Peter Swaan, Ph.D., M.Pharm., a distinguished university professor and internationally recognized researcher in the pharmaceutical sciences, has been named the next dean of the University of Florida College of Pharmacy, effective Dec. 1.
Swaan currently serves as the associate dean for research and advanced graduate education as well as a professor and chair in the department of pharmaceutical sciences at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy. In May, he was appointed a distinguished university professor in recognition of his extraordinary leadership and significant contributions to the pharmaceutical sciences.
“Dr. Swaan’s visionary leadership and his experience as an educator, scientist and trained pharmacist will further strengthen the UF College of Pharmacy’s position among the elite pharmacy colleges in the nation,” said David R. Nelson, M.D., senior vice president for health affairs at UF and president of UF Health. “We welcome him to the University of Florida and share his enthusiasm for providing a high-quality pharmacy education to our students and supporting innovative approaches to research and pharmacy practice.”
A pharmacist by training, Swaan attended the University of Leiden and earned a master’s degree in Pharmacy from Utrecht University in The Netherlands. His interests in pharmaceutical research as an undergraduate inspired him to pursue a Ph.D. in biopharmaceutics from the University of Utrecht. In 1994, he moved to the U.S. to work as a postdoctoral fellow in the department of biopharmaceutics and pharmaceutical chemistry at the University of California, San Francisco.
In 1996, he joined the Ohio State University College of Pharmacy as an assistant professor of pharmaceutics and pharmaceutical chemistry. While at Ohio State, he also served as director of the Core Laboratory for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology. He was recruited to the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy in 2003 and has held various leadership roles, including director of the Center for Nanomedicine and Cellular Delivery and serving on the leadership team of the Hopkins-Maryland Clinical and Translational Science Award program.
A highly cited researcher, Swaan has published more than 150 original research articles. He has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health since 1998 and has secured more than $25 million in grant funding during his career. His research focuses on all aspects of transporters in drug targeting and delivery, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics, with his major contributions to this research area involving the application of transporters as targets for prodrugs. He has pioneered the use of computational techniques to determine the structural requirements of membrane transporters, which has paved the way for the discovery of novel substrates and inhibitors. He also holds several U.S. patents on these and related technologies.
Since 2015, Swaan has chaired the Board of Grants for the American Foundation for Pharmaceutical Education, or AFPE. He has also chaired multiple committees within the American Association for Pharmaceutical Scientists and served on multiple NIH study sections. More than two dozen master’s and Ph.D. students have trained under his guidance, and in July 2022, he was awarded the AFPE William M. Heller Mentor of the Year Award.
As dean, Swaan plans to promote the value of a premier pharmacy education while bolstering research, entrepreneurship and pharmacy practice models. He also looks forward to engaging with alumni and friends to support key fundraising initiatives.
“It’s an honor to be selected dean of the UF College of Pharmacy and lead an institution that is world-renowned for training exceptional pharmacists and pharmaceutical scientists,” Swaan said. “There are many exciting things on the horizon, including UF’s artificial intelligence initiative and opportunities to expand our clinical footprint, which will keep our college at the forefront of science and the profession for years to come.”
Swaan will become the eighth dean to lead the UF College of Pharmacy. In his first year, he will help the college celebrate its centennial and the opening of the Malachowsky Hall for Data Science & Information Technology — a state-of-the-art facility that will house data scientists from the colleges of pharmacy, medicine and engineering.
Swaan succeeds Julie Johnson, Pharm.D., who stepped down as dean Aug. 14.