Dr. James Kirk Drennen, III Named Interim Pharmacy Dean

Duquesne University has named longtime professor and administrator Dr. James Drennen interim dean of the School of Pharmacy. He will step in for Dean Dr. J. Douglas Bricker when he retires at the end of the spring 2020 semester.

Dr. James Kirk Drennen
Dr. James Kirk Drennen

“Dr. Drennen enjoys the enormous respect of his peers and the esteem of decades of graduates of the School of Pharmacy, and as such is a fine successor to Dean Bricker,” said Provost David Dausey. “His deep expertise and influence in his field, and his past record of service to the school will serve him well during this period of leadership.”

A 1985 graduate of Duquesne, Drennen first joined the school’s faculty in 1991. Currently an associate professor and associate dean of research and graduate programs, he has served as chair of medicinal chemistry and pharmaceutics, and held the Noble J. Dick Chair in Academic Leadership.

Drennen’s research focuses on developing methods to enhance pharmaceutical manufacturing efficiency and improving product quality. In this work, he pioneered the use of near-infrared spectroscopy to assess the quality of pharmaceuticals. Drennen and his team’s research led to industrial contracts and collaboration with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

In addition, Drennen served as Duquesne’s lead faculty representative for the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Technology and Education (NIPTE), an independent, nonprofit dedicated to fundamental research and education in pharmaceutical product development and manufacturing. He has coordinated efforts on behalf of the pharmacy school and NIPTE to provide critical, hands-on training for FDA reviewers and inspectors at Duquesne University.

Drennen co-founded and was founding director of the Duquesne University Center for Pharmaceutical Technology. He also was founding editor-in-chief of the Journal of Pharmaceutical Innovation for nearly 15 years, and he has held editorial positions for the Journal of Near-Infrared Spectroscopy. Drennen’s scholarly work includes more than 100 publications and numerous national and international presentations. His work at the University has earned Drennen a Duquesne President’s Distinguished Award for Excellence in Scholarship and faculty awards from the School of Pharmacy.

Besides his work at Duquesne University, Drennen is co-founder and partner of Strategic Process Control Technologies, LLC, a consultancy serving the pharmaceutical industry. He was named a leadership fellow for the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy in 2004, and a fellow of the Pharmaceutical Manufacturer’s Association in 1991.

Drennen has a B.S. in pharmacy from Duquesne and a Ph.D. in pharmaceutical sciences from the University of Kentucky.