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UB Pioneer in AIDS Clinical Pharmacotherapy Honored by National Organization

Release Date: July 20, 2012

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Gene D. Morse, PharmD, UB professor of pharmacy practice

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Eugene D. Morse, PharmD, professor of pharmacy practice and associate director of the Translational Pharmacology Core in the University at Buffalo Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences, has been honored with this year's Volwiler Research Achievement Award from the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) for outstanding research and contributions to the fields of clinical/translational pharmacology and pharmaceutical sciences.

It is only the second time in the award's history that the honor has been bestowed on a clinical scientist.

The Volwiler Research Achievement Award consists of a gold medal and a monetary prize and was established in honor of the late Ernest H. Volwiler, Abbott Laboratories former president and research director.

Morse received the prestigious award during the AACP Annual Meeting, Pharmacy Education 2012, in Kissimmee, Fla.

"Receiving the Volwiler Award from AACP is a great honor," Morse said. "I am proud to be a part of the innovative research conducted by AACP faculty throughout the country and to contribute to mentoring future researchers with an interest in clinical research and pharmaceutical sciences.

"The field of translational pharmacology is growing rapidly and current students, residents and fellows have a great opportunity to contribute to the field of biomedical research using the outstanding training they receive from AACP member institutions and their faculty."

Morse has distinguished himself as a pioneer in AIDS clinical pharmacotherapy.

Over the past 25 years, Morse's cutting-edge research in HIV/AIDS has received grant funding of $25.8 million as a primary investigator and $3.8 million as a co-investigator.

In 1986 he was one of the first investigators selected to be part of the NIH-sponsored AIDS Clinical Trials Group (ACTG) and one of the first HIV Clinical Pharmacology Specialty Laboratories in the United States.

The UB HIV Clinical Pharmacology Laboratory was a leader in introducing therapeutic drug monitoring (TDM) in ACTG research protocols and TDM and pharmacogenomics within studies of HIV-infected patients with substance-related disorders.

"Gene has taken results from the laboratory to the clinic in a complex translational research environment," said Wayne K. Anderson, PhD, dean of the UB School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. "His research along with his passion for clinical pharmacy has made a difference to millions of individuals with HIV/AIDS."

During the early period of the HIV epidemic, Morse established the Adherence-Pharmacology Unit at the Erie County Medical Center to provide an interface between clinical practice and research.

Subsequently, Morse established the National HIV TDM Registry for protease inhibitors, providing a mechanism for clinical sites around the United States to participate in a population-based research project to facilitate patient management through a centralized clinical pharmacology resource.

In addition to his HIV clinical pharmacology research, Morse is actively involved in teaching and mentoring.

He was the chair of pharmacy practice during the university's transition from a bachelor of science degree to the PharmD. The new curriculum was developed to include both a clinical and a pharmaceutical sciences research track, which now involves 10 to 20 students per year.

Morse also worked with colleagues to implement the UB Pharmacy Practice Residency Program, with both PGY1 and PGY2 residency programs. They serve as important components of the portfolio of academic and clinical research programs offered at UB.

As the HIV/AIDS epidemic expanded and the applied therapeutics field became more complex, Morse created opportunities for graduate pharmacists who were interested in gaining more expertise in this area. These programs include an HIV Certification Program, a PGY2 HIV/Infectious Diseases Residency and an HIV Clinical Pharmacology Fellowship.

In 2009 he received an NIH Fogarty International Center AIDS International Training and Research Program (AITRP) Award. The program consists of a partnership with the University of Zimbabwe and establishes an international HIV Clinical Pharmacology Fellowship program. This award has energized the faculty and students at the University of Zimbabwe and has become a centerpiece for capacity building in the region.

In his role in UB's Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences, Morse is working to bridge the HIV/AIDS clinical and research experience with resource-limited countries through health-care informatics.

"Dr. Morse's work has changed the landscape of treatment for patients with HIV/AIDS both here and around the world," said Lucinda L. Maine, PhD, RPh, AACP executive vice president and CEO. "We are so pleased to honor him with the 2012 Volwiler Research Achievement Award."

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Sara Saldi
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