Distinguished Alumni and Rising Stars
Each year, Pitt Pharmacy partners with the Alumni Society Board to recognize one or more alumni as "Distinguished Alumni". These women and men have shown exemplary achievements over the course of their careers.
In 2013, Pitt Pharmacy and the Alumni Society Board began a second award, designed to recognize those who are making great achievements while still early in their careers. These are women and men with at least five years of career development past graduation.
Our Current Honorees Distinguished Alumni
Krista M. Pedley, PharmD, MS '00RDML Pedley has participated in numerous deployments, including Hurricane Katrina, the Presidential Inauguration in 2005, and Hurricanes Frances, Ivan and Isabel. RDML Pedley was also a Contributor on the Report to the Surgeon General on Clinical Pharmacy and Co-Author on PHS Pharmacy Prevention Strategy.
Rear Admiral Krista M. Pedley is the Director of the Office of Special Health Initiatives (OSHI) in the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). OSHI provides a crosscutting focal point for HRSA to deliver on population health and Secretarial priorities, especially those that may be more clinical in nature. Specifically, OSHI coordinates and collaborates with components in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that align with the work of OSHI; coordinates HRSA’s work on Long COVID, climate change and environmental justice; serves as the principal advisor within HRSA on global health issues and the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR); provides agency-wide leader-ship and policy development in the administration of the 340B Drug Pricing Program to promote access to clinically and cost effective pharmacy services to the country’s most vulnerable patient populations; serves as the lead on behavioral health issues that span HRSA; provides cross-cutting leadership on HRSA oral health programs; and oversees HRSA’s Commissioned Corps Affairs. She previously served as the Director of the Office of Pharmacy Affairs (OPA) for over eleven years where she led the administration of the 340B Drug Pricing Program, where over 700 drug manufacturers provide discounted outpatient drugs to safety-net clinics and hospitals that purchase approximately $44 billion in 340B drugs annually. The 340B Program spans HHS and focuses on drug pricing transparency and reducing the cost of medications for the country’s most vulnerable safety-net patient populations.
RDML Pedley began her career as a pharmacist with the United States Public Health Service in May 2000. She was assigned to the Food and Drug Administration, Office of Generic Drugs, as a Project Manager for Bioequivalence and then as Medical Affairs Coordinator reviewing topical drug protocol design. After five years, RDML Pedley transferred to HRSA and then the Office of the Secretary of Health and Human Services, where she served as Senior Public Health Analyst for the National Bioterrorism Hospital Preparedness Program (NBHPP). In 2007, RDML Pedley began working with OPA, where she led a national collaborative that focused on integrating clinical pharmacy services into primary care to improve the health of patients with multiple chronic conditions. She then became the Director of OPA in July 2010 and was promoted to Rear Admiral and Assistant Surgeon General in February 2020.
RDML Pedley received her Doctor of Pharmacy degree at the University of Pittsburgh in 2000 and her Master of Science in Engineering Management and Systems Engineering, with a Concentration in Crisis, Emergency and Risk Management, from The George Washington University in 2008. She is also a 2011 graduate of the Public Health Leadership Institute (PHLI) Scholar Program.
RDML Pedley is the recipient of numerous awards, including an Exceptional Promotion to Captain in 2015, the Meritorious Service Medal in 2018, the PHS Commendation Medal in 2012, 2009, 2005, and the APhA Foundation Pinnacle Award in 2016 and 2011.
Dr. Lisa Rohan '95
Dr. Rohan is a Professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences in the School of Pharmacy. She also holds appointments in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences in the School of Medicine and the Clinical Translational Science Institute at the Univerisity of Pittsburgh. Additionally, she is an Investigator at the Magee Womens Research Institute. Dr. Rohan serves as co-principal investigator for the Microbicide Trials Network Laboratory, an HIV/AIDS clinical trials network established by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH). This network encompasses an international team of investigators and community and industry partners from seven countries and three continents. She obtained a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from West Virginia University and a Ph.D. in Pharmaceutics from the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy. After completion of her Ph.D. work Dr. Rohan completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences in the area of Mucosal Immunology at the University of Pittsburgh.
The basis of Dr. Rohan’s research lies in the area of drug delivery. Her lab has a major focus in the design of mucosal drug delivery systems including vaginal and cervical drug delivery as applied in the areas of infectious disease and gynecologic oncology. Particular interests are in studying the role of chemical, physical, and biological properties of mucosal tissues and fluids in pharmaceutical product development. The group has developed a number of biologically relevant dissolution methods which can assist in predicting product functionality in vivo. An additional focus of the lab lies in generating a better understanding of drug transport and metabolism in the female lower reproductive tract and other mucosal tissues.
