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Spring 2017

Message from the Dean

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Welcome to our spring edition of eNotes. For many of us across the country, spring, with its warmer temperatures and flowers in bloom, has not quite arrived, but the UB SPPS is in full spring semester mode. Our students are back from spring break, and faculty and staff are busy preparing for end of semester activities: recognition events, educational forums and other celebratory activities, culminating with commencement later this semester.

This edition of eNotes gives you many examples of the dynamic scholarly, research and service activities in which our faculty, staff, students and alumni are engaged. Their accomplishments are the reasons we celebrate the outstanding work of all members of our school.

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

Look for our next edition of eNotes in June.

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

Top Stories


The University at Buffalo has received a $1.8 million grant from the National Cancer Institute to test new strategies for improving the delivery of potent toxins to cancer cells. The study, “Catch and Release Immunotoxins: CAR-Bombs for Cancer,” is led by Joseph Balthasar, PhD, professor and associate dean for research in the UB School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Four dual degree students from the UB School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and the School of Management won first place at the 2017 Pharmacist Society of the State of New York (PSSNY) Business Plan Competition. PharmD/MBA class of 2017 students Laura Bielecki, Stacy Fredrick, Cassandra Nicolia and Olivia Dioguardi were presented with a challenging case: a pharmacy owner in Saratoga Springs was looking to sell his pharmacy. The team was tasked with offering a purchase price and analyzing how they would improve the struggling pharmacy.

14th Annual Student Scholarship Golf Tournament

Our 2017 Student Scholarship Golf Tournament takes place on Monday, June 12, at the Lockport Town and Country Club. Click here for more details.

The Global Virus Network recently announced the induction of the University at Buffalo as one of its newest Centers of Excellence, making it one of the world’s premier virology research centers. Gene Morse, '80 & '83, SUNY Distinguished Professor and professor of pharmacy practice, is leading these efforts on behalf of the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and the university.

The University at Buffalo School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences Office of Continuing Pharmacy Education, through a collaborative agreement with the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH), has created an Opioid Prescriber Training Program to help licensed prescribers within the state meet legislatively-mandated educational requirements.

The program, now available to all prescribers in New York, offers training in pain management, palliative care and addiction. The training is required by June 30 for prescribers with a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) number and medical residents prescribing under a facility DEA number.

Wayne Anderson, professor and dean emeritus of the University at Buffalo School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, has been selected as the 2017 recipient of the University at Buffalo Alumni Association Philip B. Wels Outstanding Service Award.

Student Notes

SPSA Spring Networking Event.

On March 9, 2017, the School of Pharmacy Student Association (SPSA) held its annual Spring Networking Event at the Foundry Suites in Buffalo. Over 50 students attended to speak with professional pharmacists from around Western New York and to create connections in the pharmacy field.

Scott Ferguson, BS '13, a PhD student in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, was elected co-chair of the Gordon Research Seminar on Extracellular Vesicles in 2018.

Olivia Campagne, PharmD, MS, was recognized in the Top Trainee Abstract Showcase at the Annual Meeting for American Society of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics (ASCPT) on March 15, 2017, during the opening session. The abstract was entitled "Tacrolimus Population Pharmacokinetics and CYP3A5 Genotypes in African American and Caucasian Renal Transplant Recipients.”

Maria Mintskovsky, '18, has been accepted into the Veteran's Administration Learning Opportunities Residency (VALOR) Program at the Syracuse VA Medical Center.

Nadia Mansouri, PharmD '18, Khyatiben Rana, PharmD '18, and Erik Hefti, PharmD, MS, PhD '17, collaborated with Javier Blanco, associate professor, pharmaceutical sciences, on an article in the Drug Metabolism Focus Group (DMFG) December 2016 newsletter titled "An Overview of Preemptive Pharmacogenetics."

The University at Buffalo School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences took part in several mission trips in Jan. 2017 to assist underserved populations.

