UI College of Pharmacy Professor Dale Eric Wurster, BS, PhD, recently became president of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS).
Wurster is a professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Experimental Therapeutics (PSET) and was born into pharmacy and academia. His late father, Dale E. Wurster, was a dean and professor at the UI College of Pharmacy, and an accomplished pharmaceutical scientist who spent the majority of his career in teaching, research, and university administration.
The mission of AAPS is to advance the capacity of pharmaceutical scientists to develop products and therapies that improve global health. As its president, Wurster will lead improvements in the profession and inspire others to do the same.
“For Professor Wurster, being elected to AAPS president is a reflection of his enduring commitment to the advancement of research and education in the pharmaceutical sciences, and of his dedication to advancing the development and manufacture of pharmaceuticals,” said Robert Kerns, chair of PSET. “He is nationally and internationally recognized for his outstanding scholarship in physical pharmacy and in the pharmaceutical sciences, and for his leadership in pharmaceutical technology, manufacturing and education,” Kerns added.
Wurster—the first UI College of Pharmacy representative to serve on the AAPS board—was one of AAPS’ original members when it was established in 1986 and has stayed involved ever since. He has chaired both the association’s Publications Committee and Fellows Committee. In 1998, he was made an AAPS Fellow, and in 2009 he received the organization’s Research Achievement Award in Manufacturing Science and Engineering.
The many accolades Wurster has received throughout his career, however, were not limited to AAPS. In 2015, he was a Distinguished Pharmacy Alumni Awardee from Purdue University. In 2017, he received the Ralph Shangraw Memorial Prize from the International Pharmaceutical Excipients Council Foundation. This fall, he was awarded the David J.W. Grant National Institute for Pharmaceutical Technology and Education (NIPTE) Distinguished Scholar Award in Basic Pharmaceutics.
Wurster has served as a member of several other national committees, including Faculty Committee Chair of NIPTE, United States Pharmacopeia (23 years), and the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (36 years). He has held various teaching and administrative roles at the UI College of Pharmacy and spent 13 years at the Graduate College serving as the senior associate dean; in that role, he oversaw matters related to academic affairs for more than 5,000 graduate students and 100 programs.
Wurster earned a Bachelor of Science in chemistry from the University of Wisconsin and Doctor of Philosophy in physical pharmacy from Purdue University. His career began as an assistant professor at the University of North Carolina.
Wurster’s research at the UI College of Pharmacy has focused on three main areas: the physics of tablet compression, adsorption and desorption thermodynamics, and micellar catalysis. This research led to scientific studies involving: solution calorimetry, compression calorimetry, analytical applications of Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), and surface characterization by X-Ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS).
He is the author or co-author of over 200 peer-reviewed abstracts and research articles and has served as major professor for over 30 PhD graduates.
Wurster is honored to serve as AAPS president-elect, president, and past president. As president, he hopes to expand the association’s global reach. It’s annual meeting— AAPS PharmSci 360—has drawn pharmaceutical scientists from around the world, but Wurster hopes to expand international involvement beyond the annual meeting by recruiting and hopefully increasing international AAPS memberships. “With more and more pharmaceutical science jobs moving abroad, it’s increasingly important for AAPS to establish an international presence,” says Wurster.
He added that AAPS has been his primary scientific organization throughout his career. “AAPS was so important to my career and to launching careers for my graduate students,” Wurster said. “I am pleased to give back to the organization in such a substantial way.”