USP/UCSF fellowship to support research in the quality and safety of medical products

A new fellowship offered at UC San Francisco promises to spur research into medicine quality through the study of the pharmacologically inactive ingredients in drugs, known as excipients.

The U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention (USP) Quality Institute is partnering with UCSF to support the Fellowship in Quality of Medical Products in the UCSF School of Pharmacy.

The fellowship will provide up to $70,000 annually, plus benefits, to each of one or two early career scientists “who wish to conduct novel research and receive specialized training in medicine quality, with a specific focus on the quality of excipients.”

Excipients, which include coatings, binding agents, and thickeners, are meant to stabilize and add bulk to a medication, and, in some cases, enhance the effectiveness of the active ingredient in a medication. Added flavors, and even the colored dyes on the outside of a pill, are considered to be excipients. Although all excipients must be tested for their safety in general, many are not tested alongside their active ingredient companions in a medication.

“I am so thrilled that our FDA Center of Excellence in Regulatory Science and Innovation (CERSI) catalyzed this interaction, and even more thrilled to have the first USP-sponsored fellowship in our School of Pharmacy,” said Kathy Giacomini, PhD, a co-principal investigator at CERSI, and a faculty member in the Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences, a joint department of the UCSF Schools of Pharmacy and Medicine.

Giacomini has spent part of her recent research efforts looking at popular excipients to see if they could hinder drug absorption. She said the fellowship will help ensure that patients get the best possible outcomes from their prescription medications.


Interested scientists should contact Maria Friciello, CERSI program director, at [email protected], for more information.

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.