UAlberta grad announces new Pfizer fellowship for U of A Pharmacy students

Distinguished Alumni Award recipient Brian Corrigan (‘89 BSc Pharm, ‘96 PhD) is a recognized pioneer in his field. Today, the UAlberta grad proudly announced the newly established fellowship — the Pfizer Applied Clinical Pharmacology Program for U of A pharmacy students!

Brian Corrigan’s clinical pharmaceutical expertise took centre stage when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. His novel mathematical approach to predict drug concentrations and effects couldn’t have been more relevant.

Corrigan (’89 BSc Pharm, ’96 PhD) is a recognized pioneer in his field and serves as Pfizer’s global head of clinical pharmacology. His pharmaceutical models are routinely used to aid drug development — models he first began developing as a graduate student in the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Corrigan recognizes his humble beginnings and the importance of supporting student learning and advancing pharmacy education. A recipient of the 2021 Distinguished Alumni Award, he recently announced the newly established fellowship – the Pfizer Applied Clinical Pharmacology Program at the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Alberta. Another key partner in this program is Applied Pharmaceutical Innovation (API).

“As a proud alumnus of the University of Alberta, I am deeply honoured to be receiving this award,” said Corrigan. “Pfizer is equally proud to be supporting the establishment of the Applied Clinical Pharmacology Program at the University of Alberta to support students interested in the industry applications of pharmacokinetics with a focus on pharmacometrics and the role of pharmacology in the drug development process.”

The Pfizer Clinical Pharmacology Fellowship will provide funding to support one student per year for two years. The fellowship will enable students to develop and enhance their skills in the areas of pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics and model-based meta-analysis. A special learning focus will be placed on the role of pharmacometrics and clinical pharmacology in the drug development process. As part of the broader Applied Clinical Pharmacology Program the fellow will be engaged in industry projects and learn first hand from experts like those at Pfizer.

That’s the sort of first-hand involvement working on real-world industry projects that makes a difference for industries looking to deepen the talent pool in Alberta, says Andrew MacIsaac, CEO of API.

“There is a strong legacy of excellence at the U of A in the pharmaceutical sciences, and to have a collaboration like this speaks volumes to our ability to leverage that excellence tackling real word problems in the pharmaceutical industry,” says MacIsaac, whose organization has partnered with the U of A’s Li Ka Shing Applied Virology Institute to create the Canadian Critical Drug Initiative. API is working alongside the faculty and Pfizer to transform this fellowship into a multiyear program, he says.

“A lot has changed with the pandemic and the global pharmaceutical industry is now much more global. Teams in Alberta can now collaborate around the world as part of global companies like Pfizer much more effectively and programs like this will help ensure that we retain our talent and life science IP within the country.”

And that’s exactly the type of opportunities Pfizer is looking to create with this fellowship, says Corrigan. 

“As supporters of this program, we will be active participants by providing guest lecturers to the University, and fellowships for students to work with us at Pfizer,” says Corrigan. “Through this partnership, Pfizer, UAlberta and API will work together to harness the talent and potential that exists in Canada to help develop the next generation of leaders in clinical pharmacology.”

Corrigan and Pfizer are committed to advancing higher education and creating unique opportunities for students to build professional and collaborative relationships with industry members while still in school.

To support this, Corrigan along with his colleagues from Pfizer will be welcomed as guest lecturers in graduate courses by the faculty starting in March 2022. 

“The Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences remains at the forefront of educating students to lead real-world drug development and research thanks in large part to our industry partners’ dedication to building strong foundations of support for our students,” says Christine Hughes, interim dean of the faculty. “With opportunities and partnerships like these we continue to provide our students with enriched learning experiences leading to impactful and focused career paths.” 

Upcoming Events 

University of Alberta Alumni Awards
Dr. Brian Corrigan will be accepting his Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Alberta on Wednesday, March 16, 2022. We welcome everyone from our pharmacy community to attend and show their support.

Date: March 16, 2022

Time: Doors open at 6:30 p.m.; ceremony begins at 7 p.m.

Place: Winspear Centre
4 Sir Winston Churchill Square
Edmonton, AB

Attire: Business
Cost: Free
Tickets will be available at the check in tables in the lobby of the Winspear Centre.