Student recognitions

  • Over spring break, Student Pharmacists for Global Outreach (SPGO) had the opportunity to educate the underserved population at Pacific Garden Mission, a homeless shelter in Chicago that provides beds and food for up to 500 people daily. Students taught the residents about heart disease and diabetes.
  • SPPS organizations Lambda Kappa Sigma (LKS) and the Student Society of Health-systems Pharmacists (SSHP) hosted their annual Valentine's Day card event at the Women and Children's Hospital of Buffalo (WCHOB).
  • Members of the National Community Pharmacists Association Student Chapter at UB held a wellness clinic on cold and flu prevention tactics.

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

Alumni Notes


C.K. David Chu, PhD ’75, has been selected to receive the 2017 Willis G. Gregory Memorial Award. The award is the most prestigious given by the school, honoring an outstanding alumni who personifies the ideals of service, integrity and the profession of pharmacy in the eyes of his colleagues.

Chu is a Distinguished Research Professor Emeritus of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Sciences at the College of Pharmacy, University of Georgia. He obtained his PhD in medicinal chemistry from UB in 1975 under the mentorship of Professor Thomas Bardos.



Tricia Lee Wilkins, PharmD ’08, is the 2017 recipient of the Orville C. Baxter Memorial Professional Practice Award. The award recognizes an outstanding practicing alumni pharmacist who demonstrates high ideals of professionalism and whose practice demonstrates genuine concern for patients.

Wilkins is a pharmacy advisor and health information technology specialist working with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. She earned a doctor of pharmacy degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo and completed her Master’s and Doctor of Philosophy degrees at West Virginia University.

UB pharmacy alum presents Chu lecture

Lisa Benincosa, PhD ’93, delivered the 2017 David Chu Lecture “Evolution of Translational PK/PD: A Pharma Perspective" on March 7. She is vice president and global head of drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics and bioanalytical research and development for Roche Pharmaceutical Research and Early Development in Basel, Switzerland.

The David Chu Lectureship was established at UB in 2011 through the generosity of David and Jane Chu.

Lee C. Vermeulen, BS '90, is the recipient of the American Society for Health-Systems Pharmacists 2016 Donald E. Francke Medal. Established in 1971, the American Society for Health-Systems Pharmacists' (ASHP) Board of Directors’ Donald E. Francke Medal honors pharmacists who have made significant international contributions to advance pharmacy practice.

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.

Alumni Recognitions

  • Christopher Diehl, '12, Natalie Edbauer, '13, Kristen Fodero, '14, and Erik Hefti, '14, participated in a Pre-Pharmacy Club panel discussion on career paths in pharmacy.
  • Shannon Rudolph, '16, currently a PGY1 resident at UNC, received an Iowa Pharmacy Association Executive Fellowship position. The Executive Fellow works to expand IPA’s clinical initiatives, attend state and national pharmacy meetings, gain exposure to all aspects of association work, and provide insight and assistance to the association.

In Memoriam

Ralph T. Behling, '40
Francis J. Enzinna, '51
Leonard D. Gold, '52
Ronald H. Ginsberg, '58
Tom W. Hallifax, Jr., '58
Maurice VanSice, '61
Dawn A. Acquaviva, '67
Ellen M. Ottoway, '88

Faculty and Staff Notes


The University at Buffalo School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences has named SUNY Distinguished Professor Marilyn E. Morris as chair of the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences. Morris has been interim chair since early 2016 and assumed the position of chair as of March 1, 2017.

“We are lucky to have such a wonderful scientist and colleague, and a dedicated mentor to our students. I congratulate her on this advancement,” says James M. O’Donnell, dean, School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) Research and Education Foundation awarded $20,000 in funding to University at Buffalo School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences investigators to study pharmacy practice model advances through the 2015-2016 New Investigator Research Grant Program. Terry Dunn, clinical assistant professor, pharmacy practice, is new investigator on the study. Joseph Paladino, clinical professor, pharmacy practice, and director, clinical outcomes and pharmacoeconomics, is senior investigator on the study.

