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DMU alumnus returns to deliver annual pharmacy lecture

Alumni, staff and students from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU)’s Faculty of Health and Life Sciences attended an insightful lecture last week delivered by a graduate who travelled all the way from San Francisco.

Dr Stephen Farr, Chief Executive Officer and Director at Zogenix, Inc, returned to campus for the first time in over 30 years to feature as the guest speaker at the 2017 Annual Gunn and Carter Foundation Lecture.


The lecture was organised by the University's Gunn and Carter Foundation, which was created in 2009 in recognition of former lecturers Colin Gunn and Sidney Carter, who taught at the School of Pharmacy for over 30 years. 

Prior to the lecture, the Gunn and Carter Committee delivered a tour of the Hawthorn Building where Stephen once studied, before moving to the Hugh Aston Building where Stephen delivered an informative lecture to a crowded room, speaking about his career journey since graduating from DMU (then Leicester Polytechnic) in 1980.

Stephen was a tenured professor at the Welsh School of Pharmacy at Cardiff University before co-founding the US-based company Zogenix, which develops therapies for central nervous system (CNS) disorders. These therapies address specific clinical needs for people living with orphan diseases and other CNS disorders. 

The lecture outlined Stephen’s pharmaceutical research, including collaborating with physicists and engineers to find the most effective way to administer certain antibiotics. He also outlined the trials of different products, including the creation of an inhaler designed to enhance the amount of medication reaching the lungs, which was more effective than other inhalers on the market at the time.

Stephen told the audience that he wouldn’t have been able to complete his research and market these products without collaborative working. He praised the teaching he received during his time at DMU and spoke about how the skills he learnt here had taught him to take advantage of the relationships made through his academic and professional career, to not be afraid to ask questions and not to take ‘no’ for an answer. Current students who attended the lecture praised the advice given by Dr Farr.

We are now looking for guest speakers for the 2018 Gunn and Carter Foundation lecture - if you are interested in delivering this or know any fellow alumni who may be suitable for this; please email us at for more information.

Posted on Wednesday 12th April 2017

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