Dr. Richard Thompson, assistant professor of chemistry at Tusculum College, has been named a recipient of the Appalachian College Association’s Faculty Fellowship Program, the longest running program of the ACA.
The Fellowship Endowment is supported by foundations, including the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the William Randolph Hearst Foundation and the McCune Foundation; member schools, and individual contributions.
Fellowships named in honor of Jean Ritchie, the late Wilma Dykeman Stokely and John B. Stephenson are awarded annually and policy requires that at least 75 percent of fellowship funds be given to faculty in the arts and sciences, as defined by the Carnegie Foundation.
Thompson’s fellowship will be used for developing an undergraduate research program for Tusculum students interested in chemistry. The proposed research will allow students to participate in a global effort to identify potential drug-like molecules for the treatment of neglected diseases.
According to Thompson, neglected diseases, such as malaria, AIDS and tuberculosis inflict our poorest populations and are often overlooked by large pharmaceutical companies. Students at Tusculum, under the mentorship of Thompson, will collaborate with other colleges around the world in this effort known as Distributed Drug Discovery, or D3. The D3 strategy originated with Professor William Scott at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) and has grown to include colleges globally.
Thompson received his Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and doctorate in organic chemistry from Syracuse University. He completed postdoctoral research as a National Institute of Health fellow at The Ohio State University.
After completing his academic training, Thompson was employed by Eli Lilly and Company where he was a member of the Discovery Chemistry Research and Technology division. While at Lilly he worked in many areas of drug discovery, including neuroscience, cardiovascular, cancer and infectious diseases. Thompson joined the faculty of Tusculum College in August 2011.
Thompson teaches general chemistry, organic chemistry, environmental chemistry and environmental science. His research interests include organic synthesis, methodology and medicinal chemistry.