Pharmacy alumni recognized among UF’s 40 Gators Under 40

University of Florida College of Pharmacy graduates Norman Ruiz-Castañeda, Pharm.D., ’10, and Brian Maas, Pharm.D., ’15, were selected as members of UF’s 40 Gators Under 40 class in 2024. The annual award program was established in 2006 and recognizes alumni under the age of 40 whose achievements positively reflect The Gator Nation.

40 Gators Under 40 (2024) College of Pharmacy winners

Ruiz-Castañeda is the owner of Uptown Chemist in Naples, Florida. He started his own business in 2020, after a decade working in retail and independent pharmacy. Leveraging his education and experience, Ruiz-Castañeda tailors his patient’s medication regimens with a personable and individualized approach. With a focus on integrative medicine and building relationships with a patient’s doctor, he consults and treats patients with a unique plan. This sets the foundation to better position his patients to achieve optimal health by incorporating disease management, hormonal balance, weight loss and overall well-being into every treatment strategy.

Maas works as a scientist in the quantitative pharmacology and pharmacometrics group at Merck. He joined the company in 2017 and has contributed to the development and approval of several infectious disease medications, including Raltegravir for HIV and Molnupiravir for COVID-19. Maas specializes in using modeling to accelerate drug development and increase the probability of successful clinical trials. In his current role, he oversees the clinical pharmacology strategy for several compounds currently under development for influenza, RSV and HIV. He is passionate about giving back to the scientific community and has co-authored more than a dozen peer-reviewed publications and delivered several scientific talks at conferences. He serves as a peer reviewer for the Journal of Clinical Pharmacology and an abstract reviewer for the International Society of Pharmacometrics.

The UF Alumni Association honored all the 40 Gators Under 40 award recipients, including Ruiz-Castañeda and Maas, during a ceremony in Gainesville on March 29.