Adeboye Adejare: The Definitive Authority on Pharmaceutical Sciences

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Prof. Adeboye Adejare

Growing up in the city of Lagos between the ‘60s and ‘70s, Adejare had always thought of becoming a teacher, just like his parents. He was passionate about education and not only was he willing to acquire as much knowledge as he could but also keen to pass on same to as many people as possible. However, just what he was going to be teaching was not exactly clear to him as at then.

Fast-forward to some 60 years later, that aspiring youngster has become not just a distinguished professor at the world’s first standard school of pharmacy (the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, PCP) but also editor-in-chief of Remington, the most authoritative publication on the science and practice of Pharmacy globally.

Anyone familiar with Remington: The Science and Practice of Pharmacy can easily imagine what it would take to be its editor-in-chief, and what it means for Adejare to be the first black person to assume the prestigious position.  First published in 1886 as The Practice of Pharmacy by the renowned Prof. J. P. Remington, the publication has become the definitive encyclopaedia for all aspects of the science and practice of pharmacy and is used for pharmaceutics, therapeutics, and pharmacy practice courses. Interestingly, the Remington edited by Adejare is a special bicentennial edition, meant to celebrate 200 years since the founding of PCP in 1821.

Adeboye Adejare is a celebrated professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences, with special interests in drug discovery and targeting, mechanisms of neurodegeneration (as observed in Alzheimer’s and similar diseases), the chemistry of fluoroaromatic compounds, and pharmaceutical profiling. A prolific and consummate researcher, he has, over the course of his extensive career, been the principal investigator on more than 30 grant and contract awards from the National Institutes of Health, as well as other government agencies and pharmaceutical companies. These efforts have resulted in over 50 publications, five patents and over 100 presentations at national and international conferences. Several of his students have received graduate degrees (MSc. and Ph.D) and are employed in academia and the pharmaceutical industry. He has also served as mentor to several postdoctoral associates, MacArthur and Fulbright Fellows, as well as visiting faculty members.

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Pathway to prominence

Adejare had his elementary and secondary education in Lagos State. Thereafter, he sought admission into higher institutions in Nigeria and the United States. He was accepted to Bard College at Simon’s Rock in Massachusetts, for an associate’s degree programme, and he decided to take the offer. He was at the college between 1975 and 1977.

By the end of his two-year programme at Bard, he had decided to study Chemistry. He thus enrolled in the undergraduate Chemistry programme at the University of Iowa.  Upon graduation, he immediately went for his master’s degree in Chemistry in the same institution and completed it in 1980.

Within the course of his undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, Adejare’s interests had increasingly tilted towards Pharmacy and Medicinal Chemistry, but not in the conventional way. According to him, “I was not interested in seeing one patient at a time or giving drugs to one patient at a time. I wanted to be involved in discovering new medicines that thousands of people around the world would be taking. One way to get that done was through Medicinal Chemistry.” With his career path decided, Adejare enrolled for his PhD programme in Medicinal Chemistry at Ohio State University (OSU). He was outstanding in his research efforts, such that towards the end of the programme in 1985, he received a Fellowship at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and was also offered a postdoctoral position that summer at OSU.

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It was during his time as an assistant lecturer at OSU that Adejare realised that people were living longer and diseases associated with aging were going to be a major issue in the years to come. “That was probably where I needed to go – to put my tent,” he said. From then on, he centred his research on the areas of design and syntheses of small organic molecules to probe neurodegeneration, particularly Alzheimer’s disease.

After his stint at Ohio, Adejare spent several years as a Fellow at NIH. Thereafter, his teaching and research career took him to the University of Missouri-Kansas City and Idaho State University. He joined the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy (now part of the University the Sciences), Philadelphia, in 2003, and since then, his research outputs have been exponential.

Over the years, Adejare has also extended his research to the anti-cancer field. In 2010, clinicians at the University of Pennsylvania discovered compounds that act as radiosensitizers, agents that make cells more sensitive to radiation. They however could not do much with their discovery and Adejare’s assistance was solicited. As he would later explain, “They were great clinicians but did not know much about how to optimise the compound – how to do something to it that might have led to novel compounds and possibly drugs, as well as to a patent.”

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Adejare studied the compound and helped to develop new ones that can be of use in radiation therapy for cancer patients – thereby improving the efficacy of the therapy and giving radiologists more flexibility with how much radiation to use on their patients. He has increasingly become a specialist in the anti-cancer arena, writing several publications and producing a patent.

Awards and recognitions

Adejare was the recipient of the highly-competitive 2014 Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Programme (CADFP) – an initiative of the Institute of International Education that encourages African-born researchers in the United States and Canada to share their acquired research skills with colleagues in African universities through collaborative work. Within the period of the Fellowship, Adejare worked with Prof. (Mrs) Chinedum Babalola, who was then dean of the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Ibadan.  The two accomplished scholars spent the period exploring drug discovery, analysis, and development.  Adejare also seized the opportunity to give several lectures, while collaborating on many other initiatives.

In February 2015, University of the Sciences honoured Adejare with the 2015 Founders’ Day Faculty Award of Merit, during the university’s 194th Founders’ Day ceremony. On that occasion, Dr Heidi M. Anderson, former provost and vice president of academic affairs at USciences, described Adejare as “an accomplished researcher, who has been widely published and nationally respected. He truly exemplifies the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit of the USciences’ Founders.”

In 2019, Adejare again won the CADFP, which saw him returning to Nigeria to work with Prof. Gloria Ayoola of the Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, University of Lagos, to increase the research competitiveness of the pharmacy faculty and graduate students.

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