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Surprise Party

Professor Ashim Mitra Wins UM System President’s Award

Ashim Mitra being awarded prize

Ashim Mitra, right, discovers he was selected for a President’s Award.
Photo by Janet Rogers / Strategic Marketing and Communications

In a stealth move, School of Pharmacy colleagues surprised Ashim K. Mitra, curators’ professor of pharmacy, with a President’s Award for Sustained Career Excellence.

Mitra was among eight winners of the University of Missouri System President’s Awards to be presented to faculty in 2016; each award includes a $5,000 prize. 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. He and Daniel McIntosh of the UMKC Department of Physics and Astronomy, will be formally recognized by UM System Interim President Michael Middleton during an awards celebration to be held in June.

Mitra’s 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 patents, 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, authoring more than 350 primary peer-reviewed research papers and work that has been cited more than 10,000 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 passed 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.”