The Rohan Pharmaceutics Laboratory is involved in a number of stages of product development including preclinical drug candidate evaluation, formulation development, preclinical formulation assessment, scale-up, and introduction to early clinical trials. The lab has developed a number of products which have been advanced through IND to Phase I clinical testing including several topical pre-exposure prophylactic products for use against Sexually Transmitted Diseases and HIV. The work by her research team has also generated optimized imaging techniques for sentinel node identification in cervical cancer as well as novel delivery systems for chemotherapeutic agents.
Virginia (Ginny) Schmith ‘89
Virginia (Ginny) Schmith received her B.S. Pharmacy (1984) and Ph.D. in the Clinical Pharmaceutical Scientist program (1989) from the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy. She worked for GSK (and predecessor companies) for 26 years doing clinical pharmacology and pharmacometrics for investigational drugs throughout drug development. After leaving GSK in 2015, Ginny began consulting at Nuventra Pharma Sciences for almost 7 years and eventually semi-retired in December 2021. She continues to consult part-time with small companies within her own company (Schmith PK/PD Consulting LLC). Over 33+ years, she has actively contributed to clinical strategy across all phases of drug development across numerous therapeutic areas: anesthesia, cardiovascular, pulmonary, gastrointestinal, central nervous system, dermatology, cancer, inflammation, antibiotics, antivirals, and rare diseases, and has actively contributed to the approval of 15+ drugs. Dr. Schmith has been an Adjunct Professor at UNC-CH Eshelman School of Pharmacy since 1989 and recently become a Courtesy Clinical Professor at the University of Florida School of Pharmacy. Ginny has published 50 peer-reviewed articles and reviews in international scientific journals in addition to over 70 published abstracts; she has authored 5 patents; and is an active member of the American Society of Clinical Pharmacology and the International Society of Pharmacometrics. Ginny has maintained her pharmacy license and volunteered with the COVID vaccine effort in Florida.
Mehul Mehta ‘86
Dr. Mehta is the Director, DNP (Division of Neuropsychiatric Pharmacology), OCP (Office of Clinical Pharmacology), in CDER (Center for Drug Evaluation and Research), FDA. With a current staff of about 28 PhDs, his division is responsible for reviewing the clinical pharmacology aspects of the Neurological, Psychiatric, Analgesic, Anesthetic, and Addiction drug products from pre-IND (Investigational New Drug) to post-NDA (New Drug Application) stages. He obtained his M.Sc. from University of Bombay in Synthetic Organic Chemistry in 1979, M.S. from University of Houston in Medicinal Chemistry in 1981, and his Ph.D. in Pharmacokinetics from the University of Pittsburgh in 1986 and joined FDA as a reviewer the same year. He has been in his current position for last 22 years over which period he has contributed significantly to the approval of hundreds of NDAs. In addition to his review oversight, administrative, and management responsibilities, he continues to play a significant role in broad based regulatory needs. For example, he represented the agency as the FDA Lead Expert on the ICH M9 EWG for BCS (Biopharmaceutics Classification System) based biowaivers guideline that was finalized in 2021; co-chair of the CDER NTI (Narrow Therapeutic Index) WG; founding co-chair and current member of the CDER BCS Committee; member of the CDER Lifecycle Management Board; co-chair of the FDA-EUFEPS-AAPS sponsored GBHI (Global Bioequivalence Harmonization Initiative) workshop; member of the FIP BCS SIG, etc. Current regulatory research interests include potential of biomarkers as confirmatory efficacy evidence for therapeutics to treat major unmet needs like Alzheimer’s disease, ALS, etc.; therapeutic equivalence of complex modified release products; NTI designation of drug products; adult to pediatric efficacy extrapolation in various indications; possible extension of BCS based biowaivers, and the CDER MIDD (Model Informed Drug Development) initiative. He has authored numerous publications and book chapters, has led WGs for the FDA ‘Hepatic Impairment’ guidance and SUPAC MR guidance, and has been a key member for several more guidance WGs. He is a charter member of AAPS and was recognized as AAPS Fellow in 2012.
Robert Monte ‘79
A Supervisory Program Specialist in the Office of Healthcare Transformation (OHT) in Veterans Affairs Central Office. He was previously Director of the Veterans Engineering Resource Center (VERC) at the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System and the Acting National VERC Director. He developed the grant that supported the Pittsburgh VERC and was one of four centers selected in a competitive review process among applications from 23 VA Medical Centers across the country.
He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy in 1979 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Pharmacy and the University of Pittsburgh Katz Graduate School of Business in 1992 with a Master of Business Administration (MBA). His pharmacy career includes staff, supervisory, and clinical pharmacist positions over the past 43 years in professional clinical settings including inpatient and outpatient hospital pharmacy, retail, and specialty mail order pharmacy.
