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October 2016


University at Buffalo
School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
284 Kapoor Hall
Buffalo, NY 14214-8033

Message from the Dean

October 2016

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

We begin the 2016-17 academic year welcoming the Class of 2020 to the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences! We admitted 136 PharmD, 22 BS, five BS/MS, five MS/PharmD, seven MS and five PhD students who bring a bright and energetic dynamic with an eagerness to begin their course of study. We are pleased to have them join our SPPS family.

As a strong community partner, the school has always been at the forefront of working with local health care providers and legislators to ensure the health and well-being of those living in Western New York. This partnership has never been more important as we work collaboratively to address the rising opioid epidemic. Our lead story below details our initial efforts in organizing a systematized approach to combat opioid abuse through the proper disposal of medications in an effective and environmentally conscious way. This is just another example of how our students are given the opportunity to not only learn, but apply practical, community-based leadership in support of better health.

Please stay in touch. Send updates on your own personal and professional accomplishments to phm-alumni@buffalo.edu.

Best regards,
James M. O’Donnell, PhD
Dean and Professor

Top Stories

SPPS and Mallinckrodt partner to provide 20,000 drug disposal pouches to WNY community

Drug Disposal

UB pharmacy students Kelsey Violanti (left) and Lukas Brightman distributed 1,000 pouches on Aug. 6 at New York State Sen. Mike Ranzenhofer’s Family Health Fair.

To help families discard their old or unwanted medicine, the University at Buffalo School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences (SPPS) and Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals have partnered to distribute 20,000 Deterra Drug Deactivation Systems to the Western New York community.

With 30 seconds and a little warm water, the environmentally friendly pouches deactivate pills, patches or liquid medications, rendering them safe for landfills and easy to dispose.

SPPS is working with state leaders, regional pharmacists, community organizations and law enforcement to distribute the drug disposal pouches to the local community through its student-led safe drug disposal programs.

Technology developed by Balu-Iyer supports spinoff selected to present at University Startups Demo Day in D.C.

University at Buffalo spinoff ZOETIC Pharmaceuticals and UB technology licensee Garwood Medical Devices were among the first 18 companies nationwide selected to present at the prestigious University Startups Demo Day. The foundational technology, developed by Sathy Balu-Iyer, professor, pharmaceutical sciences, was instrumental in this process.  

The event, on Sept. 20 in Washington, D.C., brought together Fortune 500 and global 1000 companies, universities and entrepreneurs. It aimed to spur partnerships that lead to new and innovative technologies.

Alumni Reunion Weekend

Members of the Class of 1971

Members of the Class of 1971

We honored the classes of 1956, 1961, 1966, 1971, 1976, 1981, 1986, 1991, 1996, 2001, 2006 and 2011 at this year's alumni reunion. The weekend's events included a continuing education program on medicinal marijuana, tours of Kapoor Hall and a cocktail reception with class dinners at the Hotel Lafayette in downtown Buffalo. Thank you to all alumni who attended and special thanks to all those who assisted as class representatives in reaching out to classmates regarding reunion planning!

Class of 2020 White Coat Ceremony and Orientation

2016 White Coat Ceremony

136 PharmD students took their first public step toward becoming pharmacists at the University at Buffalo School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences Annual White Coat Ceremony.

The White Coat Ceremony symbolizes passage into the initial stages of the profession of pharmacy practice and represents a contract for excellence in providing compassionate patient care. The event also highlights the importance of scientific scholarship and emphasizes the highest principles of moral, ethical and legal conduct.

Michelle Rainka, '05, was the keynote speaker. She is a clinical pharmacist with the Dent Neurologic Institute Division of Neuropharmacology and is an adjunct instructor and preceptor for the school.

Students also attended a two-day orientation that included overviews of the school's departments, programs and facilities. Michelle Rainka, '05, Thomas Platek, '68, Kari Mergenhagen, '07, and Brian Olney, '01, participated in an alumni panel discussion about their careers in pharmacy. Students also had a chance to meet their faculty advisor at a Buffalove luncheon.

Thanks to our Orientation and White Coat Ceremony sponsors: Walgreens, Tops Friendly Markets, Rite Aid, Collegiate Village, Pharmacists Association of Western New York (PAWNY) and the Pharmacy Society of Rochester (PSR).

Student Notes

Interprofessional education initiative brings UB pharmacy and physical therapy together to reduce falls among WNY seniors


The University at Buffalo School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and the School of Public Health and Health Professions are collaborating to improve the health of local older adults through the new Interprofessional Falls Risk Reduction Program.

