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Pharmaceutical sciences faculty honored with UB Exceptional Scholar Awards

Published July 7, 2017

Two faculty members at the University at Buffalo School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences have been selected to receive prestigious UB Exceptional Scholar Awards.

Sathy Balu-Iyer: Exceptional Scholar Award for Sustained Achievement

Sathy Balu-Iyer, professor, pharmaceutical sciences, has been selected as a 2017 recipient of the Exceptional Scholar Award for Sustained Achievement.

The Exceptional Scholar Award for Sustained Achievement was created by the University at Buffalo in 2002 to honor outstanding professional achievement that has been focused on a particular body of work over a number of years. This award was created to recognize an unprecedented accomplishment in a senior scholar's career, distinguishing a body of work of enduring importance that has gone beyond the norm in a particular field of study.

Balu-Iyer's research has been transformative, especially in the development of protein drugs. He has produced seminal research on taxol-lipid interactions, the foundational formulation for life-saving cancer drugs. His innovative work in lipid biochemistry has most recently expanded into the area of immune regulatory effects of phospholipids and has had a significant impact on science, having led to the design of strategies to reduce unwanted immune response to therapeutic use Factor VIII by inducing immunological tolerance.

His work at UB has resulted in eight patents filed and has an additional 20 disclosures or patent filings pending review. His innovative research has resulted in two companies being established to commercialize his intellectual property.  Over the course of his professional career, he has authored 74 peer-reviewed publications and serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences and was honored with their 2012 Top Reviewer Award.

He was recognized in 2010 as Inventor of the Year by the Niagara Frontier Intellectual Property Law Association; in 2012 with the Innovation in Biotechnology Award by the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS}; and was inducted as an AAPS Fellow in 2013 for recognition of his sustained contributions in the pharmaceutical sciences.

Balu-Iyer's research has received consistent NIH funding, securing multiple $1 million+ NIH grants as a principal investigator or co-investigator. His abilities to work as a successful collaborator has resulted in many requests to present at national and international meetings.

His service to the school and university is equally robust. He is the director of our core instrumentation lab, serves on many committees, has supervised PhD, MS, BS and PharmD students, and was recognized as our 2006 American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy Teacher of the Year and was the recipient of a 2011 University at Buffalo Teaching Innovation Award.

Juliane Nguyen: Exceptional Scholar Award for Young Investigators

Juliane Nguyen, assistant professor, pharmaceutical sciences, has been selected as a 2017 recipient of the Exceptional Scholar Award for Young Investigators.

Introduced in 2002, the University at Buffalo's Exceptional Scholar Award for Young Investigators celebrates a recent superior achievement of a scholar in his/her field of study. Such an achievement will have distinguished the recipient as an up-and-coming scholar, as well as earned the individual acclaim for his/her work, which could be a published work or other scholastic or artistic endeavor.

Nguyen's research focuses broadly on nanoparticle delivery systems to understand how biological extracellular vesicles (exosomes) can be developed as targeted drug delivery mechanisms.

Within her first three years at UB, she has brought forward unique contributions to the microRNA (miRNA) delivery field, synthesized and developed novel protein and lipid 'nanoplex' delivery carriers for miRNA, and obtained two NIH R21 grants to support her miRNA delivery work.

Prior to joining UB, Nguyen worked as a fellow in the prestigious lab of Dr. Francis Szoka, Departments of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences and Pharmaceutical Chemistry, UCSF. While in Dr. Szoka's lab, she developed the principles for her innovative research and discovery of zip code-like biomaterials, designated as RNA EXO-Codes, specifically sorted to exosomes and used as a biochemical toolkit for cellular sorting and trafficking decisions made by secreted vesicles.

Nguyen has been recognized for her research work by serving on review panels for both the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation. She has produced 24 publications, many appearing in high impact journals. She has received one patent and has another pending approval. She has also received two awards of distinction: the 2011 UCSF Biomedical Breakthrough Award, and the 2011 and 2013 German Research Fellowship Award.

She participates in numerous departmental and university wide committees and is an active mentor and advisor to departmental graduate students as well as students in her laboratory.

For over 130 years, the University at Buffalo School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences has continually been a leader in the education of pharmacists and pharmaceutical scientists, renowned for innovation in clinical practice and research. The school is accredited by the American Council of Pharmaceutical Education (ACPE) and ranked as one of the top 25 schools of pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences in the United States.

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