NJIT Offers New Degree Program In Pharmaceutical Engineering

NEWARK, March 19--Forty-five students are enrolled in pharmaceutical engineering courses offered as part of New Jersey Institute of Technology's (NJIT's) newest degree program - a master of science in pharmaceutical engineering.

Two courses are in session this semester and five courses in pharmaceutical engineering will be offered in the fall, says Piero M. Armenante, Ph.D., of Millington, distinguished professor of chemical engineering at NJIT and program director for the pharmaceutical degree program.

"We knew there was a need for this degree program in New Jersey," Armenante says, "but we were positively surprised by the immediate response we have gotten from both students and companies." Every day, prospective students inquire about the new degree program, Armenante says, and he expects enrollment to increase significantly in the fall. Company support through grants and other initiatives is also growing, he says.

Several corporations, for instance, have made donations to support the new degree program, including a $250,000 grant from the Schering-Plough Foundation. And even though the program was approved only in December, the first classes are up and running and students are happy.

Lisa Pantano, of Clifton, a senior pharmaceuticals engineer for Hoffmann-La Roche, is among the first group of M.S. candidates. At work, Pantano spends her days focusing on the production side of drugs, she says. In her pharmaceutical class, though, she's studying validation procedures - how researchers prove a drug's potency, as well as how a drug gets to market.

"It [the new degree program] is helping me round out my professional career and giving me insight into other aspects of the pharmaceutical industry," she says.

Pantano has an undergraduate degree in chemical engineering, so getting a degree in her field of work - pharmaceuticals - will also help her career, she says.

Another student enrolled in the new degree program, Kurt Romondt, of Union, agrees with Pantano. Romondt, who works as an associate engineer in process development for Schering-Plough Corporation, says the program is broadening his understanding of the pharmaceutical industry.

"It's a really good program," Romondt says. "The class I'm taking is giving me a wider view of the industry."

At work, Romondt, who has a bachelor's in chemical engineering, develops processes to mass-produce drugs. But at NJIT he's studying something different: how the Federal Drug Administration operates. He's also learning about "discovery," which is how a drug is first discovered and manufactured.

"The master's program is helping me get better overall insights of the industry," he says, "and it's also helping me identify areas of the pharmaceutical industry in which I might like to work." Armenante says there are not enough students in New Jersey to fill the pharmaceutical jobs in the state, where the headquarters of most of the largest pharmaceutical companies are located. And the pharmaceutical industry needs qualified engineers to bring new drugs to market.

"The pharmaceutical engineering program, "Armenante says, "aims to fill that gap. The objective of the program is to educate professionals and provide them with the skills required to work in the pharmaceutical field, with particular emphasis on the engineering aspects of drug development and manufacturing, as well as pharmaceutical production and operations."


NJIT is a public, scientific and technological research university enrolling more than 8,800 students. The university offers bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees to students in 80 degree programs throughout its six colleges: Newark College of Engineering, New Jersey School of Architecture, College of Science and Liberal Arts, School of Management, Albert Dorman Honors College and College of Computing Sciences. The division of continuing professional education offers adults eLearning, off campus degrees and short courses. Expertise and research initiatives include architecture and building science, applied mathematics, biomedical engineering, environmental engineering and science, information technology, manufacturing, materials, microelectronics, multimedia, telecommunications, transportation and solar astrophysics. Yahoo! Internet Life magazine cites NJIT as a "perennially most wired" university.

Contact Information:   Sheryl Weinstein
Robert Florida
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