PharmD/MBA students featured in Buffalo Business Magazine

Buffalo Business

PharmD/MBA students Bisi Aiyelabowo, '17, Ishita Mehta, '17, and Laura Bielecki, '18, were featured in the Autumn 2016 issue of Buffalo Business, a magazine for alumni and friends of the UB School of Management.

The article, titled "Treating an Epidemic: A health care system in crisis," explores some of the major problems facing the American health care system. With the health care industry facing an uphill battle to curb costs and improve efficiency, the School of Management has strategically focused on changing this field with a robust and growing portfolio of programs and partnerships in health care management, including the PharmD/MBA.

SPPS partners with Middleport Family Health to offer influenza vaccines to UB community

The School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, in partnership with Middleport Family Health Center, offered a flu vaccination clinic for the entire UB community in Kapoor Hall on Oct. 6.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have identified vaccination as the “first and most important step” in protecting against the seasonal flu.

Fall fundraisers help those in need

Pharmaceutical sciences students hold fundraiser for ALS


On Oct. 10, BS students in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences held a fundraiser for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), more commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

Kathy Boje, associate dean for academic affairs and associate professor, pharmaceutical sciences, helped organize the event, which raised over $150. This was the first fundraiser of the year for the pharmaceutical sciences BS program.


LKS and SPGO hold disaster relief fundraiser for Hurricane Matthew victims


In response to the recent tragedies related to Hurricane Matthew, Lambda Kappa Sigma (LKS) and Student Pharmacists for Global Outreach (SPGO) joined together to hold a disaster relief fundraiser on Oct. 12.

With over 20 student volunteers and generous faculty support, students raised over $250. All donations will directly go towards Project HOPE as they continue their medical outreach in Haiti and other underserved areas of the world.

The event was planned and organized by student leaders Hao-Min Chang, '18, Cindy Wu, '18, Samantha Boyce, '18, Isabella Lee, '18, Julia Powers, '18, and Jennifer Aguilar, '19.

Project HOPE (Health Opportunities for People Everywhere) is an international organization that strives to improve local health systems by providing accessible resources to local communities in need, and to provide Health Loans to families for better health treatment opportunities.

SPSA Fall Networking Event

Fall Networking Event

On Sept. 22, the School of Pharmacy Student Association (SPSA) held its annual Fall Networking Event at the Hotel Lafayette. Over 100 students attended to speak with professional pharmacists from around Western New York.

Career Interview Day

Career Day

The school's annual Career Interview Day was held on Oct. 1 in Kapoor Hall. The event featured an open information session with pharmacy chains, drug companies, armed forces and professional organizations, followed by student interviews for internships and employment opportunities.

Companies and organizations participating included:

  • CVS Pharmacy
  • Independent Health
  • Kaleida Health (Residency Program)
  • Rite Aid
  • Roswell Park Cancer Institute
  • Tops Markets, LLC
  • UB School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences (Residency Program)
  • University of Rochester Medical Center (Residency Program)
  • US Army
  • Walgreens
  • Wegmans Food Markets
  • Western NY VA (Residency Program)

Student Career Interview Day is coordinated by the school's Office of Postgraduate Professional Education and Office of Student, Professional and Community Affairs.

Student recognitions

  • Pharmaceutical sciences PhD candidate Erik Hefti, '14, is the first author in a study accepted for publication in Human Mutation. It is a collaboration between the laboratory of Javier Blanco, associate professor, pharmaceutical sciences, and UB's Genomics and Bioinformics Core.
  • Megan O'Connor, '19, was elected as APhA-ASP's Region 1 Delegate at the APhA-ASP Midyear Regional Meeting in Springfield, MA. She will work with other regional officers on national policy initiatives, and coordinate the policy process for Region 1 in the fall.

Visit our all-new Student News feed for more information on what our students are up to!

Alumni Notes

Mullen is first fellow for UB Center for Integrated Global Biomedical Sciences

The University of the West Indies, Faculty of Medical Sciences and the University at Buffalo’s Center for Integrated Global Biomedical Sciences have established a Global Health and Implementation Research Fellowship. The first fellow is Tyler Mullen, '16.

Alumni Ambassadors Needed!

Our alumni play a valuable role in the recruitment, application and enrollment process by sharing their positive experiences and advice with prospective students.

Dean's Alumni Ambassadors interact with prospective students through activities including mentoring pre-pharmacy students, reviewing applications and interviewing, and representing UB SPPS at graduate fairs.

