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Steven D. Wyrick

by Susan J. Ainsworth
May 17, 2010 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 88, Issue 20

Steven D. Wyrick, 58, a retired professor of medicinal chemistry at the University of North Carolina’s School of Pharmacy, died on March 5 in Greensboro, N.C., after a two-decade-long struggle with Parkinson’s disease.

Wyrick received a B.S. in pharmacy in 1974 and a Ph.D. in medicinal chemistry in 1977, both from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. After postdoctoral training in medicinal chemistry, he joined the Chemistry & Life Sciences Group at Research Triangle Institute in 1978 as a research scientist, remaining there until 1982.

He then joined the faculty at the UNC School of Pharmacy as an assistant professor of medicinal chemistry and natural products. He became acting chair of the Division of Medicinal Chemistry & Natural Products in 1990 before becoming permanent chair. He retired in 2001 due to his declining health.

Wyrick is credited with nearly 100 research papers and patents. As part of his research, he studied the interaction of drugs with the dopamine D1 receptor, the primary mechanism for the actions of levodopa, a drug that acts against Parkinson’s disease.

He received the M. L. Jacobs Memorial Award for Excellence in Medicinal Chemistry and several awards for teaching from the UNC School of Pharmacy. He also received the university’s Nicolas Salgo Distinguished Teaching Award. He was a member of ACS for 26 years, beginning in 1975.

Wyrick was an accomplished musician and also enjoyed motorcycling, backpacking in the North Carolina mountains, and weight lifting.

He is survived by his father, Frank. His mother, Miriam, and brothers Ronald and Christopher predeceased him.


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