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.


School of Pharmacy, Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences, PharmD Degree Program

About the School: The UCSF School of Pharmacy aims to solve the most pressing health care problems and strives to ensure that each patient receives the safest, most effective treatments. Our discoveries seed the development of novel therapies, and our researchers consistently lead the nation in NIH funding. The School’s doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) degree program, with its unique emphasis on scientific thinking, prepares students to be critical thinkers and leaders in their field.