Pharmacy professor honored with inaugural Global Engagement Faculty Award

The Office of Global Engagement is pleased to announce that Brian T. Murphy, a professor in the UIC Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences within the College of Pharmacy, is the winner of the inaugural Global Engagement Faculty Award.

The award recognizes and celebrates faculty who have made outstanding contributions to UIC’s global engagement in support of UIC’s internationalization vision “to serve the citizens of Chicago and the world by being an international leader in research, scholarship and innovation, and by creating a globally connected campus community which supports faculty, staff and students as they address the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century.”

The selection committee recognized that Murphy’s internationalization efforts reflected a commitment to these enterprises well beyond what would be expected of a faculty member’s teaching, research and scholarship. Murphy’s scholarship includes 19 international co-authored publications, 12 research seminars abroad and several major international grants. Through his research and scholarship, he has made significant contributions to the global engagement of his department, college and UIC.

In addition, Murphy developed a crucial ongoing research partnership with the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology, hosted visiting scholars from the University of Iceland and Seoul National University, and supervised a large number of international students and postdoctoral fellows. These contributions have had and will continue to have a lasting impact through ongoing international collaborative research and the mentoring of scholars.

When he arrived at UIC, Doel Soejarto encouraged Murphy to collaborate with a prospective new partner in Vietnam. Murphy traveled to Vietnam in 2011 and from these initial encounters, he developed a strong partnership, supported initially by a small seed grant from UIC and, later, an NIH grant that supports what has become a collaboration based on infrastructure capacity building and drug discovery. Seed grants for international faculty research are critical, Murphy states, to building more international partnerships and increasing UIC’s global engagement.

When asked about his most memorable experiences abroad, Murphy mentions his visit to Vịnh Mốc, an underground Vietnamese village that was built during 1965-67 to protect the villagers from regular U.S. bombing.  With his own father having served in Vietnam, Murphy was tense when he sat down with villagers for a dinner. After a few minutes, these tensions evaporated as everyone realized they shared many of the same human concerns and experiences. In this instance and in others, breaking bread together is crucial to making international collaborations, Murphy states.

Murphy will be visiting his Vietnam partners this coming year after several years of travel restrictions due to the pandemic. He also hopes to renew his NIH grant and, working with Sanghyun Cho and Scott Franzblau (UIC Institute for Tuberculosis Research), to focus on building a regional TB screening and discovery center in Hanoi.

Murphy will receive the Global Engagement Faculty Award at the Faculty Awards Ceremony, which is scheduled for Oct. 26.

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