Formulary Book Club: John Bamforth

John Bamforth, PhD, Director of the Eshelman Institute for Innovation has our September ’22 book recommendation

By Ryan McDaniel | Published September 16, 2022

Each month, the Formulary Book Club introduces a staff, student, faculty, or alumni of the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy and gets their recommendation for a great read.

This month, we meet John Bamforth, PhD, Director of the Eshelman Institute for Innovation. His Formulary Book Club recommendation is The Premonition: A Pandemic Story by Michael Lewis.

“From the author of The Big Short and Moneyball comes a Pandemic Story. The book tracks the emergence of COVID-19 in the earliest days, describing a self-identified group that called themselves the Wolverines who decided to help leaders in the US understand the pandemic was real. Lewis is a masterful writer who tells a gripping yarn. My highlight is the story of one scientist’s visit to [the US Department of Defense]. But you have to read it to learn more! I had to choose this one given all our work on READDI at the School. Just had the joy of having dinner with one of the Wolverines, Matt Hepburn, from the Office and Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) in the White House.”

John came to the Eshelman Institute after 29 years with Eli Lilly. Spending most of his career in commercial functions, he became recognized as a builder of global brands and leader of highly engaged teams. John’s passion outside work is his family; he has two children, Thomas and Rebecca, with his wife Sue. John and Sue founded the Ciara Arts and Science Foundation in 2017 which supports college scholarships for disadvantaged youth. John is a keen golfer and general sports geek. He loves to attend big sports events like the Masters, Ryder Cup, Super Bowl, and Rugby World Cup.

John and his team at the Eshelman Institute for Innovation provide grant funding and translational support to UNC faculty who are collaborating with scientists, health care providers and educators both inside and outside UNC-Chapel Hill, including academia, industry and foundations. In the past two years this work has led the Institute to launch several large initiatives on campus and beyond; READDI, a global public/private initiative to create antiviral therapeutics ahead of future pandemics, a Digital Health Venture Studio to provide financial and logistical startup support for impactful ideas in digital health, and the UNC Drug Discovery Initiative, a cross-campus collaboration to move therapeutic development further down the pipeline on campus, thus adding significantly more value to the assets. Read more about the Eshelman Institute for Innovation in their Annual Impact Report.