Respected Medicinal Chemistry Professor Receives Prestigious Faculty Achievement Award

… Christopher McCurdy hailed for scholarship, service to students.

OXFORD, Miss. – Christopher McCurdy’s resume is filled with accolades for his excellence in teaching, research and service. But the longtime University of Mississippi medicinal chemistry professor says he wasn’t expecting to be recognized with this year’s prestigious Faculty Achievement Award. McCurdy-NJL

“I was very surprised to learn that I was selected and was not even aware that I had been nominated,” said McCurdy, who received the honor at the recent fall faculty meeting. “I actually missed the first call from Dr. (Maurice) Eftink and, from the urgency of his message, I thought there was some sort of a problem. I returned his call to learn the surprising and very humbling news.”

Provost Morris Stocks presented him with an engraved plaque and a $2,000 check. The award, which debuted at UM in 1985, recognizes professional scholarship, high scholarly standards and overall outstanding career performance.

“Dr. McCurdy is an excellent teacher and continually demonstrates a commitment to his students,” Stocks said. “His research is well-funded and the importance of his work has been recognized by his peers. In addition, Dr. McCurdy is a committed servant to his department, his university and his profession. The Faculty Achievement Award, which recognizes the excellence of his body of work, is well-deserved.”

The presentation means a great deal to the honoree.

“I truly believe that there is no higher form of recognition than that of one’s own colleagues and peers,” McCurdy said. “There are so many faculty here that I hold in the highest regard and utilize for inspiration and mentoring, including some that are former FAA recipients. I love working with students, faculty and staff as they drive me to work harder and dig deeper.”

Barbara Wells, dean of the UM School of Pharmacy, said McCurdy is an exemplary faculty member who makes extraordinary contributions to all the university’s missions and is generous with his time in facilitating the professional development of other faculty members.

“He holds students’ best educational interests as his highest concern and challenges them to think critically, to problem solve, and he reaches out to them to foster their interest in research,” Wells said. “He has won numerous teaching awards and is serving his second three-year term as a Distinguished Teaching Scholar within the School of Pharmacy. He also is a well-funded and extensively published researcher.”

McCurdy, who holds a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy from Ohio Northern University and a doctorate in medicinal chemistry from the University of Georgia, has natural leadership abilities that serve the institution well at several levels, Wells added.

He joined the UM faculty in 2001 after a three-year postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Minnesota under the direction of Distinguished Professor Philip S. Portoghese. Holder of a joint appointment to the Department of Pharmacology, McCurdy recently became co-director of the National Institutes of Health Center for Biomedical Research Excellence – Center for Research Excellence in Natural Products Neurosciences.

Pharmacy students completing their second professional year selected him as Teacher of the Year in 2003, 2006 and 2010.

Past-president of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists’ Drug Design and Discovery section, he has been heavily involved in the AAPS’s D3I initiative and several task forces. He was named the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy Academic Leadership Fellow and received the Albert B. Prescott/GlaxoSmithKline Leadership Award from the Pharmacy Leadership and Educational Institute.

McCurdy serves on the senior editorial advisory board for Medicinal Chemistry at Synergix Ltd. He also is the new trends editor for Medicinal Chemistry Research and an editorial board member of Current Topics in Medicinal Chemistry, Perspectives in Medicinal Chemistry, Open Medicinal Chemistry, Current Bioactive Compounds, Open Enzyme Inhibition Journal, Future Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacologyonline.

Author of more than 50 papers published in professional journals, he has received research funding from the AACP, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and National Science Foundation.

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