UBC Reports | Vol. 47 | No. 01 | Jan.
Faculty to lead national student research program
Program designed to encourage students to pursue research career in
by Hilary Thomson staff writer
A member of UBC's Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences has been
granted $50,000 US from the Merck Company Foundation to
create a national
summer research program for undergraduate pharmacy students.
The Merck Foundation Undergraduate Pharmacy Student Research
Program will offer
fellowships of $5,000 US to one student at each of Canada's
schools. It will be administered by Assoc. Prof. Kishor Wasan who directs the
faculty's Summer Student Research Program (SSRP).
The support provides student salaries, project supplies, and travel costs for
students to present their research at the annual meeting of the Canadian
Society for Pharmaceutical Sciences.
"This support is a significant recognition of UBC's commitment to
undergraduate research and to the faculty's leadership in this area," says
Frank Abbott, dean of Pharmaceutical Sciences. "The project will link both
students and their supervisors at pharmacy schools right across the country."
The fellowship will be the premier award offered in the faculty's
summer student research program. Started in 1989, the program has seen rapid
expansion under Wasan's direction. Last year enrolment in the program jumped to
41 students from the 11-student roster in 1998.
The program aims to introduce undergraduate students to the diversity of
pharmacy research and encourage students to consider a career as a research
scientist. Addressing the major shortage of pharmaceutical scientists in
industry and academia is one of the program's objectives.
"We're pleased to give national exposure to our successful undergraduate
research model," says Wasan, a faculty member since 1995 and chair of the
division of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics. "We hope our program can
revitalize or create similar programs at other schools."
Promoting undergraduate research is a goal of Trek 2000, the university's
The program also helps raise awareness in the research and academic communities
about pharmacy education and research.
"We don't just train pharmacists here," says Wasan. "We train pharmaceutical
Each school of pharmacy will select a fellowship student by early March. All
nine recipients will be announced in mid-May. Funding covers the period mid-May
to mid-August. Students will submit a report to Wasan and present their
findings at the annual conference of the Canadian Society for Pharmaceutical
Funding renewal will be considered at the end of the first year of the
The Merck Company Foundation, whose mandate includes support of education,
already has a national U.S. summer student research program that
involves 18 of the 80 U.S. pharmacy programs.
There are schools of pharmacy at the universities of Alberta, Saskatchewan,
Manitoba and Toronto, as well as Laval, Montreal, Memorial, and Dalhousie
For more information check the faculty newsletter on the Web site at