Kip Guy malaria research

Listen: College of Pharmacy dean discusses fighting Kentucky health disparities with practical research

UK College of Pharmacy Dean Kip Guy’s research focuses on drug discovery and development for neglected diseases, particularly those that affect pediatric patients. Coming to UK from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, much of his work has focused on fighting malaria, a major killer of children, as well as pediatric cancers including ependymoma, leukemia and medulloblastoma.

Though it was initially the “neat solutions” that attracted him to the field, he quickly learned that not even science provides easy black-and-white answers. While researchers may have expectations of how an experiment may play out, they often learn more from the failures than if it had unfolded as planned.

“You’ve put in all this time and effort because your model told you ‘X’ was going to happen, and then you run the experiment and what you wind up with is something completely different,” he said. “These are the moments in science that are the most fun. It’s when you break your own model and learn something fundamentally new.”

As his research projects grew larger and more intensive over the years, Guy was looking specifically for a place where he could take a larger administrative role and begin mentoring the next generation of scientists. Guy says he found “a perfect storm” in the University of Kentucky, a place known nationally for its research excellence, top-ranked College of Pharmacy and local population in need of therapeutic intervention for a variety of serious health disparities.

“It’s an incredible place, with amazing faculty and a long, rich and successful history of positively affecting clinical practice and the research world. It’s about being in a place where I can work the way I want to work, with the kind of people who are here, and focusing on problems that are really serving unmet needs.”

“We’re not just about working in the lab or the clinic,” Guy said. “We’re also about living in this community and doing well by it.”

In this podcast, Guy shares his own research, his major goals for the College of Pharmacy, and how pharmacy researchers are addressing the opioid epidemic.


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