CINCINNATI - Daniel Acosta, PhD, dean for the University of Cincinnati College of Pharmacy, will receive the 2006 Award in Excellence of Pharmacology/Toxicology from the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) Foundation. The presentation will be made at the group’s annual meeting April 1 in San Francisco.
The award is given annually to honorees who received a grant from PhRMA at the onset of their career and have gone on to distinguish themselves in research or administration.
“I received my first grant from PhRMA at a critical point in my scientific career,” says Dr. Acosta, a Madeira resident. “I used it to buy equipment for my laboratory and hire my first graduate student. The grant was truly instrumental in my development as a research toxicologist.”
He began his career as a research assistant at the University of Kansas in 1972 following a two-year stint in the army. He then joined the University of Texas faculty for 22 years, where he helped develop a nationally ranked program in toxicology and served as its first director.
In 1996, Dr. Acosta became dean of UC’s College of Pharmacy. Under his leadership, a new four-year, entry-level PharmD program was implemented in 2000. In addition, several new MS/PhD programs have been established at the college, including one of the first national master’s programs in drug development. Resources for research have also increased under his guidance—from $350,000 a year to almost $1.8 million.
Dr. Acosta’s own research has focused on the development of in vitro cell cultures as models for testing and mechanistic studies on drugs and toxicants. He was a key researcher in culturing cells that mimicked the normal tissues from which they were derived, which greatly reduced the need for experimental animal testing. The Society of Toxicology, the largest toxicology organization in the world, honored him for this work with the 2005 Enhancement of Animal Welfare Award.
In addition to being a pioneer in the development of alternative in vitro test methods, Dr. Acosta was successful in maintaining viable cultured cells from multiple sites, including liver, heart, kidney and nervous tissues.
Dr. Acosta has published over 125 original papers in peer-reviewed journals, authored 28 book chapters or reviews and edited three books.
“Dr. Acosta is an inspirational leader to the faculty and students in the College of Pharmacy. He’s made very valuable contributions to research and administration. He’s truly deserving of this honor,” says Jane Henney, MD, senior vice president and provost of UC's Academic Health Center.
Active in numerous scientific, professional and government organizations, Dr. Acosta is currently chairman of the FDA Scientific Advisory Board for the National Center for Toxicology Research, a member of the Committee on Toxicity Testing and Assessment of Environmental Agents for the National Academy of Sciences, and past president of the Society of Toxicology.
“Receiving this award is deeply humbling,” says Dr. Acosta, “especially since as an active administrator I’m no longer directly involved in research. I’m honored that the PhRMA believes my career can be considered one of ‘excellence.’”