Skip to main
Skip to main
University-wide Navigation

Tidgewell and McLaurin

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 7, 2023) - The University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy proudly announces the addition of two esteemed researchers to its faculty: Kristen A. McLaurin, Ph.D., and Kevin Tidgewell, Ph.D. Their extensive expertise in fields such as behavioral neuroscience, substance use disorders, natural product discovery, and medicinal chemistry will significantly bolster the College's commitment to pioneering research and innovative education. 

Dr. Kristen McLaurin joins the University of Kentucky following an impressive academic journey. She acquired her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, complemented by a minor in Chemistry, at Winthrop University in 2014. Her academic path led her to the University of South Carolina, where she obtained her Master of Arts and Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology. Dr. McLaurin's research primarily investigates the neural mechanisms behind neurocognitive impairments arising from opioid use disorder and/or co-occurring HIV-1. Her numerous accolades include the Research Excellence by an Early-Career Investigator Award from Neuroimmune Pharmacology and Therapeutics and the Society for Neuroimmune Pharmacology. 

Dr. Kevin Tidgewell brings a diverse background in medicinal and natural product chemistry. He holds a Ph.D. in Medicinal and Natural Products Chemistry from the University of Iowa and completed postdoctoral fellowships at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UCSD, and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama. His lab focuses on discovering novel ligands from marine cyanobacteria for GPCR targets, addressing issues related to pain and addiction. An ongoing project on non-opioid analgesics in Dr. Tidgewell's lab highlights his commitment to finding innovative solutions for complex health issues. 

Dr. McLaurin expressed her enthusiasm for implementing novel neuroanatomical techniques to further our understanding of the impacts of opioid use disorder and HIV-1 on the mesocortical dopamine system. She highlighted the University's notable track record in groundbreaking substance use disorder research as a main attractor for joining the faculty. Both Dr. McLaurin and Dr. Tidgewell praised the University of Kentucky's rich research environment and the opportunities for collaborative work it presents. Dr. Tidgewell was greatly influenced to join the faculty due to the College’s emphasis on the integration of basic science, global health, and pharmacy education.  

"We are delighted to welcome Dr. McLaurin and Dr. Tidgewell to our faculty," stated Dr. Kip Guy, dean of the College. "Their comprehensive research experience in behavioral neuroscience and natural product discovery will significantly augment our research scope and educational offerings. We are excited for their contributions to expand our understanding and treatment of complex diseases, which aligns with our goal of improving patient care." 

Tidgewell and McLaurin’s appointments begin on July 1 and August 1, 2023, respectively.  

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $501 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.  

We wish to remember and honor those who inhabited this Commonwealth before the arrival of the Europeans. Briefly occupying these lands were the Osage, Wyndott tribe, and Miami peoples. The Adena and Hopewell peoples, who are recognized by the naming of the time period in which they resided here, were here more permanently. Some of their mounds remain in the Lexington area, including at UK’s Adena Park.

In more recent years, the Cherokee occupied southeast Kentucky, the Yuchi southwest Kentucky, the Chickasaw extreme western Kentucky and the Shawnee central Kentucky including what is now the city of Lexington. The Shawnee left when colonization pushed through the Appalachian Mountains. Lower Shawnee Town ceremonial grounds are still visible in Greenup County.

We honor the first inhabitants who were here, respect their culture, and acknowledge the presence of their descendants who are here today in all walks of life including fellow pharmacists and healthcare professionals.