GPEN Conference provides global perspective

KU pharmacy researchers joined colleagues from around the world in Singapore for the 12th meeting of the Globalization of Pharmaceutics Education Network (GPEN) September 26–29 at the National University of Singapore.

GPEN was founded by University of Kansas School of Pharmacy Distinguished Professor Emeritus Ron Borchardt in 1996. Then the chair of the KU Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Borchardt reached out to his peers in Europe and Asia with the idea of establishing an international organization that would bring together students and postdoctoral fellows from their universities and expose them to science and cultural on an international level.

Twenty-two years later, seven graduate students from the Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry made the trip halfway around the world to make connections that could help shape their careers for years to come.

School of Pharmacy Dean Ken Audus, Distinguished Professor Teruna Siahaan, Distinguished Professor Michael Hageman, and Distinguished Professor and Pharmaceutical Chemistry Department Chair Christian Schöneich also attended the biennial meeting, where they taught short courses to students from around the world.

When GPEN was founded in 1996, Audus was a professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry. The first year, the organization included members from ten universities in nine countries, including the United States, Sweden, Germany, Switzerland, Denmark, Belgium, Finland, Israel and Japan. Membership now spans 52 universities and five continents.

As GPEN continues to grow, so do the opportunities for those students who attend.

“A global perspective is essential for researchers who want to be a part of the worldwide advancements in pharmaceutical research,” Audus said. “The opportunity to meet and learn from our peers in other parts of the world makes us better researchers.”