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Winter 2020 School News

Brian Tsuji, professor of pharmacy practice and associate dean for clinical and translational sciences, is the principal investigator on a five-year $3.92 million R01 grant from the National Institutes of Health to continue his groundbreaking research to fight antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The grant, titled “Novel Strategies for Antibiotic Combinations to combat Gram-negative Superbugs,” is the second largest R01 NIH grant in the history of the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, the first being Tsuji’s 2014 $4.4 million grant to develop new dosing regimens for polymyxin antibiotics.

Denise Grisanti retired after 31 years of service at the UB School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. For more than 20 years, she assisted Karl Fiebelkorn, Senior Associate Dean for Student, Professional and Community Affairs.

School Notes

  • Congratulations to Sara Robinson, associate director of admissions and advisement, recipient of the 2020 Sarah Piraino Advising Award.
  • Congratulations to the Department of Pharmacy Practice 2019 Award winners:
    • Excellence in Teaching Award: Chris Daly, clinical assistant professor
    • Excellence in Research Award: Ashley Woodruff, clinical associate professor
    • Excellence in Service Award: Nick Fusco, clinical associate professor
    • Citizenship Award: Kal Desai, senior research scientist
    • Community Engagement Award: Gina Prescott, clinical associate professor
    • Staff Member of the Year Award: Julie Kopfer, program coordinator (posthumously)
  • Ed Bednarczyk, director, Center for Health Outcomes, Pharmacoinformatics and Epidemiology, represented the profession of pharmacy at The CBD Summit: A National Dialogue on Public Safety, Research and Policy, in Washington, D.C.
  • Javier Blanco, professor, pharmaceutical sciences, was co-author with recognized pediatric cardio-oncology leader Steven Lipshultz, MD, on a recently published article titled "Cardiovascular diseases in survivors of childhood cancer."
  • Murali Ramanathan, PhD, professor of pharmaceutical sciences, is co-author on a recent study by a team of University at Buffalo researchers that found a link between fats in the blood and problems with the arteries in people with multiple sclerosis.
  • Dhaval Shah, PhD, associate professor, pharmaceutical sciences, was featured in The Childhood Eye Cancer Trust Winter In Focus newsletter for his work on making novel drugs for treating eye cancer in children.

New hires, promotions and retirements

Winter 2020 Student News


Pharmacy Legislative Advocacy Invitational Day (PLAID) is an annual event that gives pharmacy students the opportunity to discuss new legislation that affects health care with area legislators. This year’s PLAID Day, held Monday, Dec. 2, welcomed Senator Michael Ranzenhofer and Senator Patrick Gallivan, along with Legislative Directors Rick Rodgers and Joseph Popiolkowski, to take part in conversations with over 120 first-year pharmacy students.

In the latest podcast from the UB Student College of Clinical Pharmacy, alumnus Robert Bennett (PharmD '18) discusses his experiences as a pharmacy resident. Bennett completed his first-year residency at the Lebanon VA Medical Center, and is currently a PGY-2 ambulatory care resident at Buffalo Medical Group.

Student Notes

  • Congratulations to the students honored at our Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences’ Annual Awards Banquet!
    • Van Anh Nguyen, Graduate Scholar Award
    • Vincent Clark, Outstanding MS/BS-MS Award
    • Nicholas Smith, Outstanding TA Award
    • Nhan Hanh Nguyen and Jin Niu, Barnett Fellowship Awards
  • Laurie Plewinski (PharmD '21) received a 2020 American Pharmacists Association (APhA) Student Leadership Award.

Winter 2020 Alumni News

2020 Alumni Reunion Weekend

Thursday, June 4 - Sunday, June 7

Celebrating the classes of 1960, 1965, 1970, 1975, 1980, 1985, 1990, 1995, 2000, 2005, 2010 and 2015

Click here for more details.

UB Pharmacy Alumni Association announces 2020 award winners

The University at Buffalo School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences is proud to announce the recipients of its 2020 alumni awards. The ceremony takes place April 7, 2020, at the Center for Tomorrow on UB’s North Campus.

John Pieper.

John Pieper, PharmD ’79, is the recipient of the 2020 Willis G. Gregory Memorial Award. The award is the most prestigious given by the school, honoring an outstanding alumnus who personifies the ideals of service, integrity and profession of pharmacy in the eyes of his colleagues. 

He is currently the president of St. Louis College of Pharmacy and a fellow of the American College of Clinical Pharmacy, the American Pharmacists Association and the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP). Pieper has more than 80 peer-reviewed research publications and approximately 100 published research abstracts in the areas of cardiovascular pharmacotherapy, pharmacokinetics and drug metabolism.


Andrew DiLuca, BS ‘81, is the recipient of the 2020 Orville C. Baxter Memorial Professional Practice Award. The award acknowledges leadership within the profession of pharmacy, career innovation and dedication to the school and students.

DiLuca is currently Senior Director of Pharmacy for Kaleida Health, where he oversees the pharmacy operations for the 950 bed, four-hospital system. He serves on numerous decision-making committees for the health system, including Pharmacy and Therapeutics, Electronic Medical Record Steering, Quality Leadership and Patient Safety Council, and the Medical/Dental Staff Executive Committee.

As a preceptor, he has helped implement hospital/health-system pharmacy rotations at Buffalo General Medical Center. DiLuca is also an SPPS adjunct assistant professor, a longtime Dean’s Alumni Ambassador, and serves on a number of school-based committees.

Dean's Alumni Ambassadors celebrate 10 years of service

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

Congratulations to the following Dean's Alumni Ambassadors, who have given ten years of service to the program:

  • Carol Gloff, BS '75
  • Joanne Brodfuehrer, BS '77
  • Gary Gonza, BS '80
  • Caroline Suczynski, PharmD '10

Alumni Notes

  • Andre Persaud (BS '82) was appointed Executive Vice President, Retail, for Rite Aid Corporation.
  • Geoffrey Brown (PharmD '18) was a featured panelist at UB's Blackstone LaunchPad Cannabis Industry Panel on Feb. 5.

In Memoriam

  • Melvin Brothman, BS '54
  • Peter Rocci, BS '65
  • Joseph Dunn, BS '75 & PhD '81
  • John Toscado, BS '75
  • David Blanchard, BS '86
  • Providence Morris, PharmD '88
  • Aaron Peng, PhD '11

Upcoming Events

Medication Errors 2020

Sunday, March 1, 2020

This lecture fulfills the NYS requirement of 3 hours of formal continuing education on strategies and techniques to reduce medication and prescription errors.

More information:

School Awards Ceremony

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Proudly recognizing outstanding faculty, staff, students, and alumni who, over the past year, have contributed significantly to the school's mission and the profession of pharmacy.

More information:

Buffalo Pharmacometrics Workshops

May 14-23, 2020

Expert faculty from the University at Buffalo Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences present a series of pharmacometrics workshops.

More information:

Alumni Reunion Weekend

June 4-7, 2020

Celebrating the classes of 1960, 1965, 1970, 1975, 1980, 1985, 1990, 1995, 2000, 2005, 2010 & 2015

More information:


Thank you for reading our Winter 2020 edition of Buffalo Pharmacy eNotes. Please stay in touch! Send us updates on your own personal and professional accomplishments by filling out our alumni update form.

Look for our next edition of eNotes later this spring.

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