Mr. Monte developed the Pharmacology Curriculum for Chatham University Physician Assistant and Doctor of Physical Therapy programs and taught there for 17 years as an Adjunct Professor of Pharmacology. He is also Program Director for the University of Pittsburgh Health School of Engineering Systems Engineering Course and guest lecturer in the School of Pharmacy Healthcare Innovations Course.
His 38-year VA career includes work as a Supervisory Pharmacist, Manager Medical Specialty Service Line, Advanced Clinical Access and Systems Redesign Coordinator, Network Telemedicine Coordinator, and his current position. Mr. Monte has lead Systems Redesign teams, presented, and served as faculty at the local, Network and National level in the Veterans Healthcare System. He has worked part time as a specialty pharmacist at CVS Specialty for 25 years.
His current interest is in improving healthcare processes using simulation, technology, project management, data analytics and Lean. He has developed game-based learning programs to teach a wide variety of content across VHA. He led the VERC effort in developing a lung nodule tracking tool for the VHA National Lung Cancer Screening trial and Prostate Cancer Tracking Tool. He led the VERC effort in the VHA National My VA Access Program from Fiscal Year 2015-17 and is currently working to implement the PACT Act in VHA as a Senior FAC-PPM Project Manager.
James Steck ’72
James was born in Pittsburgh in a working-class family and grew up in North Huntingdon Township, graduating from Norwin High School in 1967. After high school, he went to the University of Pittsburgh and did two years of pre-pharmacy at the Greensburg campus. He was the first in his family to attend college. Upon graduation from Pitt’s School of Pharmacy and becoming licensed in 1972, he worked for 2 years in retail at an independent pharmacy in Butler, PA. In 1974, he enrolled in a Drug Information Program at Case Western Reserve University’s School of Library Science. After getting a master’s degree, he moved to the Chicago area and was employed by a number of different pharmaceutical companies. He worked in several different functional areas including medical Information/medical writing, clinical research and clinical project management, regulatory affairs, and scientific assessment of licensing opportunities. At the end of his career he held the position of Director of Regulatory Affairs at Abbott Laboratories (now Abbvie), with responsibilities for Humira rheumatology submissions to the Food and Drug Administration, resulting in approvals for rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis.
Our Current Honorees Rising Stars
Sajid Ahmed ’14
Sajid Ahmed is an Associate Director in Global Medical Affairs at Daiichi Sankyo. In his current role, Sajid is the lung cancer lead for an early-stage oncology program and is responsible for leading global medical strategy in lung cancer indications including scientific engagement, evidence generation, medical information and education, and publications.
Prior to joining Daiichi Sankyo, Sajid had previous experience with Loxo Oncology, Allergan, and Pfizer in multiple functional areas. He most recently served as Associate Director, Pipeline Medical Affairs at Loxo Oncology where he had responsibility across the portfolio, including targeted therapies for non-small cell lung cancer.
Sajid was a co-founder of the Student Industry Organization at the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Pharmacy. The goal of this organization is to educate pharmacy students about career options in the pharmaceutical industry and to prepare students for a fellowship upon graduation.
Sajid graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a PharmD and went on to complete a post-doctoral fellowship in medical affairs strategy with Rutgers University and Pfizer.
Joe Fiore ’14
Joseph Fiore (PharmD ’14) is a Sr. Director, Clinical Development Lead with global pharmaceutical company Bristol Myers Squibb in Princeton, NJ. In this role, Joe is responsible for the clinical trial strategy of immunotherapies for the treatment of lung cancer and mesothelioma. His research has led to FDA and global drug approvals and is published in journals including New England Journal of Medicine and Lancet Oncology. As a student, Joe founded the Student Industry Organization at Pitt with classmate Sajid Ahmed to help students learn about pharmaceutical industry careers, and Joe remains active with this group through student mentoring, creation of scholarship opportunities, and lecturing in the newly-formed Industry elective course. Joe is a past-member of the school’s Alumni Advisory Board.
Jennifer Bacci ‘11
Dr. Bacci is the Endowed Associate Professor of Innovative Pharmacy Practice at the University of Washington School of Pharmacy (UWSOP) in Seattle, Washington. Her research focuses on the application of implementation science to evaluate and advance the adoption of innovative patient care models in community pharmacy practice. She has investigated the implementation of a variety of community pharmacy-based patient care services and practice management supports, including childhood and adult vaccinations, point-of-care testing, chronic disease management, pharmacist prescribing, and medical billing.
