Renowned Oceanographer to Present Annual Waller Lecture

William H. Gerwick to speak Oct. 4 on marine pharmaceutical leads

William H. Gerwick

OXFORD, Miss. – Studying the world’s oceans has proven to be a promising avenue for discovering new plant and animal life that can be gleaned for compounds to vastly improve human health.

This unique type of pharmaceutical research is the topic of the School of Pharmacy‘s 2013 Coy W. Waller Distinguished Lecture at the University of Mississippi.

William H. Gerwick, distinguished professor of oceanography and pharmaceutical sciences at the University of California at San Diego, will deliver the Oct. 4 lecture, “Searching the Seas for New Pharmaceutical Leads: Integrating Analytical, Synthetic and Genetic Approaches,” at 11 a.m. in the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts.

The free, public event is being hosted by the pharmacy school and its Department of Pharmacognosy.

“We are thrilled that Dr. Gerwick has agreed to be our Waller Lecturer,” said David D. Allen, the school’s dean. “He is a very prolific and distinguished investigator, and I am eager to hear more about his marine natural products research.”

Gerwick has presented more than 200 invited lectures, published nearly 400 scholarly and scientific works, and is an inventor on more than 20 patents.

His work has focused on the characterizing the unique natural products of marine algae and cyanobacteria, their biological activities of use to biomedicine, and the pathways of their biosynthesis.

Gerwick received a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from the University of California at Davis in 1976 and a doctorate in oceanography from the Scripps Institutions of Oceanography at UC-San Diego in 1981.

“Dr. Gerwick is indeed one of the world leaders as far as the chemistry and biology of marine natural products are concerned,” said Daneel Ferreira, chair of the pharmacognosy department. “He occupies a key position to probe the vast resources offered by the marine environment for its potential to provide novel pharmaceutical leads to assist in our eternal battle against human disease. We are delighted that someone of his scientific stature has graciously agreed to be our 2013 Waller Lecturer.”

The Coy W. Waller Distinguished Lecture series was established in 2004 to recognize the former Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences director’s contributions to the field of pharmaceutics and to the pharmacy school. Each year, a department within the school hosts the lecture, and lecturers are selected for their contributions to the host department’s discipline.

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