My message for this year’s magazine was a challenging one to compose.
The year 2020 brought with it many complex issues and events: the COVID-19 pandemic, widespread social activism addressing racial injustice, and an election experience unlike any other. But, even in the face of these events, our collective human spirit and need to come together has sustained us and has sustained our school, allowing us to support each other and especially our students.
Also, difficult to address is my formal announcement of my departure as dean. Since joining the school in 2013, it has been my sincere privilege to help lead and guide the many impressive accomplishments of our faculty, staff and students. We are among the most elite schools of pharmacy in the country, and I am confident we will continue to excel in research and in the training of outstanding pharmacists and pharmaceutical scientists. I have enjoyed the opportunity to meet with many of you: our alumni, donors, friends and partners. Your dedicated support of UB made my job easier and more fulfilling. My sincere thanks to you and to our faculty, staff and students -- all have made this journey one I will look back upon fondly and never forget.
The stories in our 2021 Buffalo Pharmacy Magazine showcase the resiliency, creativity and strength of our pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences community. I am immensely proud of our collective efforts throughout this year and have no doubt we can address and solve any new challenges we may encounter. I hope you enjoy the stories and articles in the pages that follow -- they represent the best of us.
James M. O’Donnell, PhD
Professor and Dean
Last year, four faculty researchers in the UB School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences were awarded nearly $12 million in combined National Institutes of Health grant funding to advance novel therapies to combat several serious threats to human health including HIV, cancer, obesity and superbugs.
When the HIV-AIDS epidemic began to emerge in the 1980s, there were more questions than answers. What is it? How does it spread? Who is at risk? How do we treat this? Those same questions echoed as clinicians and researches scrambled to understand the COVID-19 pandemic that is sweeping across the United States and the world 40 years later.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, every educational institution across the country had to shift immediately to remote learning. This massive and unexpected change brought unique ripple effects to pharmacy schools: How do we continue to deliver clinical rotations, experiential learning, labs and other critical in-person aspects of our curriculum?
Members of the Class of 1981 are guiding present and future health care initiatives across Western New York hospital systems as the community continues to fight COVID-19.
In 2007, Kathryn (Jones) Seelman was a second-year PharmD student with a vision for her future. That vision eventually became a reality.
Mark Sinnett, PharmD '87, BS '83, plays a critical role in placing fourth year PharmD students from UB in residency positions at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx.
Newly Established David and Jane Chu Chair in Drug Discovery and Development
Joseph P. Balthasar PhD, professor of pharmaceutical sciences, is a world-renowned researcher working toward life-changing treatments for cancer, COVID-19 and other diseases. He is a “brilliant” researcher who has changed the field of protein therapeutics, according to James M. O’Donnell, PhD, professor and dean of the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.
And now, he is the newly named David and Jane Chu Chair in Drug Discovery and Development.
Grants secured by our faculty lay the framework for future important scientific discoveries. Our faculty's publications allow for the creation of new ideas to enhance education and evaluate new ideas. Combined, these scholarly pursuits support our mission to improve health through innovation and leadership in pharmacy education, clinical practice and research.