Pharmaceutical sciences alumni gathering

PHC alumni

Devoted alumni from the department of pharmaceutical sciences arranged their second annual social gathering near Philadelphia, PA, on July 27. Alumni from eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey were in attendance, along with William Jusko, '65 & '70, SUNY Distinguished Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences, and Donald Mager, '91, '00 & '02, professor, pharmaceutical sciences.

ASHP Midyear Alumni and Friends Reception

Please join us at the annual American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) Midyear Clinical Meeting for the University at Buffalo Alumni and Friends Reception. RSVPs are not needed.

Monday, Dec. 5, 2016
5:30 - 7:00 p.m.
MGM Grand, Las Vegas, NV

Alumni Recognitions

  • Thomas Platek, '68, presented at the fall SPPS Student Industry Pharmacists Organization (IPhO) meeting where he discussed his 45 year career path in a variety of positions including government service, academia, the pharmaceutical industry, and contract research organizations.
  • Edgar Liberman, '56, is an independent consultant for a number of long term care facilities in the Pittsford, NY area.
  • Melissa (Wheeler) Hudson, '98, is a clinical preceptor at the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy and the Sullivan University College of Pharmacy. She is the 2016 Preceptor of the Year at Sullivan University College of Pharmacy.

In Memoriam

Pierce Weinstein, '44

Robert Doran, '53

Roger Lapp, '57

Edwin Bernstein, '61

Carolyn (Rayment) Wilkinson, '76

James Dugas, '80

Robert Bromund, '89

Faculty and Staff Notes

Fiebelkorn featured in America's Pharmacist

Karl Fiebelkorn, '78, Senior Associate Dean for Student, Professional, and Community Affairs, was featured in the August 2016 issue of America's Pharmacist, the official magazine of the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA).

An excerpt from the article:

As a pharmacist and an educator, Karl Fiebelkorn has some basic concepts that he tries to instill in his pupils.

“I am trying to produce students who are leaders,” he says. “And when you produce students who are leaders, you produce pharmacists who are leaders. And those are the people who help lead and make the changes.”

Ceacareanu receives Visiting Professor Award

Alice Ceacareanu, assistant professor, pharmacy practice, received the Visiting Professor Award 2016 from the University of Bucharest, Romania. Under this award she will develop an academic forum on the topic "Personalized Treatment in Oncology" and lead an international group involving researchers from Romania, Greece, Russia and Germany to apply for a Horizon2020 Grant. This consortium will test for the first time pharmacists' ability to stratify the clinical care of individuals diagnosed with gastrointestinal malignancies based on existing treatments and comorbidities, genetic profile and demographic parameters.   

Mager receives ASCPT award

Donald Mager, '91, '00 & '02, professor, pharmaceutical sciences, received the 2017 Malle Jurima-Romate Mid-Career Leadership Award from the American Society for Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics (ASCPT). The Malle Jurima-Romet Mid-Career Leadership Award honors the legacy of Dr. Jurima-Romet by recognizing exceptional leadership and outstanding contributions to clinical pharmacology by a mid-career clinical pharmacologist and encourage continued leadership and future impactful scientific contributions to clinical pharmacology.

New UB grant helps small businesses grow

Five scientific companies have been awarded grants from the University at Buffalo through a new program designed to help small businesses expand their research capabilities by partnering with UB.

The grants—called the UB Small Business Innovation Awards (SBIA)—are designed to help link companies with UB, where they can access world-class scientists, engineers and facilities that can enhance small business research and development programs.

One of the firms benefitting from the new award is Intra-Cellular Therapies, a New York-based biopharmaceutical company developing PDE2 inhibitors for treatment of various central nervous system (CNS) and non-CNS disorders. The firm received a $348,094 SBIR grant from the National Institute of Mental Health and a $35,578 SBIA grant from UB. Intra-Cellular will work with James O'Donnell, dean of the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Faculty and Staff Recognitions

  • Chris Daly, '12, (above right) clinical assistant professor, pharmacy practice, was awarded the Pharmacists Association of Western New York (PAWNY) Young Pharmacist of the Year. PAWNY Executive Director Dennis Galluzzo, '76, (above left) presented Dr. Daly with the award.
  • Edward Bednarczyk, associate professor, pharmacy practice, was among the 19 area health care professionals of Polish descent who were honored by the Buffalo area General Pulaski Association at a dinner on Sept. 11.

New Hires and Promotions

  • Sarah DeMerle was hired as Staff Assistant, Resource Management, in August 2016.