Wells to chair the Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry

James A. Wells, PhD, an internationally recognized biochemist and leader in the development of new technologies for engineering proteins and for identifying small molecules to aid drug discovery, has been named chair of the Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry in the UCSF School of Pharmacy. His appointment is effective July 1, 2008. "Jim's appointment is terrific and timely," says Mary Anne Koda-Kimble, PharmD, dean of the UCSF School of Pharmacy. "Today's approach to drug discovery is cumbersome, complex, and produces few effective new drugs. We need new approaches and new technologies that arise from basic research, and industry is giving up more and more of this research to academic centers. Jim comes from industry and understands this well." Wells will succeed Thomas L. James, PhD, who has served as department chair since 1995.

Together with department faculty, Wells will help ensure the School's science goals are met. "We are well positioned to expand our science of drug discovery and synthetic biology in collaboration with our science colleagues on campus and beyond. We plan to understand more deeply the fundamental chemistry that underlies health and disease. And we'll create needed new research tools and technologies to find better ways to discover and develop drugs. This scientific vision was developed under the School's two science department chairs and supported by our whole School faculty," explains Wells. "I was involved in developing it and look forward to completing what we have challenged ourselves to do."

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Wells to Chair UCSF Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry

About the School: The UCSF School of Pharmacy is a premier graduate-level academic organization dedicated to improving health through precise therapeutics. It succeeds through innovative research, by educating PharmD health professional and PhD science students, and by caring for the therapeutics needs of patients while exploring innovative new models of patient care. The School was founded in 1872 as the first pharmacy school in the American West. It is an integral part of UC San Francisco, a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide.