Lebegue quickly makes impact with patents, published work
Not many people have accomplished as much as Chloe Lebegue in such a short time.
Lebegue, who earned her Doctor of Pharmacy degree in 2020, already finds herself with patents for a new treatment and a sterilizing compound along with one paper published in a peer-reviewed journal and another pending publication.
She came to the University of South Carolina as an Honors College student. As an Honors student, she was required to research and write a senior thesis. Lebegue asked Michael Wyatt, professor and interim director of the Drug Discovery and Biomedical Sciences department, to serve as her thesis advisor.
“I remember when Chloe approached me with the research idea in 2016,” Wyatt says. “In my 20 years, I have had more than 100 enthusiastic students approach me, but this conversation was very different. She had clearly read about the topic much beyond what I had covered in class.”
Lebegue’s research focused on using bacteria to treat phenylketonuria, which causes an increased amount of phenylalanine in the bloodstream. It is a rare genetic condition that results in decreased metabolism for those affected with the disease.
Lebegue filed for a research patent in 2018, and it was granted in 2020. She also made several professional presentations as a student, including at the 2020 Pharmabiotics Industry Conference in Paris. She learned to speak French in preparation for her trip.
“The day we landed, I was standing outside the Eiffel Tower and heard the news that the pandemic had been declared,” she says. “Fortunately, I still was able to present my research and then quarantined for 14 days when I got home.”
I encourage everyone to pursue your passion. When you are doing something that you see value in, it doesn’t feel like work.
Chloe Lebegue, Pharm.D. Prisma Health–Upstate
During an academic rotation with Wyatt, they collaborated on an article, “Microbes as Drugs: The Potential of Pharmabiotics,” which was accepted to the peer-reviewed journal Pharmacotherapy.
In her fourth year, Lebegue worked as a pharmacy intern at Pharmacy Consolidation Services Center with Prisma Health–Upstate in Greenville, South Carolina. She was assigned a project to find a solution for the disinfectant shortage, resulting in the creation of a formulation that eventually supplied more than 300 health care facilities during the pandemic. She has since received a provisional coverage for a patent on that formula.
Lebegue is now the pharmacist in charge of compounding and repackaging at Prisma Health–Upstate.
“The patents were an idea that became a passion,” she says. “One thing has led to another, and I encourage everyone to pursue your passion. When you are doing something that you see value in, it doesn’t feel like work.”