World-renowned University professor dies at age 68

David J.W. Grant was well-known for his research in solid-state drug development.

by Elizabeth Giorgi

David J.W. Grant, endowed professor in the University department of pharmaceutics, died Dec. 9 at the age of 68.

Grant, a renowned researcher in his field, is remembered by students and colleagues as a passionate leader.

“(Grant) was definitely one of the best professors I have ever had,” said pharmaceutical student Mark Abdel. “He was attentive, intelligent and he taught the material so that every student understood.”

Abdel said Grant was a favorite professor among students in the department of pharmaceutics. He was known for making an effort to be sure all his students succeeded.

Grant’s attentive teaching style led many of his current and former students to attend his funeral, said Ronald Siegel, head of the pharmaceutics department.

Grant was well-known throughout the world for his research in solid-state drug development and was awarded the 2004 Dale E. Wurster Research Award in Pharmaceutics from the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists. The award is one of the highest recognitions in the field, Siegel said.

“Due to his work, there have been significant advances in the way people take drugs in terms of clarity,” he said.

Siegel said Grant was the founder of the Drug Delivery Center at the University. The center focuses on graduate education in research and design.

“(Grant) was regarded by many of the drug companies as the person to obtain for research,” he said.

Raj Sury, a University professor, was a student of Grant’s and upon graduation began working with Grant as a professor at the University.

Sury said Grant put a “phenomenal amount of effort” into his work to be sure that his research was done well. He was thoughtful in all aspects of the research process and was a very clear writer, he said.

Grant’s writing ability led to the publication of much of his research. His publications are world-renowned and respected in the pharmaceutical world, Sury said.

But Robert Busch, development director for the department of pharmaceutics, said Grant was known for more than his academic brilliance.

“He always had time for anyone he came into contact with,” Busch said.

A memorial fund will be established at the University in honor of Grant. The 21st Century Fellowship Initiative is taking donations from people interested in donating to various research projects.

Busch said the fund has received gifts from China and Europe in honor of Grant’s legacy.

The fund will be an investment in the permanent legacy that Grant had at the University, Busch said, and the University plans to match money donated to the fellowship.