Two School of Pharmacy Faculty Announced as 2023 AAPS Award Winners

Raman Bahal has been awarded the Emerging Leader Award and Diane Burgess, the Alice E. Till Advancement of Women in Pharmaceutical Sciences Recognition.

The mission of American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS) is to advance pharmaceutical research that will improve global health. AAPS recognizes and celebrates the scientists responsible for these practices. Every year, a select few are awarded for the positive contributions they’ve had on the pharmaceutical sciences community.

Raman Bahal, Associate Professor of Pharmaceutics, has received the Emerging Leader Award which honors a pharmaceutical professional who is early on in their career yet has made significant pharmaceutical improvements for public health. The Emerging Leader Award recipient is someone who AAPS believes is a future global leader.

Bahal has not only demonstrated leadership but has made significant pharmaceutical advancements. Bahal’s research focuses on gene-targeting and creating targeted delivery system for cancer-fighting drugs that will localize to affected organs. Beyond his work in the lab Bahal was awarded tenure early, at the end of a five-year assistant professorship rather than the traditional six; he was declared a “rising star” by the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Technology & Education (NIPTE); he was selected for a Charles H. Hood Foundation award; and he received UConn’s Excellence in Research & Creativity: Early Career Award from the American Association of University Professors (AAUP). Most recently, Bahal received the 2023 Oligonucleotide Therapeutic Society (OTS) Young Investigator Award. He has also published manuscripts in several high-profile journals.  Because of his impressive work as an innovator, researcher, and leader, Bahal embodies this award as a role model for anyone who wants to pursue a career in pharmaceutical sciences.

“I am humbled and honored to receive this recognition from AAPS and very grateful to the selection committee for recognizing our team’s efforts to contribute to pharmaceutical sciences,” says Bahal. “We will continue to strive to develop genetic medicine for treating dreadful diseases.”

Diane Burgess, Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor of Pharmaceutics, Pfizer Distinguished Endowed Chair in Pharmaceutical Technology, has been honored with the Alice E. Till Advancement of Women in Pharmaceutical Sciences Recognition. This award recognizes a pharmaceutical professional who has contributed significantly to the mentorship and advancement of women in the pharmaceutical sciences. The recipient of this award makes a positive impact in the promotion of women’s professional development, success, and recognition in pharmaceutical sciences.

Burgess has served as a researcher, educator, and mentor throughout her 30 years at the school. Burgess works closely with student researchers in her four labs and has also helped establish the School of Pharmacy’s Traditional Chinese Medicine Study Abroad Program which provides students with an opportunity to learn about traditional eastern medicine. Burgess has been recognized for commitment to her students, having received the UConn’s Outstanding Teacher of the Year award in 1992 and 2005. In 2014, the AAPS honored her with their Research Achievement Award in Formulation Design and Development, as well as the AAPS Outstanding Educator Award. Burgess was the 2002 AAPS President. Burgess’s work demonstrates her dedication, mentorship, and support for her students.

“It is my distinct honor to receive this recognition from AAPS,” says Burgess. “Mentoring has always been a great passion of mine to empower junior scientists and foster their success. I have a keen interest to increase diversity and inclusivity, and in particular to help women succeed and create opportunities to compete on a level playing field”.

Bahal and Burgess will receive their awards at the AAPS PharmSci 360 conference, on October 22-25 in Orlando, Florida.