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College of Pharmacy

Faculty and Staff

Stephen J. Cutler, Ph.D.

Title: Dean
Department: Office of the Dean
College of Pharmacy
Phone: 803-777-4151
Office: College of Pharmacy
715 Sumter Street - CLS 109
Columbia, SC 29208
Stephen Cutler portrait


Ph.D.  Pharmacy, University of Georgia, 1989
B.S.  Chemistry, University of Georgia, 1984


Stephen J. Cutler, Ph.D., currently serves as the dean of the University of South Carolina College of Pharmacy after having served 1 year as the interim executive vice president for academic affairs and provost. Before that, he served as the dean and professor of the University of South Carolina College of Pharmacy for 5 years.

Dr. Cutler earned his B.S. degree in 1984 and his Ph.D. degree in 1989 from the University of Georgia. He has been a pharmacy educator for more than 30 years having served at the schools of pharmacy for Ohio Northern University, Mercer University, the University of Mississippi and the University of South Carolina.  During that time, he received 10 teaching awards and recognitions from various classes of students.  

Dr. Cutler is a broadly trained natural products medicinal chemist and behavioral pharmacologist whose research focuses on the isolation of natural products, design of new leads, synthesis of biological active derivatives, and the discovery and development of drugs to treat various disorders, including those of the central nervous system (CNS).  He is a world expert on plants acting on the CNS including marijuana and other psychotropic plants.

During his career, Dr. Cutler has received more than $40,000,000 from various federal agencies including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Science Foundation (NSF), Department of Defense (DoD), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).  He is the author or co-author of 50 patents (US and international), more than 100 peer-reviewed publications, 3 books, 21 book chapters, 40 published abstracts, and 201 scientific presentations. 

In 2022, Dr. Cutler was recognized with the James E. Wynn Memorial Award by the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy’s Chemistry Section, which recognizes members for gifted teaching, positive energy, honor, visionary academic skills, genuine caring for colleagues and strong mentoring for students.

Research Interests

Dr. Cutler is a natural products chemist whose research interests are focused on the isolation, biological evaluation and structural elucidation of bioactive secondary metabolites from nature, including the accession of fungi and plant that have unique properties. In addition, his work includes the design and synthesis of derivatives of the metabolites as ligands to serve as probes to investigate pharmacologic receptors. For 10 years, he served as the principal investigator of an NIH-COBRE center grant. Main objectives of his research are to develop new approaches and concepts to designing highly selective ligands. Most of his recent research activities have involved the isolation and structural elucidation of biologically active natural products that are selective for the cannabinoid and opioid receptor types. These studies have utilized both cloned receptors (developed in his laboratory) and animal studies as an aid to obtain insight into the recognition of ligands by these CNS and peripheral receptors. Past members of Dr. Cutler's research group are employed in various pharmaceutical companies, the NIH, the CDC, the FDA, and the USDA.

Awards & Honors

  • James E. Wynn Memorial Award, American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, Chemistry Section, 2022


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