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UHCOP Faculty Advisory Council Honors Tejada-Simon, Cuny and Simpson for Excellence in Teaching, Research and Service

UH College of Pharmacy's Faculty Advisory Council bestowed its annual awards for Excellence in Teaching, Research and Service to faculty members MariVi. Tejada-Simon, Ph.D., M.Ed., Gregory D. Cuny, Ph.D., and Lynn Simpson, Pharm.D., respectively.

Presented at the college's annual Faculty Retreat at the conclusion of the academic year, the Faculty Award recipients are selected by members of the Faculty Advisory Council and a representative from each of the college's three academic departments based on submitted curricula vitae and a summary of activities pertaining to the specific category.

Tejada-Simon - Teaching

tejada-simonTejada-Simon is gaining a national and internatioanl reputation for her mentorship of graduate, undergraduate and professional program students to complement her expertise in the specialty field of neuropharmacology, especially in the areas of the autism spectrum-associated Fragile X Syndrome, neurodegenerative disorders and cognitive. An associate professor, Tejada-Simon was the inaugural recipient of the UH Undergraduate Research Mentoring-Early Career Award, which has been bestowed upon a UHCOP faculty member in three of the four years it has been awarded.

A member of the National Institutes of Health-affiliated National Research Mentoring Network, Tejada-Simon currently serves as chair of both the college's Graduate Education Committee and the Board of Ethical and Professional Conduct as well as a faculty representative on the UH Tier One Scholars program board.

Her students have received research-focused travel and scholarship/fellowship awards from a variety of intra- and extra-mural organizations, including 19 travel awards – at least one per year since 2009 – from the NIH-funded Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology-Maximizing Access to Research Careers program.

Cuny - Research

An assistant professor of Medicinal Chemistry, Cuny has primary research pursuits in the areas of identifying and develop in vivo pharmacology probes to study novel therapeutic approaches to treat diseases, including parasitic infection, cardiovascular and bone diseases, and inflammation. 

cuny photoSince his arrival at UHCOP in 2012, Cuny has been awarded principal investigator grants from the NIH and the American Heart Association as well as serving as co-PI on two additional NIH grants. During his time at UHCOP, Cuny has mentored a total of 11 undergraduate, graduate and Pharm.D. students as well as four postdoctoral fellows and authored or coauthored more than 40 peer-reviewed manuscripts.

His current projects include identification and optimization of selective inhibitors of an enzyme critical to the survival of the pathogenic gastrointestinal protozoan parasite Cryptosporidum parvum, along with related projects on a tissue-specific delivery strategy and targeting of structurally related isozymes in pathogenic bacteria and community-acquired pathogens. 

Cuny's other collaborative projects include work with a series of molecules that block a newly discovered regulated necrotic cell pathway called necroptosis through inhibition of receptor-interacting protein kinases, which are garnering significant attention within the pharmaceutical industry, and a series of molecules that block bone morphogenetic protein signaling through inhibition of of activin-like kinase 2 to elucidate a rare genetic bone condition, cardiovascular disease and inflammation.    

Simpson - Service

A faculty member since graduating with the inaugural Pharm.D. class in 1997, Simpson currently serves as faculty co-advisor for the UHCOP chapters of three national student organizations at the college: Phi Lambda Sigma, the American Pharmacists Association-Academy of Student Pharmacists, and the National Community Pharmacists Association.

In the past few years alone, these organizations and their individual members have gained national, regional and statewide recognition through awards and elected or appointed positions. Among these achievements were National Chapter of the Year for UHCOP's PLS Chapter in 2015, consecutive First Chapter of the Year Runner-up finishes for UHCOP's NCPA Chapter in 2012 and 2013, and APhA-ASP regional title for "Operation Heart" and "Operation Diabetes" (as well as National Second Runner-up for "Operation Heart"). The three chapters also have seen more than a dozen members installed as officers, including NCPA Student President, and as committee members at the national and regional levels.    

simpson photoIn addition to her advisory role to the student organizations and other activities including "UH Day at the Capitol" and the Texas Pharmacy Association's "Day at the Dome," Simpson served as the Pharm.D. Class of 2016 Classmeister and as a pharmacy preceptor for more than 40 weekend service learning events during the year for students providing wellness screenings to the community.

A clinical associate professor and vice chair of the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Translational Researcher, iSimpson also serves as a college instructor for the APhA immunizations delivery and medication therapy management certificate/continuing education courses. Outside of the college, Simpson has served as a Texas APhA delegate for the past four years, a delegate of the Texas Pharmacy Association, and the college's delegate to the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy over the past year.