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Spring 2021 School News

The University at Buffalo announced the appointment of Gary Pollack, PhD ’84, as the 12th dean of the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, effective August 15, 2021. We are pleased to begin this new chapter of the school’s history under the leadership of Dean Pollack.

Dr. Pollack, who currently serves as dean and professor of the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Toledo, brings to this role extensive leadership experience, exceptional scholarly and teaching accomplishments, a collaborative approach to leadership, and an innovative and ambitious vision for the school.

Commencement 2021

The University at Buffalo School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences held its 2021 Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, May 15. The outdoor, limited capacity event took place on the UB North Campus. 156 degrees were conferred:

  • 118 Doctor of Pharmacy
  • 12 Bachelor of Science in Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • 16 Master of Science in Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • 10 Doctor of Philosophy in Pharmaceutical Sciences


Maya Chilbert.
Chilbert named SPPS Educator of the Year

Clinical Assistant Professor Maya Chilbert, PharmD '17, was named 2020-2021 SPPS Educator of the Year. Chilbert engages students with achievable, yet high expectations, and her students appreciated her one-on-one connection.

A team of researchers led by Dean James O’Donnell, PhD, and Xing Yu, PhD, are taking a big step in treating a genetic disorder closely linked to autism.

Campaign for the Community.
2020 UB Employees Campaign for the Community a success

The 2020 UB Employees Campaign for the Community, chaired by Dean James M. O'Donnell, PhD was great success, raising more than $684,000 and fostering an important sense of community, especially at a time when so many are in need.  

Watch the thank you video.

2021 Awards Ceremony

Our 2021 Awards Ceremony was held virtually on April 15, and was attended by more than 150 including faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends.

Award recipients recognized include these distinguished alumni award winners:

  • 2021 Willis G. Gregory Memorial Award
    Gayle Brazeau, PhD '89
  • 2020 Willis G. Gregory Memorial Award
    John Pieper, PharmD '79
  • 2021 Orville C. Baxter Memorial Professional Practice Award
    Martin Burruano, BS '86
  • 2020 Orville C. Baxter Memorial Professional Practice Award
    Andrew DiLuca, BS '81

View a full list of our 2021 award winners.

School Notes

  • SUNY Distinguished Professor William Jusko, BS '65, PhD '70, was profiled in The Pharmacologist for his pioneering efforts in the field of pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics (PK/PD).
  • Professor Sathy Balu-Iyer, PhD, received an investment from the Empire Discovery Institute to develop an immunotherapy platform that could improve treatment outcomes for patients receiving gene therapy for rare disease conditions such as hemophilia and Pompe disease.
  • SUNY Distinguished Professor Gene Morse, BS '80, PharmD '83, was featured in an article in The Buffalo News discussing how researchers in Western New York worked together to help the region--and the world--during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Clinical Associate Professor Nicole Paolini Albanese, PharmD, was commended by the ACCP Series Editors of the Ambulatory Care Self-Assessment Program for her outstanding contributions towards publication of the home-study series for ambulatory care pharmacists.
  • Clinical Assistant Professor Erin Slazak, PharmD ’04, has been elected Chair-elect of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) Self-Care/Nonprescription Medicine Special Interest Group (SIG).
  • Clinical Associate Professor Nicole Paolini Albanese, PharmD, and Associate Director of Admissions and Advisement Sara Robinson received Honorable Mentions for SPPS Educator of the Year.

New hires, promotions and retirements

  • Brenda Basile, PharmD '16, was hired as a Research Scientist in the Department of Pharmacy Practice on April 19, 2021.
  • Edward Russak, senior research scientist, pharmacy practice, retired on March 31, 2021.
  • Mary Lou Bodniak, research technician, pharmacy practice, retired on March 31, 2021.

Spring 2021 Student News

PharmD/MBA student Kathryn Gentz awarded WNY Prosperity Fellowship for a third time

Kathryn Gentz.

Photo: Buffalo Business First

Kathryn Gentz, PharmD/MBA '22, was chosen for the Western New York Prosperity Fellowship for the third time in a row. The Fellowship Program assists undergraduate and graduate students at UB and Canisius College who are actively preparing for careers that further economic development and growth in the Western New York area.

Gentz was also featured in a Buffalo Business First article about broadening her horizons in the field of pharmacy. In addition to working towards her PharmD/MBA degree, she became part of the WNY Prosperity Fellowship program, did a year’s graduate assistantship in UB’s Blackstone Launchpad powered by Techstars initiative, completed an internship at Circuit Clinical and is now employed at Praxis Communications as a clinical trial protocol analyst, blending the business and clinical side of healthcare.

Spring 2021 Alumni News

The School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, is partnering with the University at Buffalo, for a variety of free virtual alumni events June 1-6, 2021.

A Virtual Golden Reunion event for 50+ year classes is also being held on June 4, with a special breakout session for pharmacy alumni.

Alumni Notes

  • Pine Pharmaceuticals, owned by Alfonse Muto, Sr., BS '83, and Alfonse Muto, Jr., PharmD '08, broke ground on an $8.6 million, 50,000-square-foot expansion, with completion expected by January 2022. The new space will allow the company to bring more quality assurance and testing back in-house that are now outsourced, which should allow for greater oversight and cost savings.
  • Joseph Bertino, BS '78, received the 2021 ACCP Nathaniel T. Kwit Memorial Distinguished Service Award in recognition of his accomplishments in the field of clinical pharmacology.
  • Michelle Lewis, PharmD '04, was appointed to the New York State Board of Pharmacy.
  • Nabila Ismail, PharmD '19, joined Forbes magazine as a contributing writer. She is also the host of The GoodPharmacists Podcast, which highlights the unique skills, opportunities, and challenges of the profession.

In Memoriam

  • Allan Smith, BS '51
  • Milner Forster, BS '52
  • William John Hill, BS '53
  • Anthony Barone, BS '57
  • Carl Dobozin, BS '58
  • Roger Emblidge, BS '59

Upcoming Events


Thank you for reading our Spring 2021 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.

It has been a pleasure sharing our school’s successes with you these past seven-and-a-half years.

James M. O’Donnell, PhD
Dean and Professor