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University of Maryland Recognizes Polli as MPower Professor

James Polli, PhD, leads multiple intercampus research centers in regulatory science and drug quality.

James Polli, PhD

By Andrew Tie
December 20, 2023

The University of Maryland Strategic Partnership: MPowering the State (MPower) has announced the appointment of six professors, three from the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) and three from the University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP), as MPower Professors.

James Polli, PhD, a professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences (PSC) and the Ralph F. Shangraw/Noxell Endowed Chair in Industrial Pharmacy and Pharmaceutics at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy (UMSOP), was selected for his experience and ongoing collaborations in regulatory science and drug product quality.

Polli is co-director of the University of Maryland Center of Excellence in Regulatory Science and Innovation (M-CERSI) and the Center for Research on Complex Generics (CRCG), both funded by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and director of UMSOP’s MS in Regulatory Science program. In addition to the FDA sponsorships, M-CERSI is a partnership with UMCP and co-director William Bentley, PhD, and CRCG is a partnership with the University of Michigan.


To be considered for the MPower Professorship, faculty must demonstrate collaboration on strategic research that would be unattainable or difficult to achieve by UMB or UMCP acting independently of one another and must embrace the mission of MPower — to collaboratively strengthen and serve the state of Maryland and its citizens.

“Being named an MPower Professor is one of the highlights of my career,” Polli said. “It is a recognition that should also be shared with my many colleagues and collaborators at UMB and UMCP such as Bill Bentley, the University of Michigan, and the FDA. The research and work that goes into regulatory science and drug quality has a great impact on the patients and public health and is truly a team effort.”

Polli’s research is focused on oral drug absorption, specifically maximizing oral bioavailability through formulation and chemical approaches and developing public quality standards for oral dosage forms. He is a fellow of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists and served as an editor of its journal Pharmaceutical Research for 12 years. He has served as the advisor to 24 PhD graduates.

Polli has received numerous awards in his career, including the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists’ Global Leader Award in 2022 and The Organisation for Professionals in Regulatory Affairs’ Education Award in 2021.

“Dr. Polli is an internationally renowned leader and researcher in regulatory science, oral drug absorption, and drug quality, as seen with his many partnerships with government, academia, and industry,” said Sarah L.J. Michel, PhD, dean and professor of the School of Pharmacy. “His focus on strategic research across campuses shows why he is a tremendous selection as an MPower Professor.”

Polli earned his bachelor’s degree in pharmacy from Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science and a PhD in pharmaceutics from the University of Michigan. He has been on faculty at UMSOP since 1993.

“Each of the six MPower Professors selected this year exemplifies a dedication to collaboration, innovation, and discovery” said UMB President Bruce E. Jarrell, MD, FACS. “They positively impact the lives of citizens in Maryland, across the country and around the world through their work to solve major challenges facing society.”

“Reaching across disciplines to tackle complex problems takes tireless commitment, dedication, and innovation,” said UMCP President Darryll J. Pines, PhD, MS. “I’m so thankful to these six professors for demonstrating that we are stronger when we work together, and that addressing the grand challenges of our time requires thinking outside the box.”

MPower Professors will each receive $150,000, allocated over three years, to apply to their salary or to support supplemental research activities. These funds recognize, enable, and support strong collaborations between faculty in the joint research enterprise between UMCP and UMB.

“Dr. Polli is highly deserving of this appointment for his many contributions to research and education programs at the University of Maryland,” said Angela Wilks, PhD, the Isaac E. Emerson Chair of Pharmaceutical Sciences and interim co-chair of PSC. “M-CERSI was the first of its kind in the country and is the standard bearer for other CERSIs around the country.”

The University of Maryland Strategic Partnership: MPowering the State is a collaboration between the state of Maryland’s two most powerful public research institutions UMB and UMCP. It leverages the sizable strengths and complementary missions of both institutions to strengthen Maryland’s innovation economy, advance interdisciplinary research, create opportunities for students, and solve important problems for the people of Maryland and the nation. Working together, UMB and UMCP achieve innovation and impact through collaboration.

The University of Maryland Strategic Partnership Act of 2016 strengthened and formalized the structured relationship between UMB and UMCP, which began in 2012. The law deepens the alliance and enables UMB and UMCP to pursue even greater transformative change and impact, far surpassing what each institution could do independent of the other.

Read more about the MPower Professors.

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