by Jeff Samoray, Published January 31, 2013
At Eastern Michigan University, students have the opportunity to perform research alongside their faculty mentors. One professor is not only teaching his students research methods, he's also developing the next generation of biochemical scientists.
Jim Hoeschele, adjunct professor of chemistry at Eastern, is working with four to six students each semester on developing cancer-fighting drugs. His generous gift to the EMU Foundation has enabled the chemistry department to hire student research assistants and pay for lab equipment and routine lab expenses.
"Since the early 1970s, I've been involved in the design and synthesis of specific metal compounds to create anti-tumor drugs," says Hoeschele, who joined EMU in 2009 after teaching for 15 years at Michigan State University. He also worked as a senior research chemist at Parke-Davis. "I had very little time to do research at MSU. I loved teaching, but I wanted to resurrect my research and work with undergraduates. Eastern has enabled me to do that."
In the early 1970s, Hoeschele helped develop Cisplatin, a chemotherapeutic drug used to treat a wide variety of solid cancers and co-invented Carboplatin, a similar drug with fewer side effects. Today, Hoeschele and his student assistants continue to investigate metal-based compounds that could result in more effective cancer medications.
"It's important to support bright, young undergraduates who want to do important research," Hoeschele says. "Students learn about basic research tools and approaches and how to solve complex problems before they enter the marketplace. This kind of opportunity isn't available at every university. The students I work with pour themselves into the project so they get the most out of it. I wish more of these opportunities had been available when I was an undergraduate."
This story originally appeared in the 2012 Eastern Michigan University Foundation Annual Report.