Dhaval Shah, PhD '10, has spent the past three years searching for the Holy Grail of medicine: a cure for cancer. He now leads cutting-edge research focused on protein therapeutics and the engineering of proteins for medical use.

Pamela Coniglio, Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experiences (IPPE) activities coordinator, was honored with the William R. Greiner Award at the 2016 University at Buffalo Employees Campaign for the Community Celebration. Mary Kruszynski, residency program coordinator, pharmacy practice, was also recognized for sharing her story to help promote the campaign’s impact.

Robert Wahler, '00, and Erin Slazak, '04, clinical assistant professors, pharmacy practice, led a team of second- and third-year PharmD students in A Matter of Balance: Managing Concerns About Falls, a program for senior citizens, on Thursday, March 9, at the Wellsville Country Club.

Faculty and Staff Recognitions

  • Javier Blanco, associate professor, pharmaceutical sciences, is the principal investigator on project titled “Epigenetic Regulation of FcRn Expression in Human Lung and its Role in the Disposition of Monoclonal Antibody Drugs," for which he received a $400,000 R21 award by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. He is also co-investigator with Denise Swiatek, clinical research pharmacist, pharmacy practice, on the study "Integrating Naltrexone Treatment, Alcoholics Anonymous Facilitation, and the OPRM1 Polymorphism in the Treatment of Alcohol Dependent Outpatients," which was recently awarded a $49,000 grant from UB's Clinical and Translational Science Institute.
  • A story on WKBW-TV reported on the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences' substantial assistance to an experiment being sent to the International Space Station, part of Oncolinx's 43North success. Dhaval Shah, '10, assistant professor, pharmaceutical sciences, discussed his lab's contributions to the experiment.
  • Pharmacy practice department chair and clinical associate professor Edward Bednarczyk spoke to People Magazine about the cardiovascular effects of cannabinoids.
  • Christine Stumm, registrar and associate director, office of admissions, and Cynthia Acara, staff assistant, office of admissions, were recipients of United University Professions Health Sciences Chapter Individual Development Awards. Stumm also received a Certificate of Recognition from the UB Professional Staff Senate.
  • Kathy Boje, associate dean for academic affairs, associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences, and AACP Academic Leadership Fellow, participated in a debate entitled "Enrollment in Turbulent Times. Must Aggressive Action Be Taken?" as part of INfluence 2017: The 2017 AACP INterim Meeting.
  • Robert Bies, associate professor, pharmaceutical sciences, received a $276,699 grant from the Department of Defense to study Understanding the Relative Contributions of and Critical Enzymes for the Three Pathways for Intracrine Metabolism of Testicular Androgens in Advanced Prostate Cancer.
  • Jun Qu, associate professor, pharmaceutical sciences, received a $150,000 grant from UCB Biopharma SPRL to study Novel methods for urine di-peptide biomarker. He also received a $75,000 grant from CH3 BioSystems LLC to study STTR - Drug Discovery Platform For Protein Arginine Methyltransferase Inhibitors.
  • Ying Xu, research assistant professor, pharmaceutical sciences, received a $111,770 grant from Tetra Discovery Partners to study SBIR - Phosphodiesterase-4B (PDE4B) Inhibitors for Psychiatric.
  • A story on WBFO reported a new UB study that examines the medical benefits of marijuana, and interviewed SUNY Distinguished Professor Gene Morse, director of the Center for Integrated Global Biomedical Sciences in the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. “It’s one thing to take the plant, extract it and see what’s in there,” he said. “It’s another thing to take that extract, make it into a medicine that someone is going to take orally and know that those same things are actually absorbed and get into your body. That part hasn’t really been well-studied.”
  • Karl Fiebelkorn, '78, senior associate dean for student, professional and community affairs, was featured in a USA Today investigative report on the opioid epidemic in upstate New York.

New Hires and Promotions

  • Marilyn E. Morris, SUNY Distinguished Professor, was appointed chair of the department of pharmaceutical sciences as of March 1, 2017.
  • Michael Syposs was hired as information systems assistant on Feb. 13, 2017.