Rick G. Schnellmann, PhD, a leading pharmacologist, researcher and drug discovery entrepreneur, has been appointed dean of the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy. He began his new duties on Aug. 1, joining the UA from the Medical University of South Carolina where he served as Distinguished University Professor and chair of the College of Pharmacy’s Department of Drug Discovery and Biomedical Sciences.
“Dr. Schnellmann is an internationally recognized leader, highly respected scholar and scientist in the field of pharmacology and toxicology,” said Joe G.N. “Skip” Garcia, MD, UA senior vice president for health sciences. “He will take the College of Pharmacy to the next level, expanding our Phoenix-based pharmacy practice and science programs, and building on the strong foundation in Tucson by strengthening our research capabilities and increasing NIH funding. I am thrilled to welcome Rick to the UA. His selection, following a comprehensive search process, demonstrates the deep national admiration and respect for our College of Pharmacy,” Garcia said.
“Dr. Schnellmann’s expertise is a wonderful complement to the UA Health Sciences programs in Tucson and in Phoenix,” said UA President Ann Weaver Hart. “The breadth and depth of his research spanning pharmacology and toxicology is remarkable, and his experience facilitating and leading online and traditional degree programs is a critical asset. As a researcher, collaborator and implementer Dr. Schnellmann is incredibly well positioned to lead the future of the College of Pharmacy, and I look forward to the ways he will advance our programs.”
The first health sciences college established at the UA (in 1947), the College of Pharmacy enjoys a rich history among the top echelon of all pharmacy schools nationally. For more than 20 years, U.S. News & World Report has ranked the college among the top-20 pharmacy schools in the nation. In addition, the College has maintained a top-tier ranking among National Institutes of Health-funded pharmacy schools.
“I am honored to have the opportunity to lead the UA College of Pharmacy and to begin working with such an incredibly talented group of faculty, students, research trainees and staff,” said Schnellmann. “It is from this base of strength – and in partnership with colleagues and programs across the entire University – that we will continue the positive growth of the college and further solidify its standing as a leader in pharmacy education, practice and research,” he added.
Schnellmann, who earned his doctorate in pharmacology and toxicology from the UA Colleges of Pharmacy and Medicine in 1984, will join the UA from the South Carolina College of Pharmacy at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) in Charleston, where he is Eminent Scholar and Distinguished University Professor and was chair of the college’s Department of Drug Discovery and Biomedical Sciences from 2001 to 2015. During his tenure as chair, Schnellmann assisted in the merger of the colleges of pharmacy at the University of South Carolina and MUSC, facilitating the transition to distance education on campuses 100 miles apart. Under his guidance, his department’s NIH grant funding increased, and in 2014 the school was ranked 11th in NIH funding to colleges of pharmacy.
Schnellmann’s research is focused on identifying and developing drugs to treat acute kidney injury, diabetic kidney disease, stroke, spinal cord injury and Parkinson’s disease. His research has been funded continuously since 1987 and includes NIH grant funding totaling more than $30 million. He has been instrumental in founding three MUSC spin-off biotechnology companies focused on drug discovery and development, including a drug for acute kidney injury, molecular compounds that could lead to new treatment for kidney failure and a compound being testing for treatment of retinitis pigmentosa.
He has a strong commitment to education and mentoring future researchers. He has taught pharmacology and toxicology to pharmacy, medical and veterinary students and has served on the Society of Toxicology Education Committee and the Subcommittee on Minority Education Initiatives. In 2013, Schnellmann received the Society’s Education Award for “his distinguished teaching and training of toxicologists and for his significant contributions to education in the broad field of toxicology.”
He was the editor of the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics from 2004 to 2009. He also has served as associate editor of the American Journal of Physiology and Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology. He has published more than 180 peer-reviewed publications and reviews and authored more than 28 book chapters. Schnellmann received a bachelor of science degree in pharmacy from Saint Louis College of Pharmacy, and he completed a postdoctoral fellowship in toxicology at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C.
Photos of Schnellmann taken by Medical University of South Carolina
Story by UA Health Sciences Office of Public Affairs