2021 Recipients

Distinguished Alumnus Award

Adi Pour, MS'83, PhD'86

Adi Pour Headshot

Dr. Pour was the Director of the Douglas County Health Department from 2002 - 2021. She received her Ph.D. and her master’s degree in Toxicology from the University of Nebraska Medical Center and completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Creighton University in Molecular Pharmacology. Dr. Pour is an Adjunct Professor of the Department of Health Services, Research and Administration at the College of Public Health, University of Nebraska Medical Center. She is the recipient of several awards such as the 2007 J.G. Elliot Award given by the University to an individual for advancing health care throughout Nebraska. In 2013, Dr. Pour received the Tribute to Women Award from the Women’s Center for Advancement and in 2014 she was inducted in The Omaha Hospitality Hall of Fame, she received the Champion Award from the Empowerment Network and in 2020 received the Robert D. Sparks MD Award in Public Health and Preventive Medicine. Dr. Pour was on several local boards such as the Women’s Fund – Adolescent Health Advisory Board; Wellbeing Partners; and the Creighton Center for Promoting Health and Health Equity, just to name a few. Dr. Pour was a Community Investment reviewer for United Way and her passion is to make Douglas County a healthier community by promoting health equity, eliminating health disparities and providing opportunities for all to live a healthy life.

Early Career Achievement Award

Jennifer Pluznick, PhD'05


Jen Pluznick received her Ph.D. in Renal Physiology from the University of Nebraska Medical Center (Omaha, NE) in 2005. She then spent five years training as a postdoctoral fellow at Yale University (New Haven, CT), where she studied both renal physiology and sensory biology systems (in particular, olfaction).  In 2010, Jen moved to Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, where she is now an Associate Professor of Physiology. Jen is interested in better understanding the roles of “understudied” G-protein coupled receptors in the kidney, and in uncovering how these receptors aid the kidney in the maintenance of homeostasis. 

Jen has made significant contributions to science throughout her career and has 58 publications. She has been an active member of the American Physiological Society since 2002 and is a member of the American Heart Association, the Salt and Water Club, and the American Society of Nephrology. Additionally, she is Associate Editor of the American Journal of Physiology – Renal Physiology and on the editorial boards of Kidney360 and the Journal of General PhysiologyIn 2017, Jen gave a TED talk that has more than 1.7 million views and has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Henry Pickering Bowditch Award Lectureship and the Hamilton Smith Award for Innovative Research. 


Honorary Alumnus Award

Dennis Robinson, PhD

Dennis Robinson Headshot

Dennis H. Robinson, PhD is Emeritus Professor and Chair for the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) College of Pharmacy. He received his Bachelors, Masters and Doctorate degrees in Pharmacy from the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand, where he was a faculty member for seven years. 

Dr. Robinson joined the UNMC faculty in 1986. During his time at UNMC, he developed, coordinated, and taught multiple professional and graduate courses and received over $3 million in personal research funding as principal investigator. Additionally, he gave 106 peer-reviewed presentations at local, national, and international scientific meetings, published more than 50 peer-reviewed scientific publications, wrote nine book chapters on drug delivery and nanomedicine, and was awarded two patents. In 2003, Dr. Robinson became Chairman of the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences. In this role and, through the efforts of the excellent faculty, the department’s research funding increased significantly.  He also recruited nationally and internationally recognized experts to join the faculty. Under Dr. Robinson’s leadership, the UNMC College of Pharmacy was ranked 4th and 9th in funding from the National Institutes of Health per faculty member in 2009 and 2010. As a result of this increase in funding and Dr. Robinson’s faculty recruitment efforts, the department is now internationally recognized for cutting edge research in drug design, drug delivery, nanotechnology and nanoimaging. 

In addition to his leadership and research, Dr. Robinson mentored three post-doctoral researchers, 11 PhD students and two MS students and served on over 30 PhD and eight MS graduate supervisory committees. He served on multiple college, university, and national educational and scientific committees, including the committee that obtained approval to establish the Center of Drug Delivery and Nanomedicine at UNMC, which is a nationally and internationally recognized leader in this area of research. 

After his retirement from UNMC in 2011, Dr. Robinson returned to New Zealand where he lives with his wife, Sandra.  They enjoy their new home on their vineyard in the province of Marlborough where they spend their time gardening, volunteering in the community and traveling. 


Past Recipients