Professor’s emphasis on human gene therapy for prevention, control, treatment of disease
LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 25, 2012) — The University of Kentucky College of Engineering and College of Pharmacy announced today the appointment of Daniel W. Pack as the inaugural Ashland Inc. Chair in Chemical Engineering. Pack, who is currently professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, will hold appointments in both the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering and the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences. He will join UK Aug. 1.
“The establishment of the Ashland Inc. Chair provides the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering with an outstanding opportunity to strengthen and expand upon existing collaborative interactions with the College of Pharmacy,” said Doug Kalika, chair of the department. “Dr. Pack’s research in advanced drug delivery will be an excellent complement to the ongoing research activities of faculty in both units, and we look forward to Dan’s leadership in this regard.”
The Ashland Inc. Endowed Chair was established through a $1 million donation from Ashland Inc. that was matched by the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s Research Challenge Trust Fund. The Chair was established to facilitate interdisciplinary collaborations between the Colleges of Engineering and Pharmacy in the area of biopharmaceutical engineering.
“The UK College of Pharmacy is pleased that we were able to partner with our colleagues in the College of Engineering to bring an educator and researcher of Dr. Pack’s renown to our campus,” said Patrick McNamara, interim dean for the UK College of Pharmacy. “The College of Pharmacy has a long history of working with other disciplines at UK, and we hope that Dr. Pack’s interdisciplinary work will lead to more partnerships and opportunities across campus.”
Pack’s primary research focus is on the engineering of advanced drug delivery systems with an emphasis on human gene therapy for the prevention, control and treatment of disease. He has authored more than 60 papers and articles and is an inventor on seven patents, a number of which have been licensed and are currently under commercial development. During his tenure at Illinois, Pack has directed 15 Ph.D. students to completion and several of these individuals currently hold faculty positions in engineering and/or pharmaceutical sciences.
“This is an exciting moment for the UK College of Engineering,” said Thomas Lester, dean of the college. “I applaud Ashland for investing in the future of science and innovation at UK. I also look forward to Dr. Pack joining our team and bringing the creativity that has established him as one of the nation’s top scientific investigators.”
Pack graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 1990, and earned his doctorate, also in chemical engineering, from the California Institute of Technology in 1997. Following his tenure as a National Institutes of Health (NIH) postdoctoral fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1997-1998), Pack returned to the University of Illinois as assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, with subsequent promotions to the rank of associate professor (2005) and professor (2009). Among his many honors, Pack received the National Science Foundation CAREER Award in 2002, 3M Young Investigator Award, and numerous University of Illinois awards for excellence in teaching, advising and research.