The University of Florida College of Pharmacy presented three highly accomplished senior graduate students with fellowships and awards, while also announcing the inaugural winners of the Hartmut Derendorf Award, at the college’s Graduate Student Award Ceremony on Aug. 31.
Bonnie Avery Advancing Women in Pharmaceutical Sciences Endowment Award
Corey Perkins, a graduate student in the department of pharmaceutics, received the award given in memory of the late UF College of Pharmacy faculty member Bonnie Avery, Ph.D., which is presented to a student who demonstrates leadership and professionalism and has been engaged in activities that advance women in the pharmaceutical sciences. Perkins has won several research and training awards during her Ph.D. training and is the recipient of an NCI Diversity Supplement. She is a member of the inaugural class of the Southeastern Conference Emerging Scholars program, which encourages underrepresented scholars to seek employment in the SEC conference following their doctoral studies. Perkins has demonstrated leadership in several organizations and a commitment to recruiting women into the pharmaceutical sciences — in particular, black women.
Robert and Stephany Ruffolo Graduate Education and Research Fellowship
Lobna Elsadek, a graduate student in the department of medicinal chemistry, is the recipient of this year’s Ruffolo fellowship. The award recognizes a Ph.D. student who has exceptional research accomplishments, including extramural awards, publications and evidence of exemplary leadership, professional activity or service. Elsadek is a highly motivated and exceptionally bright and productive student with great career potential. She shared early results from her research at the statewide UF Drug Discovery Symposium and presented posters at the Gordon Research Seminar and the Gordon Research Conference on marine natural products. She was one of the inaugural Chemical Biology T32 predoctoral fellows and was later awarded an F31 grant from the National Cancer Institute. She has a first-author manuscript and is a co-author of a manuscript.
Ronald J. and Sally G. Brenner Fellowship
Bo Sortman, a graduate student in the department of pharmacodynamics, is the recipient of the Brenner fellowship in 2022-23. The award is given in honor of Dr. Brenner, who was a UF College of Pharmacy alum and received his master’s in 1957 and Ph.D. in pharmaceutical chemistry in 1959. It recognizes a Ph.D. student who has exceptional research accomplishments, including extramural awards, publications and evidence of exemplary leadership, professional activity or service. Described as a gifted and talented young scientist, Sortman is a Grinter fellow and first author on one paper and co-author on two others. He has submitted abstracts to the College of Pharmacy’s Research Showcase, UF CARE Symposium, the Society for Neuroscience meeting and the International Behavioral Neuroscience Society. He has mentored undergraduates, including SURF students, and he serves on the annual CARE symposium planning committee, which is tasked with organizing the Center for Addiction Research and Education core’s annual meeting.
The Hartmut Derendorf Award
A new addition to the award ceremony this year was the presentation of the inaugural Hartmut Derendorf Award — which celebrates the legendary career of the late UF College of Pharmacy professor. Derendorf. A world-renowned expert in pharmacokinetics and pharmacometrics, Derendorf joined the college as a faculty member in 1983 and spent over three decades with UF, including more than 25 years as chair of the department of pharmaceutics. The award in his honor is for an entering student to the college who shows promise in pharmaceutical research. In 2022-23, two students were selected to receive the award:
Parsshava Mehta joined the UF College of Pharmacy as a Ph.D. student in the fall of 2021. He received his Pharm.D, from The Tamil Nadu Dr.M.G.R Medical University, with outstanding modeling and research skills. He has been working in the development of very complex PBPK models for CNS and nasal drug delivery. Mehta has presented two posters and will be presenting another one at the American Society for Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics this fall. He has been involved in writing a regulatory report and two briefing documents for the EMA, and a regulatory report for the FDA. A nominator wrote, he is always willing to collaborate and provide opportunities for others to learn from him, in keeping with the qualities valued and exemplified by Dr. Derendorf.
Bassma Eltanameli began her studies in the Ph.D. program at the UF College of Pharmacy in the fall of 2022. She received a master’s degree in nanotechnology and drug delivery at the University of South Florida with a perfect grade point average. During her undergraduate studies, she majored in pharmaceutical sciences, building a very rare combination of dry (quantitative PK/PD modeling) and wet lab skills (cell-based assays, high content imaging, immunoassays, translational ADME and nanoparticles development and characterization). A nominator wrote that Eltanameli’s promising academic career completely embraces the philosophy developed and propagated by Dr. Derendorf, emphasizing the paramount importance of integrating knowledge from biopharmaceutics, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics to efficiently optimize drug development and patient treatment.