Rich BergstromClass year and major: 1977, Master of Science Degree in Pharmacology

Current position and responsibilities: It is my great honor to have a part-time role at the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (COPHS) as a professor of pharmaceutical sciences and director of research alliances. In addition, I’m involved in the graduate and fellow training programs at the Indiana University School of Medicine as an adjunct professor of medicine in the Division of Clinical Pharmacology. Finally, as an extension of my 33 year career in pharmacokinetic (PK) and pharmacodynamic (PD) research at Eli Lilly and Company, I continue R&D efforts by consulting for a number of companies that are evaluating new drugs.

Major project/achievement of the past year: While I have always enjoyed the aspects of teaching in academia as well as in my job at Lilly, my greatest achievement this past year has been to become more involved in the academic excellence of COPHS. A major focus of mine has been to help strengthen the graduate program. With the strong support and backing of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS), it is my vision to encourage the formation of an AAPS Student Chapter on the campus of Butler University. The initial plans to establish a chapter began last spring. It is my desire to help students, both those in the graduate program as well as undergraduate students with an interest in the research track.

Why did you choose pharmacy as your career: From the beginning of my education in pharmacy, I saw the excitement and challenges that are inherent in establishing a new medication that effectively and safely treats a disease. Over and over again, my choice to participate in the health care industry by working to discover and develop new drugs has been validated. A particularly rewarding aspect was whenever I had the opportunity to meet a patient, some even family members, who experienced an improvement in their health as a result of a medication I had a hand in developing. While there are many rewarding aspects of a research career, none outshine the knowledge that you have helped another human being by providing a pharmaceutical product that makes a difference for them.

How did Butler prepare you for your career: As a master’s degree student many years ago, the course work and laboratory studies at Butler were foundational to my education and career in pharmaceutical research. The education I received at Butler prepared me to advance more rapidly when I entered a doctor of philosophy degree program at The University of Michigan. Not only that, but as my research career prospered at Lilly, I often looked back to the important lessons about the fundamentals of research that I had initially learned at Butler. I am thankful and impressed that COPHS continues to invest in the future of graduate students and research. That is most recently evidenced by the new research laboratory facilities. These new and modern laboratory facilities provide both the faculty and students with important training and learning opportunities, and open the horizon for an expansion of the research and graduate programs at Butler. A successful career never reaches the end of learning. I am thankful to Butler University for the continuing role it plays in my career as a pharmaceutical scientist.

Most memorable experience(s) at Butler: My most important memories from Butler are the knowledge and experiences that I learned from dedicated professional educators particularly as it related to conducting research. Today, I can again see the impact that the faculty continues to have upon their students and how the educational experiences at Butler provide a depth of preparation that will carry the students many years into the future. It is memorable for me to be involved even if only in a small way as a part of this great institution of learning.

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