Campus Life

Heard on Campus: Richard Silverman

Richard Silverman presented a talk entitled 'Drug Discovery: Ingenuity or Serendipity?' at the Penn State Forum on Dec. 1. Credit: Patrick Mansell / Penn StateCreative Commons

“We had a rational approach and we came up with something that was effective — it turns out it was effective for a different purpose. So I think now we can answer this question as to whether drug discovery is ingenuity or serendipity. (The word ‘Yes!’ appears on the screen.) And that’s the answer.”

-- Richard Silverman, has published more than 340 research articles, holds 62 domestic and foreign patents and has written five books. He is the inventor of Lyrica, a drug marketed by Pfizer since 2005 for epilepsy, neuropathic pain, and fibromyalgia and has completed a Phase I clinical trial of another drug for infantile spasms. At the Penn State Forum, held at the Penn Stater Dec. 2, he talked about how Lyrica and several other drug discoveries were made. In this case, his team was working to solve one problem and found a solution for another.

Launched in 1996, the Penn State Forum Speaker Series is designed to introduce the University community to noted leaders and policy makers in their respective fields. Open to the public, tickets are $21 for each event and include a buffet lunch. For more information about the series and a complete list of future speakers, visit To read previous “Heard on Campus” features, visit

Last Updated December 04, 2015