Scholarship award honoring Dr. George Corcoran unveiled during Donors & Scholars event
The George Corcoran Endowed Student Award in Pharmaceutical Sciences was presented for the first time last week to WSU Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences graduate student Tiara Hinton, who is on track to earn her PhD in pharmaceutical sciences with a concentration in medicinal chemistry this December.
The scholarship was awarded during the college’s annual Donors & Scholars event on May 19, when Hinton had the opportunity to celebrate in person with Professor and Senior Advisor for College Research Initiatives George Corcoran and express gratitude to donors Bradley Wong and his wife Janice Busch. Wong and Busch are San Francisco pharmacokinetics consultants who established the award this year to honor Wong’s mentor and longtime friend.
“George had a big impact on my life and put me on a path to career success, so I wanted to honor him and his contributions to Wayne State,” Wong said. “Although I did not attend WSU, I have the highest regard for the faculty and graduates I’ve encountered from its pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences programs.”
Wong earned his PhD from the School of Pharmacy at the State University of New York at Buffalo when Corcoran was assistant professor of pharmaceutics there. In the early ’80s, the two worked shoulder to shoulder in Corcoran’s lab on a number of medically important projects, including research related to the prevention of deaths from acetaminophen overdose. Together, they broke ground and published papers at that era’s premier institution for pharmacokinetics, which is the study of what a body does to a drug.
Wong went on to become director of drug metabolism for Merck Research Laboratories for 14 years before moving to the West Coast to serve as executive director of preclinical pharmacokinetics for biotech leader Amgen for a decade. Since 2015, he has provided expert pharmacokinetic and drug metabolism services through his company, Wong DMPK Consulting. Corcoran has been cheering for him every step of the way.
“I am blown away to be honored by Brad, who is passionate about our field,” Corcoran said. “The research we did together with his classmates was interesting and dogma-challenging, and was the most important work my lab did. We were out there on the edge doing incredibly hard research, and that was acknowledged when Brad earned the highest recognition a graduate student could receive — the Buffalo Pharmaceutics Scholar Award — for excellence and sheer determination.”
Fittingly, the George Corcoran Endowed Student Award in Pharmaceutical Sciences will from this point forward be presented annually to full-time graduate students who are in good academic standing, with preference given to applicants who have mentored fellow students and have demonstrated a strong commitment to scholarship, leadership and team-orientation.
“This new scholarship is a tremendous tribute to all that George has accomplished during his career and his time at the Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, including his many years as pharmaceutical sciences chair,” said Dean Brian Cummings. “George has significantly impacted many through his service, including those who did not even work for him. His dedication to trainees and new researchers, especially those in the field of toxicology, is nationally recognized. I can personally attest to how he impacted my own career as trainee and when I was starting my first laboratory. His studies demonstrating the mechanisms of protection of n-acetylcysteine against acetaminophen-induced liver cell death were elegantly designed and changed the dogma about the role of DNA damage in determining the mechanism of cell death. Our college is grateful to Brad — who was an author on many of these studies — for his generosity, we are honored to have George as a key member of our faculty, and we are proud of Tiara for her high achievement in a challenging PhD program.
“This award is a testament to the past, present and future of pharmaceutical sciences, and I’m looking forward to presenting it to deserving students for years to come.”
If you are interested in helping to build the George Corcoran Endowed Student Award in Pharmaceutical Sciences, make a gift to the Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences and in the “Other designation or notes about gift” field, type “George Corcoran scholarship.”
Pharmaceutical Sciences is a multidisciplinary department providing expertise in the areas of drug discovery, development and evaluation, with a dedication to pursuing scholarship that creates new knowledge, learning that disseminates and preserves knowledge, and engagement that exchanges knowledge. Learn more about the department and its application process.
An anchor in urban health care
The Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences is built on more than 100 years of tradition and innovation in the heart of Detroit. We have grown deep roots in our city, harnessing its powerhouse hospital systems and community service organizations as vibrant, real-world training grounds for students, with an ongoing focus on social justice in health care. And our research at all levels – from undergraduates to veteran faculty members – translates into creative solutions for healthier communities.
Wayne State University is a premier urban research institution offering approximately 350 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to more than 25,000 students.