Published July 14, 2023
BUFFALO, N.Y. — The University at Buffalo School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences is proud to announce the recipients of its 2023 alumni awards. Awardees will be honored at a ceremony on October 13, 2023, at the Pharmacy Building on UB’s South Campus.
Kathleen M. Giacomini, PhD ’79 is the recipient of the 2023 Willis G. Gregory Memorial Award. The award is the most prestigious given by the school, honoring an outstanding alumnus who personifies the ideals of service, integrity and the profession of pharmacy in the eyes of their colleagues.
Dean of the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), Giacomini is a world-renowned scientist in the field of membrane transporters and widely recognized for her work in transporter genomics and pharmacogenomics. Her research led to the discovery of the molecular identity and functional roles of transporters in the Solute Carrier superfamily including SLC22A1 (Organic cation transporter 1) and SLC28A2 (Concentrative nucleoside transporter 2) and the orphan transporters, SLC22A15, and SLC22A24.
She is a professor of bioengineering and therapeutic sciences in the UCSF School of Pharmacy, a department she chaired for more than 10 years. In her long career at UCSF, which began in 1982 when she joined the faculty as an assistant professor, Giacomini has been an active mentor to pharmacy students and graduate students. She is also a champion for women and underrepresented groups in science.
Giacomini earned the Volwiler Research Achievement Award – the highest research award given by the American Association of College of Pharmacy – and the Distinguished Pharmaceutical Scientist Award, a lifetime achievement award that recognizes individuals for their contributions to the pharmaceutical sciences. She is one of the few pharmacy-trained elected members of the National Academy of Medicine.
Giacomini co-founded the International Transporter Consortium, which has published impactful manuscripts informing clinical pharmacology and regulatory policy. She is a past president of the American Society for Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics and inaugural president of the Pharmacogenomics Research Network. She was the leader of the NIH Pharmacogenomics of Membrane Transporter Center, which was widely recognized as the leading research unit in the world for the discovery, functional characterization, and clinical relevance of polymorphisms in drug transporters.
Currently, Giacomini is the Co-Principal Investigator of the UCSF-Stanford Center of Excellence in Regulatory Sciences and Innovation (CERSI), a major center funded by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration with the goal of advancing scientific issues related to the safe and effective use of medical products.
As a member and chair of the UCSF Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on the Status of Women, she helped lead and develop parental leave policies for the campus. Giacomini champions issues of diversity, equity and inclusion. She received the Chancellor’s Award for the Advancement of Women, and the Martin Luther King Award at UCSF.
Karen M. (Wilson) Brim, BS ’82 is the recipient of the 2023 Orville C. Baxter Memorial Professional Practice Award. The award acknowledges leadership within the profession of pharmacy, career innovation and dedication to the school and students.
Brim has worked as a pharmacist for over 40 years, with the past 20 years as a clinical pharmacist at Independent Health, where she is primarily responsible for researching and evaluating new products and therapeutic issues to develop strategies to optimize their use along with evaluation of pharmacy and medical claims data. In addition, she also supports managed care activities, including developing action plans for quality measures, pharmacy network and pharmaceutical manufacturer partnerships, as well as provider, employer group, broker relations and physician engagement.
She is a strong advocate of diversity, inclusion and belonging, evidenced through her work at Independent Health’s Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging Core Team along with her work across the Western New York Community. Her passion, respect and care for the wellbeing of others is what drives her every day. It also drives her to want to serve, educate and help the community where she lives.
Since 2015, she has been an Independent Health RedShirt volunteer at the ‘Ask the Pharmacist’ information table at the Good for the Neighborhood events, free, quarterly wellness programs in health care limited areas. Her involvement in these community events provides an opportunity to stay connected with patients and gain insight into the lives of those who are underserved, which she hopes will lead to better health outcomes and enhanced community engagement.
In 2016, Brim established an external informal group comprised of Black female pharmacists from around the region. The group supports various community events and organizations including Buffalo Prep, which helps to close the access and opportunity gaps for talented students who need financial assistance. In addition, the group participates in the national Tech Savvy conference, which hosts day-long conferences designed to attract and support girls in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields of study.
Brim is currently in her third three-year term on the board of directors of the Independent Health Foundation and in 2020 joined the Evergreen Health Board of Directors. Since 2008, she has volunteered as a University at Buffalo School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences Dean’s Alumni Ambassador, where she has mentored many PharmD students and assisted with hundreds of student interviews and application reviews. She was a recipient of Buffalo Business First’s 2023 IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Awareness) award and in 2022, she was recognized by WGRZ TV with a ‘Selfless Among Us’ acknowledegment for her long-standing volunteer work and health care advocacy throughout Western New York.
Assistant Dean, Communications and Alumni Relations
University at Buffalo School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences