An assistant professor of chemistry at Tusculum College recently received an Appalachian College Association Faculty Fellowship.
According to fellowship recipient Dr. Richard Thompson, diseases like malaria, AIDS and tuberculosis – often called neglected diseases – inflict the poorest populations and are often overlooked by large pharmaceutical companies.
Thompson’s fellowship will be used to develop an undergraduate research program that will allow Tusculum students to participate in an effort to identify potential druglike molecules for the treatment of neglected diseases.
Students under Thompson’s mentorship will collaborate with other colleges around the world in the project, known as Distributed Drug Discovery, or D3.
The D3 strategy originated with Professor William Scott at Indiana U n ive r s i t y – P u r d u e University Indianapolis and has grown to include colleges around the world.
The Faculty Fellowship endowment is supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the William Randolph Hearst Foundation, the McCune Foundation, member schools and individual contributions.
Through the Faculty Fellowship Program, ACA’s longest running program, fellowships named in honor of Jean Ritchie, the late Wilma Dykeman Stokely and John B. Stephenson are awarded annually.
The program’s policy requires that at least 75 percent of fellowship funds be given to faculty in the arts and sciences, as defined by the Carnegie Foundation.
Thompson, who joined the faculty of Tusculum College in August of 2011, teaches general chemistry, organic chemistry, environmental chemistry and environmental science.
He holds a Bachelor of Science in chemistry from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, a doctorate in organic chemistry from Syracuse University and he completed postdoctoral research as a National Institute of Health fellow at The Ohio State University.
After completing his academic training, Thompson was employed by Eli Lilly and Company where he was a member of the Discovery Chemistry Research and Technology division.
Among the areas of drug discovery in which Thompson worked while atLillywereneuroscience, cardiovascular, cancer and infectious diseases.