Dr Michael Myers - Pharmaceutical Pioneer and Thriller Author
UCC Chemistry graduate, Dr Michael Myers has spent more than 30 years in the drug delivery and speciality pharmaceutical sectors. After holding executive positions in companies such as Elan Corporation, Fuisz Technologies and Innocoll Inc, the U.S. based alum now heads up his own enterprise, Quoin Pharmaceuticals. The company develops products which address major unmet medical needs in America, including the opioid epidemic, the military veteran suicide rate and several chronic rare skin diseases. Dr Myers is also achieving recognition as an author, under the pen name Ford Murphy. His first novel, Taking the Town, is a fast-paced thriller featuring a heroic MMA fighter who sets out to protect a small Irish town against a violent criminal gang.
Course or subjects studied in UCC and year of graduation
BSc in Chemistry in 1983, PhD in Chemistry in 1987.
Best memory of UCC
I spent eight wonderful years at UCC, and I have a myriad of happy memories that I will always treasure. From my very early days, I remember the camaraderie of the old Reading Rooms where you could claim the same seat for the whole year and the only one likely to take it from you was the friendly dog who had taken up residence there. I remember the many protest marches we went on and the occupations of the Kampus Kitchen, though nowadays I have a hard job recalling what exactly we were complaining about! I can still recall how peaceful and calming it was to sit in the Quad on a Sunday morning as exam time started to roll around. Later, during my postgrad years, I remember how supportive and helpful everyone in the Chemistry department was. Finally, in my mind, I can still hear the many, many times in the middle of an afternoon, the broad Donegal accent of a now high ranking academic would exclaim from the door of my lab on the fourth floor of the Science Building, 'Myers, Myers, come on, we'll go for one.' One, indeed!
How has your time at UCC helped you to get where you are now?
I think the best lesson I learned from my time at UCC was to believe in myself and have confidence in my abilities. I know I didn't have that perspective when I first started in UCC as a seventeen-year-old but by the time I left eight years later, I looked at things very differently. The experience I gained at UCC really prepared me to take on the many and often daunting challenges that have led me to where I am today. Nowadays, I constantly tell young people to never underestimate the value of their own intellectual capital. My time at UCC certainly taught me not to underestimate mine.
What is your advice to current UCC students?
Other than the advice above, I would tell current UCC students to maximise the value of their time in college. I believe it is a truly unique environment where students get an academic, social and personal education. Take advantage of all three. Later, you'll be glad you did
What person or people at UCC had the most positive influence on you?
I had the very good fortune and privilege of encountering so many people across the whole college who had a positive influence on me. I do want to highlight my PhD supervisor, Professor Trevor Spalding, though. His gentle but firm guiding hand was pivotal to me successfully completing the research required to obtain my PhD. I know I took him on a complete rollercoaster at times during that period, but his calmness and patience were amazing. I will always be extremely grateful.
Were you involved in any Clubs or Societies?
Not as many as I should have, unfortunately. I played a fair amount of sport though, mainly soccer and squash. During my postgrad, I had four happy years playing soccer with the College Corinthians. Those were good days.