Medicinal chemist Dr. Rob Huigens named 2016-17 College of Pharmacy Teacher of the Year

Rob Huigens, Ph.D., an assistant professor of medicinal chemistry, has been selected as the 2016-17 University of Florida College of Pharmacy Teacher of the Year. The honor is the highest recognition of teaching excellence given within the College of Pharmacy.

Passionate as a researcher and educator, Huigens brings an enthusiasm and energy to the classroom. He is well recognized for his engaging approach that stimulates student interest in medicinal chemistry. His teaching involves spiraling student’s prior knowledge about basic organic chemistry with essential medicinal chemistry concepts. By collaborating with his teaching partners, Huigens has integrated medicinal chemistry concepts into the interdisciplinary case studies that are used during second-year patient care courses.

In nomination letters and student evaluations, fellow professors and students noted that he demonstrates his love of chemistry through his teaching of the subject matter. One student wrote, “His passion for chemistry is contagious.” Another student added that “Dr. Huigens is so over-the-top excited about organic chemistry that you cannot help but get excited.”

“I am so appreciative of this honor and thrilled to have been nominated by my students and peer faculty,” Huigens said. “I aim to teach with a high level of energy, and it is encouraging to see students get excited about medicinal chemistry.”

Huigens joined the College of Pharmacy in 2013. He earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and a Ph.D. in chemistry from North Carolina State University. He served as an American Cancer Society postdoctoral fellow at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign prior to joining the UF College of Pharmacy. His research interests include organic synthesis, drug discovery, medicinal chemistry, chemical biology, antibacterial agents and personalized cancer therapeutics.

As the 2016-17 Teacher of the Year, Huigens will represent the College of Pharmacy at University of Florida Teacher of the Year events and the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy Annual Meeting in Nashville, Tennessee.

Exemplary Teacher Award

The College of Pharmacy recognized three finalists for the Teacher of the Year Award with the Exemplary Teaching Award. The honor is bestowed by the college’s curriculum committee in recognition of exemplary teaching. The 2016-17 Exemplary Teaching Award winners included:

  • Stacey Curtis, Pharm.D., a clinical assistant professor
  • Carinda Feild, Pharm.D., a clinical associate professor and assistant dean and campus director – St. Petersburg
  • Lisa Vandervoort, Pharm.D., a clinical instructor and Orlando regional coordinator