College of Pharmacy stands tall among peers

by Kalani Simpson, UNMC public relations | July 08, 2014

Image with caption: College of Pharmacy Dean Courtney Fletcher, Pharm.D.

College of Pharmacy Dean Courtney Fletcher, Pharm.D.

To steal a boxing term, the UNMC College of Pharmacy is one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the nation.

UNMC ranks No. 19, up from No. 25 a year ago, in the latest American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) Faculty Research Grant Institutional Rankings for the fiscal year 2013. The College of Pharmacy brought in $5.5 million in National Institutes of Health (NIH) research grants.

But, when adjusted for the number of full-time equivalency (FTE) faculty, UNMC's ranking surges to No. 8 in the country, its sixth year in a row in the total-dollars-per-faculty top 10.

UNMC is the smallest pharmacy school in the top 30. Yet, at $168,411 in funding per faculty, it is comparable to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy and the University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, which finished Nos. 2 and 5 in the overall rankings.

"Our faculty's ability to sustain a high standard of excellence and productivity in research, and an equally high standard in education, is a reflection of their commitment to our vision, and of the effort, creativity and passion each of our people brings to his or her job," said Courtney Fletcher, Pharm.D., dean of the College of Pharmacy.

"We have developed a cohort of faculty who take seriously why they are here. And we obviously support them and create an environment that allows them to do the things that they do best."

The single-biggest award in the College of Pharmacy's funding portfolio is an $11.2 million (over multiple years) National Institutes of Health COBRE (Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence) grant, with Tatiana Bronich, Ph.D., as principal investigator. But, Dr. Fletcher also highlighted a handful of other successes:

  • Yuri Lyubchenko, Ph.D., uses nanoimaging to investigate neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer's, Huntington's and Parkinson's diseases.
  • Jonathan Vennerstrom, Ph.D., studies new drugs to treat emerging infectious diseases.
  • Serguei Vinogradov, Ph.D., works to better deliver drugs to treat cancers, HIV and hepatitis.
  • Dong Wang, Ph.D., investigates novel drug delivery strategies to treat musculoskeletal diseases and to improve health for those with orthopedic implants.

The College of Pharmacy is operating at full capacity, Dr. Fletcher said, but will have ample opportunity to expand its research enterprise in the new Lozier Center for Pharmacy Sciences and Education and UNMC Center for Drug Discovery, which is expected to open in 2015.