• YEAR: Third-year graduate student
  • MAJOR: Industrial and Physical Pharmacy
  • HOMETOWN: Bremen, Indiana

Chris Kulczar

What do you get when you combine a passion for medicine with a heart for the people of Africa? You get Chris Kulczar — a Purdue graduate student who's ready to use the knowledge he's gained in the classroom and in the lab to help improve the lives of families here in the U.S. and across the globe.

An easy choice

When it was time for Chris to choose a college, the choice was an easy one.

"My family is a big part of who I am and I wanted to stay in state and close to home," Chris says. "This, combined with my interest in pharmaceutical sciences, made Purdue a perfect fit for my studies."

A personal connection

When he was a student in high school, Chris lost his mother to melanoma. He says that devastating loss led to his interest in pharmaceutical manufacturing.

"Being around her during her treatment really opened my eyes and sparked my interest in the pharmaceutical sciences," Chris says. "Pharmaceutics is a large area with many different career paths and I'm one to want to work with my hands. Pharmaceutical formulation and manufacturing is one of the few places in the field where you get your hands dirty."

Helping hands

Chris says he enjoys working with the Sustainable Medicines in Africa program to help move Africa closer to self-sufficiency in the manufacture of medicines and the achievement of true independence.

"Getting proper medicine in Africa can be very difficult due to the high cost and high amount of counterfeiting," Chris says. "The hope is that by giving people knowledge and proper training, some of the issues can be mitigated."

Chris spent part of this past summer teaching a Purdue lab course in Tanzania, where he showed students how to use some of the equipment typically found in pharmaceutical manufacturing plants.

"It was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life," Chris says. "The people were very welcoming and the students were very thankful. I hope to continue helping with the program in the future."

For the kids

After graduation, Chris hopes to work in the pharmaceutical industry formulating new medicines.

"Our lab has a special interest in developing medicines that are more acceptable for use in pediatric patients as they are often overlooked by the pharmaceutical industry," Chris says. "Making a dosage form that is acceptable for a child to take is important."