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New Program Drives Research and Training in Chemistry and Life Sciences

Joshua Pierce works in his lab
Chemistry of Life director Joshua Pierce works with a graduate student in his lab.

A new program led by the College of Sciences is bringing together researchers from across NC State to focus on innovative research and training at the intersection of chemistry and life sciences.

The Chemistry of Life Program, which launched in July 2020, was developed by Joshua Pierce, LORD Corporation Distinguished Scholar and associate professor of chemistry. In creating the program, Pierce was inspired by the team science and training initiatives he participated in as part of the leadership of NC State’s Comparative Medicine Institute (CMI). The new program is launching within the CMI; Pierce has been appointed as the CMI’s co-director.

Chemistry of Life’s membership includes more than 40 faculty from four colleges across the university, which will help the program seed innovative, interdisciplinary research projects in molecular-focused areas ranging from synthetic chemistry and synthetic biology to chemical biology and biochemistry.

The new program is also focusing on graduate and undergraduate training and will initially include a cohort of three graduate students. The Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost is supporting the new program by funding these three graduate fellowships, as well as a postdoctoral teaching position that will be co-mentored by Chemistry of Life and the university’s Biotechnology Program.

Chemistry of Life is also preparing a graduate minor within the program, with longer-term plans to add undergraduate degree programs. All of these training efforts will help develop the next generation of scientists who understand chemistry across the life sciences.

“I’m excited to establish this program to fuel the research and training between the chemical sciences and the life sciences across NC State,” Pierce said. “We will work to break down the existing barriers to modern student training and research efforts.”

“This is an exciting opportunity to bring together chemical biology research and instruction to help solve real-world problems and enhance understanding of life at the molecular level,” said Gavin Williams, LORD Corporation Distinguished Scholar and professor of chemistry, Chemistry of Life’s associate director.

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