Pharmacy Dean receives national research honor

Myron JacobsonBy Jan Jarvis

As a graduate student in the late 1960s, Myron Jacobson thought vitamin B3 was old news and hardly worth his time.

Never could he have envisioned that the inexpensive over-the-counter supplement would launch a career that includes 40 years of funded research, more than 170 published papers, 30-plus patents and three biotech businesses.

“This one vitamin became the basis for my whole career,” said Dr. Jacobson, Dean and Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences. “Our research has contributed to a whole new chapter of vitamin B3 research.”

But research, it turned out, was only one piece of Dr. Jacobson’s professional interests. He also was focused on education and was inspired to pursue a career that allowed him to do both.

In recognition of his outstanding accomplishments, the American Pharmacists Association Academy of Pharmaceutical Research and Science is awarding him the 2016 Research Achievement Award in March. The award honors scientists for their contributions to research and the advancement of patient care.

Dr. Jacobson said he is most proud of the opportunity to pursue his two great passions.

“I’ve been deep into education and research my whole career,” he said. “The past 24 years in both academic pharmacy education and research as a co-founder of a family of biotechnology companies have been the most enjoyable of my life.”

It’s a wonder he ever found the time for both.

In the 1970s he served on the faculty of the University of North Texas. In 1985, he joined the faculty at UNTHSC and served as chairman of Cell Biology and Anatomy from 1989 to 1992. He entered the world of pharmacy in 1992 at the University of Kentucky and later pursued research on skin cancer at the University of Arizona.

In 2011, Dr. Jacobson returned to UNTHSC to serve as founding Dean of the UNT System College of Pharmacy. It was an opportunity of a lifetime.

As Dean, he’s a passionate advocate for pharmacists and a strong supporter of the ever-expanding role they play on the health care team.

Throughout his career, he has worked with his scientific collaborator and spouse of 48 years, Dr. Elaine Jacobson, as they launched three successful biotech businesses.

Together their research has led to a better understanding of vitamin B3’s role in DNA repair, with general implications for cancer and for the building of the skin barrier.

Jacobson said he is grateful to be honored and acknowledged the role that colleagues, students and others have played in his success.

“I am really fortunate to have had the opportunity to pursue my passion for both education and research,” he said.

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