Four pharmacy dean finalists announced

March 21, 2013

by Chris Barncard

Four finalists have been announced for the deanship of the School of Pharmacy.

A 17-member committee made up of faculty, staff and students and chaired by Richard Peterson, professor of pharmacy, screened a pool of applicants and recommended the four candidates to Interim Chancellor David Ward and Provost Paul M. DeLuca Jr.

The finalists are:

Courtney V. Fletcher, dean and professor in the College of Pharmacy at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

A professor and dean at Nebraska since 2007, Fletcher has spent the last 20 years focusing his research on antiviral pharmacology. Beginning with studies of cytomegalovirus (CMV) at the University of Minnesota, he followed CMV to patients with HIV and AIDS — and then on to HIV and AIDS itself. His work contributed to FDA approval of two HIV/AIDS drugs for children. He is a fellow of the American College of Clinical Pharmacy. Under his leadership, Nebraska’s pharmacy school ranks in the top 10 in the country in terms of NIH research funding per faculty member, and its students have achieved a 100 percent first-time pass rate in each of the last four years on the national pharmacy board examination.

Fletcher holds a doctor of pharmacy degree from the University of Minnesota.

Russell J. Mumper, vice dean and John A. McNeill Distinguished Professor at the University of North Carolina Eshelman School of Pharmacy.

Mumper became the first director of the Center for Nanotechnology in Drug Delivery at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2007. His research program pertains to engineering nanoparticles for cancer treatment and vaccines. He has co-founded five spinoff companies based on his and his collaborators’ research, is a member of the editorial board of three pharmaceutical journals, and has served as a member of scientific review panels for the National Institutes of Health, Department of Defense and National Science Foundation. He has also received distinguished teaching awards at two universities, and is a fellow of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists.

Mumper earned a doctorate in pharmaceutical sciences from the University of Kentucky.

David J. Riese, associate dean for research and graduate programs and George Fulton Gilliland & Olga Hooser Gilliland Franklin Professor of Pharmacal Sciences at the Auburn University Harrison School of Pharmacy.

Focusing on the hormones produced by epithelial cells of the breast, pancreas, prostate and lung, Riese’s lab studies the ways signaling gone awry can influence tumor development, with hopes to develop new diagnostic and treatment strategies for cancer. He became a professor and associate dean at Auburn in 2010 after 13 years on the faculty at Purdue University. He is a member of a long list of scholarly societies, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Association for Cancer Research, American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy and American Chemical Society.

Riese received his doctorate in genetics from the Yale University School of Medicine.

Elizabeth Murphy Topp, Dane O. Kildsig Chair and head of the Department of Industrial and Physical Pharmacy at Purdue University.

After more than 20 years as a professor at the University of Kansas, Topp became Purdue’s first Dane O. Kildsig Chair of Industrial and Physical Pharmacy and head of the department in 2009. She studies the stability of pharmaceutical proteins — a rapidly growing class of drugs, but often fragile and not particularly well understood. A member of the American Chemical Society, American Society for Mass Spectrometry and American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists, she has chaired an FDA advisory committee and has served on the editorial advisory boards of several journals.

Topp’s doctorate in pharmaceutics is from the University of Michigan.

Each candidate will visit campus in April to meet with faculty, staff, students, administrators and other groups. Their visits will include presentations open to the entire campus community on the following dates:

• Elizabeth Murphy Topp, 3:30 p.m. April 8 in Room 2002, Rennebohm Hall

• Russell J. Mumper, 3:30 p.m. April 9 in Room 1345, Health Sciences Learning Center

• David J. Riese, 3:30 p.m. April 11, Room 2006, Rennebohm Hall

• Courtney V. Fletcher, 3:30 p.m. April 18 in Room 2006, Rennebohm Hall

The successful candidate will succeed Jeanette Roberts, who in July announced her intention to retire after 10 years at the helm of the UW System’s only pharmacy school.

Established in 1883, UW–Madison’s School of Pharmacy was first to offer baccalaureate degrees in pharmacy, and first to grant doctoral degrees in pharmaceutical chemistry, pharmaceutics, the history of pharmacy, social studies of pharmacy and continuing education, and one of the first in pharmacy administration.

The school stood fifth among more than 100 programs in the most recent U.S. News rankings. The World Education Congress recently named the school Best Educational Institute in Pharmacy in the world.

The school has more than 8,000 living alumni and an enrollment of more than 630 students. The school conferred more than 150 degrees on the bachelor’s, masters and doctorate levels in the 2011-12 academic year.