Remigius Agu, associate professor

A day in the life

Remigius Agu, associate professor

Pharmacy_Remi Agu_portrait_2_001 (2)

Working with students, helping patients through drug formulary recommendations, getting funding for my research—and good students to help with the research—all of it is rewarding.

Finding solutions to problems

Remigius Agu, associate professor with Dal's College of Pharmacy, originally wanted to study architecture. But his mother and aunt persuaded him to pursue pharmacy instead. Now, with a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy (BScPharm), two Masters of Science (one in Pharmacology and one in Pharmaceutics), a PhD, and six years of teaching at Dal under his belt, and Dr. Agu seems to have no regrets.

Studying pharmacy, he says, opens doors to plenty of career opportunities. “You can work in the pharmaceutical industry, in a regulatory agency, in academia…” he lists. “Even if you don’t want to teach or do research, you can always do something else with your degree.”

Teaching and research both play large roles in Dr. Agu’s own career. “My area of specialization is nasal drug delivery systems and screening methods,” he explains.

An undergraduate student, a graduate student, a Canadian Commonwealth Scholarship exchange graduate student, as well as a technician, work with Dr. Agu on his research. “All of them work on various projects funded through specific grants. We’re trying to look at different strategies for delivering drugs through the nose and lungs—drugs you can’t give conventionally or orally,” he says.

As for teaching, Dr. Agu is responsible for the pharmaceutics and biopharmaceutics components of five coursesDermatologicals, Topical Products (Eye and Ear), Respiratory Tract Complaints, Gastrointestinal Disorders, and Nutrition. He also teaches at the graduate level.

“In Dermatologicals, we look at local and systemic drug delivery via keratinized skin layers,” he says. “We go through the drug formulations, but it’s also about the drugs’ effects on the patient. And we look at proper storage of drugs and the best dosages to take.”

Dr. Agu’s courses include both lecture and problem-based learning (PBL) components. He gives an example of a PBL exercise: “A student asks a patient some questions and determines, for example, that the patient cannot swallow tablets. So the student then has to recommend an alternative dosage form, to address the patient’s condition.”

The PBL curriculum is sometimes challenging for students—at least initially. “I wouldn’t say they find it difficult, exactly,” Dr. Agu muses. “At the end of the day, they’ve learned a lot more than they would have otherwise.”

“But I always encourage questions,” Dr. Agu is quick to add. “I’m always there to verify the information they have.”