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James R. Halpert, Ph.D. joined the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences in March as professor and Associate Dean for Scientific Affairs. In this new position, Halpert will be instrumental in helping the School, founded in 2001, build its scientific base, recruit new faculty, and develop new scientific initiatives and partnerships on the UC San Diego campus and across the La Jolla mesa.
“Dr. Halpert will play a key role in developing programs and recruiting faculty in key positions for the Skaggs School, including pharmaceutics, pharmacogenomics and other fields related to drug discovery and development,” said Palmer Taylor, Ph.D., Dean of the Skaggs School, Associate Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences and Sandra & Monroe Trout Professor of Pharmacology. “We are extremely pleased to have as our associate dean a stellar researcher with the breadth of experience that he brings to this position.”
Halpert brings with him a major research program on the structure and function of enzymes involved in drug metabolism and disposition. In his capacity as associate dean, he will help in developing the School’s new Pharm.D./Ph.D. program and forging national and international research and academic partnerships.
Halpert states that the quality of the faculty at the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, as well as the opportunity to make his mark with a new and thriving school of pharmacy were the main reasons he came to UC San Diego.
“I am extremely impressed by the caliber of research and teaching being done by the faculty at this institution, and am happy to be part of what I regard as one of the top schools of pharmacy in the country,” he said. Halpert added that he is excited about the challenge of building ties between the School and the community, particularly San Diego’s biotech and pharmaceutical industries.
Before coming to UCSD, Halpert was at the University of Texas Medical Branch where he served as professor and chairman of the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, director of its NIEHS Center and interim director of the Sealy Center for Environmental Health and Medicine. He also held the Mary Gibbs Jones Distinguished Chair in Environmental Toxicology.
Halpert returns to the UC System, where he earned a B.A. in Scandinavian Languages from UCLA. He received a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Uppsala University and a master’s degree in toxicology from the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm. He was a member of the National Institutes of Health’s Pharmacology Study Section from 1992 to1995 and served as chairman from 1993 to1995. A former editor of Drug Metabolism and Disposition, Halpert’s research for the past 30 years has focused on the structure and function of drug-metabolizing enzymes called cytochromes P450, which are major determinants of individual responses to medications.
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