Michael Pikal, the Pfizer Distinguished Chair in Pharmaceutical Technology and director of the Center for Pharmaceutical Processing Research, has received the Distinguished Pharmaceutical Scientist Award from the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS).
The award is the highest honor bestowed by the AAPS. It recognizes the accomplishments of an individual that have been outstanding because of the impact of his or her work in the pharmaceutical sciences and technologies. The work must have significantly advanced the frontier of the field and must be demonstrated by a continued effort that involves the testing and establishment of basic concepts. These concepts must have important scientific significance and have stimulated research investigations by others.
The award is bestowed only when a worthy candidate is identified, and is presented no more than every two years.
Pikal, a professor of pharmaceutics, is a globally recognized authority on freeze-drying technology. In 2008, he led a team that discovered a way to make a specialized clotting component, used to treat bleeding disorders. The technology was patented.
His current research activities include the solid state chemistry of pharmaceuticals, particularly the stability of amorphous materials, characterization of solids by calorimetry, and the science and technology of freeze drying with a focus on optimization of formulation and process for labile proteins.
As director of the University’s Center for Pharmaceutical Processing Research, Pikal oversees cooperative research projects involving UConn, other major research universities, and the pharmaceutical industry.
Pikal has conducted collaborative research with Pfizer scientists throughout his tenure at UConn. He is currently involved with more than $600,000 of funded research independent of the Pfizer chair.
Pikal served as head of the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences in the School of Pharmacy from 1998 to 2001. From 1972 to 1996, he was a senior research scientist with the Lilly Research Laboratories. He has also been an adjunct professor of pharmaceutics at the University of Michigan and at the University of Minnesota, and an assistant professor of chemistry at the University of Tennessee.
He earned his Ph.D. in physical chemistry from Iowa State University and was a postdoctoral research fellow with the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory from 1966 to 1967.
Pikal has received many awards and honors, including the Ebert Prize (1977) and the PDA’s “best paper of the year” award (1989). He received the Eli Lilly & Co. “Presidents Award” in 1996. Pikal was the Busse Lecturer at the University of Wisconsin in 1983 and the Enz Lecturer at the University of Kansas in 1998.
Pikal is a Fellow of the AAPS, and received the AAPS Research Achievement Award in Pharmaceutical Technologies in 2001.