Faculty Spotlight: Launa Lynch, PhD

Dr. Launa Lynch serves as Associate Professor of Pharmacology at the Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Dr. Lynch comes to ICOM from South University School of Pharmacy where she was an Associate Professor. She received a Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Sciences with an emphasis in cancer pharmacology as well as her B.S. and M.S. in Chemistry from Idaho State University. Dr. Lynch completed postdoctoral work at Dartmouth College and the University of Minnesota in lung cancer research. Her research has focused on the scholarship of teaching and her current research interest is in developing safe and effective step-down nicotine cartridges for use in electronic delivery devices for smoking cessation. 

Born and raised in Pocatello, Dr. Lynch is excited to return to her home state of Idaho. She is proud to bring her nine years of experience in teaching pharmacology to pharmacy, anesthesiologist assistant, and nursing students to Idaho’s first medical school.

Q: What inspired you to work in pharmacology?

A: I was fascinated to learn that everything around us is made of atoms.  How can these tiny building blocks create so many different materials? I wanted to know everything about atoms and this led to my interest in the field of chemistry. I became a chemist and worked on a masters degree in organic synthetic chemistry. I wanted to use my organic synthetic skills to create new drug treatments. I began a doctoral program in pharmaceutical sciences which allowed me to use medicinal chemistry and pharmacology to study oncology diseases. I used the skills from both fields to work toward creating a treatment for the brain tumor, glioblastoma multiforme.

Q: Why did you decide to work for ICOM?

A: I was excited to have the opportunity to come back to my home state and be part of the founding team to create the first medical school in Idaho. The people that work here are wonderful, caring individuals that work hard toward the goal of educating the next generation of osteopathic physicians. I enjoy working for academic institutions that value teaching, active learning, and collaboration among faculty.

Q: You’ve been involved in several research projects. Which one is your most memorable and why?

A: The majority of my bench research has been in the area of oncology and it is hard to pick just one. I have been studying molecular targets in brain, breast and lung cancer to inhibit tumor growth. I have discovered that each type of cancer has different gene mutations that it acquires to develop into a tumor. Determining which gene mutation is specific to the cancer type that I was researching was important for creating a new biological anti-cancer agent.

Q: What is the best part of your job?

A: The people at ICOM are the most dedicated, welcoming, hardworking folks you will ever meet. It is a joy to collaborate with the faculty and staff to create an institution dedicated to the education of the next generation of osteopathic physicians. It is meaningful to work with the hardworking student-doctors who are passionate about gaining the knowledge to become an outstanding physician.

Q: What advice do you have for ICOM’s student doctors as they prepare to become physicians?

A: Patients rely on your knowledge base and, at some point, your patient will come to you vulnerable and you can send them out stronger and wiser.  It is important to remember this profession is a network of really smart, caring, committed professional healthcare workers. Be humble and treat people well.

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