Award recognizes faculty for distinguished, career-long sustained excellence in scholarship, research or creativity
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – University of Missouri System Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs Bob Schwartz today awarded the sixth of eight UM System President’s Awards to be presented to faculty in 2016 to Ashim K. Mitra, Curators’ Professor of pharmacy at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
Schwartz — in front of colleagues gathered for a faculty meeting — surprised Mitra with the President’s Award for Sustained Career Excellence, which includes a $5,000 prize. The award recognizes faculty for distinguished, career-long sustained excellence in scholarship, research or creativity, for a period of 15 or more years.
Mitra joined the UMKC faculty in 1994 as professor and chair of pharmaceutical sciences in the School of Pharmacy and was named to a prestigious Curators’ Professorship in 2002. Within two years, he was appointed co-director of the Kansas City Vision Research Center in the School of Medicine and as vice provost for interdisciplinary research at UMKC.
For more than two decades, Mitra has conducted extensive research focused on the delivery and targeting of antiviral agents as well as the development of noninvasive delivery systems for peptide and protein drugs. His work has secured more than $7 million in extramural funding leading the school to rank in the top 20 pharmacy programs in the nation in terms of such funding. In addition, he holds nine patients, has graduated more than 55 doctoral students and has mentored 14 post-doctoral scientists.
“Professor Mitra has made substantial contributions to several areas within the pharmaceutical sciences, and has improved the state of knowledge of ocular drug delivery,” wrote former student Sai Boddu, assistant professor of pharmaceutics at the University of Toledo. “His innovations are tangible and have benefited millions of patients worldwide.”
Mitra boasts an outstanding research record, having authored more than 350 primary peer-reviewed research papers and work that has been cited more than ten thousand times. His research accomplishments have led to his service on numerous prestigious scientific committees including the United States Pharmacopeia Ophthalmic Preparation Expert Panel Committee and more than 50 expert review panels for the National Institutes of Health.
“I believe that a distinguished scientist is someone who has not only made a lasting impact on advancement of the knowledge in her or his area, but also one who has taken that passion and enthusiasm for learning and pass that on to students, post-doctoral fellows, and faculty,” wrote nominator Russell Melchert, dean of the UMKC School of Pharmacy. “Dr. Mitra has done that quite well. In fact, I personally find Dr. Mitra’s passion for learning inspirational and contagious.”
The UM System President’s Awards are presented annually to faculty members across the four campuses of the UM System who have made exceptional contributions in advancing the mission of the university. Mitra will be formally recognized by UM System Interim President Michael Middleton during an awards celebration to be held in June.