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John G. Wagner, professor of pharmacology in the Medical School and John G. Searle Professor of Pharmaceutics in the College of Pharmacy, will retire from active faculty status on June 30, 1991, after a distinguished career as an educator and scholar.

Born in Canada, he received his Phm.B. degree from the University of Toronto in 1947, and his B.S.P. and B.A. degrees from the University of Saskatchawan in 1948 and 1949, respectively. He was awarded the Ph.D. degree in 1952 and the D.Sc. degree honoris causa in 1980, both from The Ohio State University. Following a brief period on the faculty of The Ohio State University, Professor Wagner joined the Upjohn Company in 1953 as a research scientist. He remained there until 1968, when he joined the faculty of the University of Michigan as a professor of pharmacy. He was named to the Albert B. Prescott Professorship in 1982, and in 1986 was appointed professor of pharmacology in the Medical School and John G. Searle Professor of Pharmaceutics in the College of Pharmacy.

Professor Wagner is internationally recognized as a founding father of the scientific discipline of pharmacokinetics, and he continues to have a significant influence on its evolution. The awards that have been heaped upon him are testimony to the esteem in which Professor Wagner is held by the world scientific community.

A prolific scholar, Professor Wagner's books are credited with bringing the discipline of pharmacokinetics to the attention of scientists world-wide, resulting in a much more rational approach to drug therapy. Whereas 25 years ago, drugs were administered in a very empirical and arbitrary fashion, today, in the treatment of acute illnesses, it is very common to establish the dosage regimen for an individual patient by monitoring blood levels, and the expressions "peak" and "trough" in reference to drug concentration in the body are now commonly heard in hospitals. This would not have been possible in the absence of the scientific basis established by pharmacokinetics.

The concept of "biological equivalency," as opposed to "chemical equivalency," can also be traced to Professor Wagner's efforts. Early on, he established that not all products containing digitoxin were biologically equivalent, even though they were chemically equivalent in form and concentration. This has resulted in the requirement for standards of bioequivalence and chemical equivalence by the Food and Drug Administration for all drug products manufactured and distributed in the United States.

The Michigan Alumnus

June 1, 1991

John Garnet Wagner