product as a Potential Treatment to Aid in the Opioid Epidemic” was attended by a standing room only crowd in the Edelman Planetarium.

His visit included a happy hour to interact with students and faculty in the Pharmaceutical Sciences program as well as other students interested in the topic. McCurdy also met with the Provost, several key faculty members, had lunch with selected students, and participated in the ACS poster session.

Assistant Professor of Chemistry, Dr. Thomas Keck and Dan Drutz, the College’s PR & Events Coordinator were awarded a Jean Dreyfus Lectureship for Undergraduate Research Grant, which provides an institution with $18,000 to have a prominent lecturer visit campus and to fund two summer undergraduate research students in the field in chemistry.

“Being awarded this grant for the first time shows the level of priority that Rowan puts on undergraduate research,” stated Drutz. “We are able to provide two of our students with the opportunity to conduct summer research and also present their research at conferences.”

McCurdy is a Professor of Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Florida College of Pharmacy and Director, Translational Drug Development Care. The talk provided a background on the ethnopharmacological use of Mitragyna speciosa, a Southeast Asian tree whose leaves are the origin of the Thai traditional drug “Kratom”, and the chemistry of the alkaloids present that are under current pharmacological study and the latest results of the rodent behavioral studies.

“Having Dr. McCurdy on campus is a great opportunity for our students to network with one of the preeminent pharmaceutical scientists in the Country,” stated Keck. “This would not have been possible without the generosity of the Dreyfus Foundation.”

McCurdy will return to campus in May to give a public lecture on the opioid epidemic. He will also have a chance to visit the Rowan School of Osteopathic Medicine and the Cooper Medical School at Rowan University.