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New Professorships Created

Investing In Our Best

Doctors Dan Touchette, Richard van Breemen and Alexander "Shura" Mankin accept professorships at their investiture ceremony.

Doctors Dan Touchette, Richard van Breemen and Alexander "Shura" Mankin accept professorships at their investiture ceremony.

Three named professorships have been proudly added to the UIC College of Pharmacy. Each of the professorships represents a robust investment in the faculty as well as the research mission of the College. They also serve as a lasting tribute to the person for whom each professorship was named. And granting a faculty member a named professorship is also one of the College’s highest academic honors. Named professorships are, quite literally, the gift that keeps on giving.

Receiving the newly-minted professorships are: Dr. Richard van Breemen, Dr. Alexander “Shura” Mankin, and Dr. Dan Touchette. Each recipient is a veteran educator and researcher at UIC.

Dr. van Breemen has been a professor of Medicinal Chemistry at UIC for 20 years in the Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy. He received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Oberlin College and a Doctorate from Johns Hopkins University. He is also currently the Director of the UIC/NIH Center for Botanical Dietary Supplements Research. Dr. van Breemen received the Matthias C. Lu Professorship, named after the retired former head of the Department of Medicinal Chemistry & Pharmacognosy. Dr. Matt Lu is one of the most beloved teachers in the history of the UIC College of Pharmacy. 

Dr. Lu is also a wonderful colleague and deeply missed faculty member since his retirement in 2010.  He joined our faculty in 1973 and served for over 30 years.  He’s received awards for teaching throughout his career including awards from his two former institutions: The Ohio State University College of Pharmacy Alumni Association and the Kaohsiung Medical University in Taiwan for Outstanding Alumnus of the College of Pharmacy in Academia.  At UIC his honors included the Urban Health Program Distinguished Faculty Award in 2005; UIC Excellence in Teaching Award in 1995; UIC Teaching Recognition Program Award 2001; four-time UIC College of Pharmacy Outstanding Teacher of the Year (1994, 1995, 1997, 1998); two-time UIC College of Pharmacy Golden Apple Award (2000, 2001).  We are so pleased to honor Dr. Lu by establishing this college professorship in his name.

Dr. Mankin came to UIC from such disparate institutions as UC Santa Cruz and the University of Moscow. He is a professor in the Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy as well as the Director of the Center for Pharmaceutical Biotechnology. Dr. Mankin was honored with the Alexander Neyfakh Professorship. Dr. Neyfakh was a distinguished former professor who passed away in 2006. 

The establishment of the Alexander A. Neyfakh Professorship is due to his visionary leadership as a scientist.  Dr. Alexander “Sasha” Neyfakh was born in Moscow, Russia and received his PhD in 1986 from Moscow University, the most prestigious University of the former Soviet Union.  He joined the Center for Pharmaceutical Biotechnology and the Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy in 1990 and became full professor in 2002.  He was one of the brightest Russian scientists of his generation.  Dr. Neyfakh was the first to introduce modern molecular biology to PharmD students and was the driving force behind the development of the curriculum of the Biotechnology track of the graduate program in Pharmacognosy. Alex was always looking for the ‘big picture’. His penetrating and insightful questions, exciting ideas, and unorthodox thinking helped many of his colleagues to progress with their own studies, even in fields that were far from Alex’s own research. Sadly, Alex Neyfakh passed away when he was only 47,  after spending less than 20 years in the College of Pharmacy, UIC.  And yet he made enormous contributions to the development of Center, Department and College into scientifically vibrant units ideally situated for the discovery. In 2006, he was posthumously awarded the title of University Scholar by UIC.  

Dr. Touchette has been an associate professor in the Department of Pharmacy Systems, Outcomes and Policy for 9 years. He has been a core faculty member of the UIC Center for Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomic Research since August 2005. Dr. Touchette also directs the American College of Clinical Pharmacy’s Practice-Based Research Network. And now Dr. Touchette adds “Takeda Professor in Medication Adherence” to his list. The study of medication adherence and how health outcomes can be improved when patients take the right dose of medicine at the right time is the overall goal of the professorship. Located in Deerfield, Ill., Takeda Pharmaceuticals International, Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited, the largest pharmaceutical company in Japan.

Professorships like these give UIC an edge in recruiting and retaining quality faculty like Drs. van Breemen, Mankin and Touchette, as well as honoring past faculty members like Drs. Lu and Neyfakh. They also provide an invaluable way for pharmaceutical companies to collaborate with the college.

And the gift keeps on giving.