William M. Heller Mentor of the Year Award

William M. Heller Mentor of the Year Award

Application is now Open! Deadline to submit is May 3rd!

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The William M. Heller Mentor of the Year is a highly visible award. Mentors are an integral part of AFPE’s mission. The Mentor of the Year is given to the AFPE mentor who exemplifies the characteristics of valuing ongoing learning, a willingness to share expertise, exhibiting enthusiasm in their field, providing guidance with respect, and is nominated by their mentees and colleagues.

William M. Heller (Bill) is a dedicated AFPE Fellow, mentor, global visionary, Remington awardee, Harvey A.K Whitney lecturer and, former AFPE board member, and the former Executive Director of USP. Bill has dedicated his career to drug quality and safety. His outstanding skills as a mentor have impacted those who are fortunate enough to have worked with him throughout his career.

AFPE requests nominations for the William M. Heller Mentor of the Year Award in April, and the winner is announced at the annual AACP meeting. The Mentor of the Year received an etched glass commemorative sculpture and a $1,000 award. 


The 2022 Mentor of the Year Recipient is Peter W. Swaan, University of Maryland

Peter W. Swaan, MPharm, PhD, FAAPS is a Distinguished University Professor, Chair of the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, and Associate Dean for Research and Advanced Graduate Studies at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy. Dr. Swaan has taught professional (PharmD) and graduate students for over twenty-five years and has been on advisory committees of over 50 PhD students. He has mentored numerous postdoctoral scholars and 25 PhDs have graduated under his mentorship who are currently working in academia, pharmaceutical industry, government, and regulatory agencies. Dr. Swaan’s research has focused on all aspects of transport proteins in drug targeting and delivery, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics, and innovative methods for drug delivery, with a special emphasis on nanotechnology platforms aimed at increasing oral drug bioavailability. His major research contributions involve the application of transporters as targets for prodrugs; additionally, Dr. Swaan pioneered the application of computational techniques to determining structural requirements of membrane transporters, thereby paving the way for the rational discovery of novel substrates and inhibitors. His work has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Food and Drug Administration, and various other foundations, non-profits as well as the pharmaceutical industry. He is also an active mentor on several NIH T32 training grants, including the IMSD diversity program. He also coordinates the Clinical Development Fellowship program with AstraZeneca, a two-year post-PharmD program focused on clinical cancer pharmacology in an industrial setting. Dr. Swaan has served on numerous peer review panels for the NIH, including as a permanent member of the XNDA study section. He holds several US patents and served as Editor-in-Chief for the Nature-Springer journal Pharmaceutical Research (IF 4.2) from 2010 to 2021.

Upon hearing of his selection as the 2022 Mentor of the Year, Dr. Swaan noted: “As a graduate student, I volunteered tutoring pharmacy students from immigrant parents and realized that helping students reach their full potential is the true gift of being a teacher. This molded my view of teaching and mentorship which I have carried with me throughout my academic career. I also believe that mentorship does not stop at graduation but is a lifelong commitment that provides its highest rewards when you see your mentees excel and progress during their different career stages.”


Past Mentors of the Year

2019: Kimberly Garza, Auburn University

2018: Kathleen Giacomini, University of California, San Francisco

2017: Gordon Amidon, University of Michigan

2016: Francis Szoka, University of California, San Francisco

2015: Lauren Aleksunes, Rutgers University