People and Programs ‘On The Move’ at UArizona College of Pharmacy

Recent college notices include a new co-director from Brazil for the Arizona Center for Drug Discovery, prestigious editor posts for two faculty members, and awards and appointments to important pharmaceutical industry committees.

TUCSON, Ariz. — Recent new hires, promotions, honors and awards at the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy include the following items:

New Arizona Center for Drug Discovery Co-Director

Celina Zerbinatti, PhD, co-director, Arizona Center for Drug DiscoveryCelina Zerbinatti, PhD, an accomplished leader in the pharmaceutical industry, has joined UArizona College of Pharmacy as co-director for the Arizona Center for Drug Discovery (ACDD) and an associate professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology. Dr. Zerbinatti will work with fellow ACDD Co-Director Wei Wang, PhD, to provide strategic leadership for a wide research portfolio across biological targets, therapeutic areas and modalities in drug discovery, from early stage research to phase 2 clinical trials. She also will be responsible for identifying novel opportunities for new grant applications, start-up companies, intellectual property and partnerships.

Dr. Zerbinatti is an accomplished senior leader from the pharmaceutical industry who gained extensive drug discovery experience at New Jersey-based Merck & Co., where she led research lab program teams in the area of neuroscience for nearly 10 years. She then joined Hamburg, Germany-based Evotec A.G. as the scientific and operational head of a broad drug discovery alliance on Huntington’s disease with the CHDI Foundation. Expanding into the biotech sector, Dr. Zerbinatti was a senior consultant for the Dementia Discovery Fund at Boston’s SV Health Investors and, most recently, the head of biology at Escape Bio, a San Francisco-based clinical stage biotechnology company focused on discovery and development of small-molecule drugs to treat genetically defined neurodegenerative diseases.

Dr. Zerbinatti earned her bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of São Paulo, Brazil, and completed postdoctoral training at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Learn more here.

Department Head Picked as Editor of Prestigious Industry Journal

Xinxin Ding, PharmDXinxin Ding, PhD, department head and professor in UArizona College of Pharmacy’s Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, has been selected editor of Drug Metabolism and Disposition (DMD), a journal of the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET). Beginning Jan. 1, 2021, he will serve a three-year term. Dr. Ding has been a member of ASPET since 1997 and an associate editor for DMD since 2010. The journal is a valuable resource for medicinal chemists and biochemists involved in drug design and metabolism, expression of drug metabolizing enzymes and regulation of drug metabolizing enzyme gene expression. With nearly 170 articles and 27 book chapters, review articles and other publications to his name, Dr. Ding studies enzyme function, regulation and genetics as applied to translational research for drug safety and efficacy and for genetic and environmental risks for chemical toxicity. Learn more here.

Editorship and Two Awards for Dr. Heidi Mansour

Heidi Mansour, PhD, RPhHeidi Mansour, PhD, RPh, UArizona College of Pharmacy associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences, was invited to join the editorial board of the journal Pharmaceutics as a topic editor. She also is director of the Pharmaceutics and Pharmacokinetics Track and the PharmD/PhD Dual-Degree Joint Program and a member of the UArizona Cancer Center’s Therapeutic Development Program. As principal investigator on numerous National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, Food and Drug Administration and pharmaceutical industrial grants, Dr. Mansour successfully leads multiple cutting-edge research projects. She also received a Diversity Research Supplement to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research Grant from the National Cancer Institute, a unit of the NIH, to support the training and career development of Victor Ruiz, a fourth-year PharmD student researcher in the Mansour Lab. In addition, she was a Tech Launch Arizona Asset Development funding awardee, along with College of Pharmacy Dean Rick G. Schnellman, PhD, for their work on a research project, “Suramin for Radiation-Induced Oral Mucositis,” with Keith Kirkwood, DDS, PhD, at the University of Buffalo. Learn more here.

Committee Appointments for Pharmacy Faculty Cover State, Nation

Several UArizona College of Pharmacy faculty members recently received appointments to prestigious associations:

  • Nancy Alvarez, PharmD, BCPSHeidi Mansour, PhD, RPh, was appointed to the AACP Research Symposium 2020 Planning Committee of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, as well as to the AACP Pharmaceutics Section Nominating Committee.
  • Nancy Alvarez, PharmD, BCPS, was picked as facilitator for the AACP Academic Leadership Fellows Program – Cohort 17. This month, Dr. Alvarez also will receive the Gloria Niemeyer Francke Leadership Mentor Award from the American Pharmacists Association at the organization’s annual conference. She also co-designed and co-facilitated The Leader Within Remote Workshops for the Pharmacy Leadership and Education Institute held in late July and August.
  • Christopher Edwards, PharmD, BCPS, and Amy Kennedy, PharmD, BCACP, were elected members-at-large for the Arizona Pharmacy Association.

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NOTE: Photos available here –

About the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy
The University of Arizona College of Pharmacy is the premier pharmacy college in the Southwest, and one of the top in the nation, focused on drug discovery, toxicology, pharmaceutics, health outcomes and sciences, pharmaceutical education and research through interprofessional training and collaborative public/private partnerships. Preparing pharmacists and pharmaceutical scientists in undergraduate, professional, graduate and post-doctoral programs, the college embraces an entrepreneurial spirit, providing tailored educational opportunities to broaden students' experiences. Established 72 years ago as the first health sciences college at UArizona, the college has a long history of improving science and health, both in Arizona and around the world. It is currently ranked No. 8 among the nation’s 143 colleges of pharmacy by the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy. For more information: (Follow us: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube).

About the University of Arizona Health Sciences
The University of Arizona Health Sciences is the statewide leader in biomedical research and health professions training. UArizona Health Sciences includes the Colleges of Medicine (Tucson and Phoenix), Nursing, Pharmacy, and the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, with main campus locations in Tucson and the Phoenix Biomedical Campus in downtown Phoenix. From these vantage points, Health Sciences reaches across the state of Arizona, the greater Southwest and around the world to provide next-generation education, research and outreach. A major economic engine, Health Sciences employs nearly 5,000 people, has approximately 4,000 students and 900 faculty members, and garners $200 million in research grants and contracts annually. For more information: (Follow us: Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | LinkedIn | Instagram).