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James O'Donnell: A Legacy of Leadership

James O'Donnell.

On August 15, 2021, James M. O’Donnell will step down as dean of the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, capping eight years of leadership.

During his tenure as dean, he has overseen many significant initiatives:

  • U.S. News & World Report ranking for the school jumped from 22 to 14
  • Launch of a master’s degree in pharmacometrics and personalized pharmacotherapy, and a one-of-its-kind masters degree in clinical and translational therapeutics
  • Creation of numerous micro-credential programs
  • Establishment of two endowed chairs
  • Development of a nationally-recognized interprofessional education program
  • Appointment of two SUNY Distinguished Professors and one UB Distinguished Professor
  • Collaborations formed with SUNY community colleges and other universities
  • Attracted world-class faculty, with the support from strategic initiatives such as the SUNY Empire Innovation Program and UB Disciplinary Excellence initiative

Though he arrived in 2013 a non-Buffalonian, we are proud to call him and his wife Kim lifelong Buffalonians! His impact and legacy have left an indelible mark on our school.

O’Donnell will remain a member of the SPPS family as a faculty member and professor of pharmaceutical sciences, and pharmacology and toxicology.

Summer 2021 School News

School Notes

  • Patients with Type 2 diabetes who were prescribed SGLT2 inhibitors lost more weight than patients who received GLP-1 receptor agonists, according to a study led by Nicole Paolini Albanese, PharmD, clinical associate professor of pharmacy practice. Read more about her research.
  • Associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences Dhaval K. Shah, PhD, led a team of researchers to develop a single, open source mathematical equation that compares the physiological relationships between age with organ weight and organ blood flow rate, both critical factors for drug absorption and clearance that change as organs quickly mature during childhood. Read more about his research.
  • Deaths caused by falls in older adults have more than doubled in the last twenty years. Collin Clark, PharmD, clinical assistant professor of pharmacy practice, talked to BYUradio about what’s driving the trend. Listen to the podcast.
  • Qing Ma, PharmD, PhD, associate professor, pharmacy practice, has been selected to serve as a member of the National Institutes of Health HIV Comorbidities and Clinical Studies Study Section, Center for Scientific Review. Read more.
  • Qingxiang (Nick) Lin, PhD, was the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics Highlighted Trainee Author for June 2021. He received his PhD in biophysical oncology at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center and University at Buffalo, SUNY. He has been under the mentorship of Dr. Robert M. Straubinger.

New hires, promotions and retirements

  • Nicole Pizzutelli joined the school on June 28,2021, as Assistant Director for Student, Professional and Community Affairs.
  • Chi-Hua (Richard) Lu joined the Department of Pharmacy Practice as a Research Scientist.

Summer 2021 Student News

Pharmacy Summer Institute.

High school and college students from around the world had a unique opportunity to explore and better understand what it means to be a pharmacist at the sixth annual University at Buffalo Pharmacy Summer Institute for High School and College Students.

The multiday program, hosted by the UB School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, provided nearly 600 students with a broad scope of virtual learning experiences, including a variety of interactive sessions activities, and lectures by UB pharmacy faculty and Buffalo-area alumni on topics ranging from vaccinations to medical marijuana to the many diverse and dynamic career opportunities a pharmacy degree can provide.

Vivian Rodriguez-Cruz, a post-doctoral trainee in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, was the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (JPET) Highlighted Trainee Author for the July 2021 issue. The JPET article that earned her selection as a Highlighted Trainee Author is titled “Y-Hydroxybutyric Acid-Ethanol Drug-Drug Interaction: Reversal of Toxicity with MCT1 Inhibitors.”

Summer 2021 Alumni News

The University at Buffalo School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences is proud to recognize two outstanding alumni honored with UB Alumni Association Achievement Awards.

Carol Gloff.

Carol Gloff, BS' 75

Carol Gloff, BS ’75, is the recipient of the 2021 Philip B. Wels Award, given to individuals and groups whose achievements, contributions or volunteer service to advance the University at Buffalo.

Gloff’s support for UB has been exemplary. She joined the University at Buffalo Alumni Association Board of Directors in 2007, and was instrumental in helping bring back a scholarship for female students. She also chaired numerous board committees before serving as board president from 2013-15. She was a member of the School of Pharmacy Committee for the Campaign for UB: Generation to Generation, and in 2018, she became an active campaign volunteer in support of the Boldly Buffalo campaign, serving on the campaign steering committee and as campaign chair for the pharmacy school.

John Rodgers.

John Rodgers, BS '83 & MBA '84

John Rodgers. BS ’83 & MBA ’84, received a 2021 Distinguished Alumni Award, given in recognition of exceptional career accomplishments, community or university service, and research and scholarly activity.

As chief operating officer for health maintenance organization Independent Health, Rodgers oversees all business operations, including sales, marketing, product development, information technology, customer service, claims operations and Independent Health’s ancillary businesses. In this role, Rodgers impacts the health and well-being of nearly 400,000 Western New Yorkers, providing them and our community with innovative health-related products and access to quality health care. He is past president of the board of trustees for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Western and Central New York Chapter, chair of the board of directors, Child and Family Services and a board member of the United Way of Buffalo and Erie County.

Class of 1956 Celebrates 65 Years

The Class of 1956 celebrated their 65th reunion this summer at the Buffalo Yacht Club, hosted by Algirdas Gamziukas, BS '56, and Helaine Gamziukas, BS '56. Eleven classmates and guests attended the celebratory event:

  • Mrs. Anne S. Allen      
  • Mr. Ronald L. Ernewein          
  • Dr. Algirdas Gamziukas           
  • Mrs. Helaine Gamziukas
  • Mr. Ronald J. Isaacs    
  • Mrs. Gail Isaacs
  • Mr. Edgar H. Liberman
  • Mrs. Irene Liberman
  • Mr. Harvey Podolsky   
  • Mrs. Rosalind Podolsky

All who attended are eagerly looking forward to celebrating their 70th in 2026!    

The School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences is holding an in-person Alumni Reunion Weekend on Friday, October 1, and Saturday, October 2.

The event will celebrate the 2020 reunion classes of 1960, 1965, 1970, 1975, 1980, 1985, 1990, 1995, 2000, 2005, 2010 and 2015, and the 2021 reunion classes of 1956, 1961, 1966, 1971, 1976, 1981, 1986, 1991, 1996, 2001, 2006, 2011 and 2016.

Our pharmacy reunion is part of UB Homecoming and Alumni Weekend, three fun-filled days of exciting programming and events. 

In Memoriam

  • Milner Forster, BS '52
  • Jacob Siskin, BS '55
  • James Coppola, BS '56
  • Bruce Moden, BS '57
  • George Ciancio, Sr., BS '58
  • Martin Lefkowitz, BS '59
  • Donald Bricker, BS '65
  • Michelle Marcantonio, BS '92

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