Chemistry concentration to tap natural products movement

out naturalprodsWestern Carolina University will launch a new master’s degree in chemistry this fall with a professional science concentration in natural products.

The new field of study capitalizes on the emerging natural products industry in Western North Carolina, which draws on native botanical extracts for all-natural beauty supplies and toiletries, health supplements, pharmaceuticals, medicine, cleaners, food products and more.

WCU hosted a half-day summit last month to launch the new master’s concentration and cultivate relationships with natural products businesses. 

“Feedback from the summit has been very positive, indicating a high degree of sustained interest in new natural products-based educational, research and economic development opportunities in Western North Carolina,” said Arthur Salido, WCU graduate program director for chemistry and physics.

The new chemistry concentration dovetails with WCU’s Millennial Initiative, aimed at developing the new millennial campus around the intersection of academia, innovation and industry. A panel discussion included representatives of bio-tech research and development players, natural products companies and small business resources.

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