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Bill Atkins Named Inaugural Sid Nelson Endowed Professor


In a fitting tribute to our late colleague, mentor and friend, the School of Pharmacy is humbled to share that we have formally established the Sid Nelson Endowed Professorship in Drug Metabolism. The seeds for the professorship were sown in December 2011, after our much-loved professor of medicinal chemistry and dean emeritus passed away suddenly. Our community rallied together to honor Sid’s life and contributions to the School by creating the Sid Nelson Memorial Fund. The memorial fund later became the Endowed Nelson Professorship — a fund that we hope to eventually turn into a more substantial endowed fund in honor of Sid.

The recipient of this professorship is a distinguished faculty member in the field of drug metabolism — Professor of Medicinal Chemistry Bill Atkins (pictured at left). Bill Atkins earned his bachelor’s in chemistry with honors from The College of William & Mary, his master’s in pharmacology from Harvard University and his PhD in biochemistry from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. From 1988 to 1991, he performed postdoctoral research in the Department of Chemistry at The Pennsylvania State University as a National Institutes of Health Kirschstein Fellow.

He has been on our Department of Medicinal Chemistry faculty since 1991. His research focuses on the biochemical nature of detoxification enzymes and on drug metabolism, with emphasis on biophysical mechanisms. He has been awarded NIH grants for research on several enzyme systems. Recent research also includes characterization of nanoparticles for drug delivery and targeted therapy.

“This is the first named professorship to be established in the Department of Medicinal Chemistry,” said Dean Tom Baillie. “I am delighted that we can pay tribute to Sid in this way thanks to the generosity of our donors.”

Baillie also notes that Atkins, who was a colleague of and co-author with Nelson for two decades, will carry on Nelson’s legacy well. He possesses the devotion to research and education that were hallmarks of Sid’s career. For his part, Bill Atkins is honored to be the inaugural recipient of this professorship that pays tribute to the life and work of a friend who we all miss deeply.

Read more about Sid Nelson’s life and legacy.

~May 7, 2013


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