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Hyde Family Foundations to Establish Distinguished Scholars Program


Creating new drugs and developing new treatments for human disease will be the focus of a new research scholarship program funded by the Hyde Family Foundations for the UTHSC Center for Drug Discovery in the College of Pharmacy.

Creating new drugs and developing new treatments for human disease will be the focus of a new research scholarship program funded by the Hyde Family Foundations for the University of Tennessee Health Science Center’s (UTHSC) Center for Drug Discovery in the UT College of Pharmacy.

Beginning July 2005, the newly established J.R. Hyde Distinguished Scholars Program will support research efforts for scientists charged with creating and developing new drugs, as well as educating and mentoring College of Pharmacy graduate students. The Hyde Family Foundations is providing $323,000 over three years for the first scholar.

“I strongly believe in establishing the infrastructure for bioscience initiatives and am convinced that this program, along with the biotechnology initiatives already underway at the Memphis Bioworks Foundation, will go a long way toward providing an outlet for future discoveries,” said J.R. (Pitt) Hyde, III.

Leaders at UTHSC anticipate that the Hyde Distinguished Scholars Program will be an important adjunct to support the recruitment of leading scholars in the pharmaceutical sciences.

“The excellence and scientific innovation that characterizes UTHSC’s College of Pharmacy is given even greater validation by the establishment of the Hyde Distinguished Scholars Program,” said UTHSC Chancellor William F. Owen, Jr., MD.

The Hyde Scholar will be chosen by an oversight committee that includes Duane Miller, PhD, the Van Vleet Professor and chair of the UTHSC Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences; Mitch Steiner, MD, the Soloway Chair of Excellence in Urology; Steve Bares, PhD, Bioworks Foundation executive director; Dick Gourley, PharmD, dean of the UT College of Pharmacy; and two other members to be determined.

“The committee will select an individual who already has a strong research program that would be complementary to the college’s research mission,” said Dean Gourley. “Specifically, the scientist and his or her team will research protein stabilization, imaging, high throughput chemistry and biological testing, and drug development. These are all areas that lead to the discovery of drug treatments and therapeutic agents. The Hyde Family Foundations’ support ensures that this drug discovery program will have a strong, solid start.”

Based on the National Institutes of Health career development awards program, it is expected that after three years of support from the Hyde Distinguished Scholars Program the scholar will have a funding base that will sustain the research.

Dr. Miller, one of the oversight committee members, will also serve as director for the Center for Drug Discovery. With 30 years of experience in drug discovery and development, he has five U.S. patents, four provisional drug patent applications filed, and significant experience working with the pharmaceutical industry. Dr. Miller has received substantial federal research funding for 30 years and has numerous ongoing collaborations with university faculty within and outside the UT community.

Hyde is founder of AutoZone, an auto parts chain, established in 1979, that today thrives throughout the country. He and his wife, Barbara, have contributed greatly to the city of Memphis through their involvement and support of organizations such as the Memphis Bioworks Foundation, National Civil Rights Museum, Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, Memphis Tomorrow, Ballet Memphis, Riverfront Development Corporation, and numerous efforts to address urban education in Memphis. They were also instrumental in leading the efforts to bring the NBA’s Grizzlies to Memphis, fulfilling the city’s long-time dream of having an NBA team.

The UT College of Pharmacy has consistently been ranked in the top twenty nationally by U.S. News and World Report. Plans are moving forward on a new $42.8 million building for the college, and it is scheduled for completion in 2008.