Chappell named chair of pharmaceutical sciences

Joseph Chappell, a professor in the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture’s Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, has been named chair of the UK College of Pharmacy’s Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences. Chappell will assume the role of chair on May 15.

Chappell is an acclaimed natural product scientist and will help develop the college’s expertise in plant-derived drug candidates.

“Joe is an exceptional natural product scientist and his presence will expand on our excellence and critical mass of faculty in this area,” said Tim Tracy, dean of the UK College of Pharmacy. “I look forward to working with Joe and the pharmaceutical sciences faculty as they chart a strategic direction for the department.”

Chappell earned his bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of California, San Diego. He then received his doctorate in biology from the University of California, Santa Cruz. He conducted postdoctoral research at the University of Freiburg and Max Planck Institute-Cologne in Germany, then at the University of California, San Diego. In 1985, he joined the faculty at the UK College of Agriculture and has risen through the academic ranks from assistant to full professor.

Chappell has been active in UK’s classrooms, teaching a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses over the years. He helped develop UK’s renowned bachelor’s degree program in agricultural biotechnology and has advised many students as part of that program during his UK career.

At UK, the Chappell laboratory has been dedicated to studying all facets of isoprenoid metabolism in plants — from the identification of the genes encoding for and regulating this metabolism to defining the biochemical mechanisms of the enzymes themselves. In recent years, The Chappell lab has collaborated with members of the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences in his lab’s quest to develop new plant-based therapeutic agents.

“I am honored to have this opportunity to join a college for which I have the utmost respect,” Chappell said. “I have collaborated with many College of Pharmacy faculty members over the years, and I embrace this opportunity to partner with these colleagues to strengthen the academic, research, and service programs within the nation’s fifth-ranked College of Pharmacy.”

Chappell’s laboratory has embraced student mentoring, generally supporting one or two undergraduate research scholars each year, guiding graduate student thesis projects, and supporting the professional development of postdoctoral and sabbatical scholars.

Chappell has been involved in commercializing intellectual property discovered in his lab, including the development of several start-up enterprises in Kentucky.


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