School of Pharmacy’s Coop Honored with Prestigious AACP Award

The Dr. James E. Wynn Memorial Award recognizes an individual’s commitment to student learning, inspirational leadership and mentorship, collegiality, and service to AACP.

By Malissa Carroll
July 28, 2014

The American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy has named Andrew Coop, PhD, professor and chair of the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences (PSC) at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, as the recipient of its inaugural Dr. James E. Wynn Memorial Award. This award honors the memory of James E. Wynn, PhD, former dean of the South University School of Pharmacy in Savannah, Ga., who passed away in 2012, and recognizes Coop’s superior commitment to student learning, inspirational leadership and mentorship, collegiality, and service to AACP.

“Dr. Coop is a remarkable individual whose energy and enthusiasm for teaching and mentoring the next generation of pharmacists and pharmaceutical scientists permeates every aspect of his professional and personal life,” says Natalie D. Eddington, PhD, FCP, FAAPS, dean and professor of the School of Pharmacy. “He has made significant contributions in scholarly activity, research, and service during his time at the School, leading the growth of his department while maintaining his commitment to student learning in the School’s Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) programs. As a result of his mentorship and guidance, our graduates have gone on to hold important positions in academia, government, and industry. Dr. Coop truly exemplifies the life and legacy of Dr. Wynn, and is most deserving of this prestigious award.”

Coop received his doctorate from the School of Chemistry at the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom. He joined the School of Pharmacy as an assistant professor in 1999, where his research focused on the design and synthesis of new opioid pain relievers with fewer adverse effects. He rose through the ranks to become professor and chair of PSC in 2007. Under his leadership, the department has made significant gains.

“As chair of our department, Dr. Coop has excelled,” says Alexander MacKerell, PhD, the Grollman-Glick Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences and director of the School’s Computer-Aided Drug Design Center, who nominated Coop for the award. “He has overseen a significant increase in the size of the department’s faculty, the implementation of two new master’s programs in pharmacometrics and regulatory science, as well as the relocation of the department into a new building. Although these tasks can often be stressful for faculty, Dr. Coop sets a good example through his direct involvement in the process. His enthusiasm, consideration, and good will have been critical to the department’s continued success.”

As an educator, Coop has participated in 13 courses within the School’s PharmD program, serving as course manager or co-course manager for seven courses. Recently, he assisted with the development and implementation of a new course titled “Applied Pharmaceutical Sciences.” This course is interactively team-taught by two faculty members – a basic scientist and a practicing pharmacist – to demonstrate how science integrates with practice.

“In addition to the praise that it has received from students, the innovative model employed by Dr. Coop’s new course has gained momentum as a form of faculty mentorship, helping to build awareness among faculty of their different disciplines,” adds MacKerell.

In the PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences program, Coop participates in three courses, for which he also serves as both co-course and module manager. His is also an active mentor to the numerous postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, undergraduate students, and high school students who work in his laboratory, several of whom have been named the recipients of prestigious national awards, including the National Institutes of Health’s National Research Service Award.

“Dr. Coop’s influence has had a tremendous impact on the careers of almost every student at the School of Pharmacy,” says Christopher Cunningham, PhD, assistant professor of pharmaceutical sciences at Concordia University Wisconsin School of Pharmacy, and one of Coop’s former graduate students. “He connects with his graduate students on a personal level early in their doctoral experience to discuss long-term career goals, and does not cease to be a mentor, colleague, and friend once a student leaves his laboratory. In fact, Dr. Coop continues to be a source of guidance and wisdom for me in my new career as a young investigator.”

Olgun Guvench, MD, PhD, vice chairman and assistant professor of pharmaceutical sciences at the University of New England College of Pharmacy, and one of the School’s former postdoctoral fellows, adds, “During my time at the School of Pharmacy, I witnessed Dr. Coop consistently set the example for collegiality by treating students and postdoctoral fellows with the same level of warmth and interest that he extended to professors and administrators. I continue to keep in contact with him and have called him on numerous occasions to share my challenges and ask his advice.”

Coop received his award at AACP’s Annual Meeting in Grapevine, Texas on July 27.

“I am humbled to receive this prestigious award,” says Coop. “Dr. Wynn was a truly gifted teacher, an inspirational leader, and a visionary academic. I aim to continue educating pharmacy students and mentoring junior faculty in a way that would make him proud.”

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