Dr. Bacci remains highly engaged in practice as a member of the Washington State Pharmacy Association (WSPA) Board of Directors, a Network Facilitator for CPESN WA, a clinically integrated network of independent pharmacies in Washington State, and as a leader in the Academic-CPESN Transformation (ACT) Pharmacy Collaborative, a nationwide collaboration to support and facilitate community pharmacy practice transformation efforts.
Dr. Bacci has been honored with the 2021 Albert B. Prescott Pharmacy Leadership Award and 2019 Washington State Distinguished Young Pharmacist of the Year Award. Dr. Bacci and her research collaborators have been recognized with the 2018 NAIIS “Immunization Neighborhood” Adult Immunization Champion Award and 2018 American Pharmacist Association Immunization Champion Award.
Dr. Bacci completed her PharmD at PittPharmacy in 2011 followed by followed by a PGY-1 Community-based Pharmacy Residency with PittPharmacy and Rite Aid. After working full-time in community practice, she returned to PittPharmacy to complete a two-year Community Pharmacy Research Fellowship and Master’s in Public Health.
Corey DeLuca ‘11
Corey (Baron) DeLuca earned her Doctorate of Pharmacy degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy in 2011, and has spent the last 11 years practicing as a managed care pharmacist at Highmark, Inc., a health insurance organization serving more than 6 million members and the fourth-largest Blue Cross Blue Shield-affiliated organization in the country. Upon graduating from Pitt, she joined Highmark Inc. as a PGY-1 managed care pharmacy resident and went on to assume various clinical and leadership roles throughout her tenure. Prior to graduation, Corey cultivated an interest and passion for managed care pharmacy working as an intern in the clinical operations department at CVS Caremark, a national Pharmacy Benefits Manager (PBM).
In her current role as Vice President of Clinical & Specialty Pharmacy Services, Corey is responsible for overseeing the strategic development and implementation of Highmark’s clinical and specialty drug management programs across the pharmacy and medical benefits including formulary and utilization management, manufacturer relations, specialty pharmacy partnerships and analytics. Her department’s mission is to ensure the safe and appropriate use of medications for Highmark members throughout their healthcare journey and deliver programs that improve medication accessibility and affordability. She is also responsible for directing Highmark’s evidence-based medicine (EBM) drug evaluation and rebate administration programs, which are utilized by other health plan clients nationwide. One recent innovation that Corey is incredibly proud to be part of, along with the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and other Blues plans nationwide, is being a founding contributing member to CivicaScript, a non-profit generic drug manufacturer dedicated to bringing lower-cost generic medicines to U.S. consumers.
Corey currently resides in Pittsburgh, PA with her husband and recent new addition to the family, a daughter born in September 2022.
Sandeep Devabhakthuni ‘09
Sandeep Devabhakthuni, PharmD, BCCP is an associate professor at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy and a clinical pharmacy specialist at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, MD. He practices in the area of advanced heart failure and cardiac transplantation. He is also the Director of Postgraduate Training for the residency and fellowship programs at the University of Maryland.
Sandeep received his Bachelor of Engineering in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh School of Engineering in Pittsburgh, PA and Doctor of Pharmacy from the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy in Pittsburgh, PA. He then completed a PGY1 pharmacy practice residency at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, MD and a cardiology/critical care specialty residency at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in Pittsburgh, PA. He is a board-certified pharmacotherapy specialist in cardiology.
Sandeep’s practice and research interests include sedation practices in critically ill patients, appropriate use of cardiovascular medications, and postgraduate training. In 2015, he co-founded the Applied Therapeutics, Research, and Instruction at the University of Maryland (ATRIUM) collaborative, which is dedicated to managing patients with cardiovascular disease. He has published over 30 peer-reviewed articles and 3 book chapters as well as delivered over 40 national oral and poster presentations. He is a Past President of the Maryland Society of Health-System Pharmacy (MSHP) and Past Chair for the American Society of Health System Pharmacists’ Section of Inpatient Care Practitioners’ Educational Steering Committee. He has been awarded Pharmacist of the Year by MSHP in 2013, Preceptor of the Year in 2016, and Teacher of the Year by the Doctor of Pharmacy Classes of 2018 and 2020 at the University of Maryland.
Megan Langer ’11
Dr. Megan Langer, PharmD, BCOP, graduated from the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy in 2011. Having always been passionate about oncology, she started her pharmacist career as an outpatient oncology pharmacist at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) Hillman Cancer Center, while also picking up shifts on the inpatient oncology service at UPMC Shadyside Hospital. In late 2016, Dr. Langer went on to pursue a clinical career and became board certification in oncology, and worked as a hematology clinical pharmacy specialist at Allegheny Health Network (AHN) where she specialized in outpatient hematologic malignancies at the Division of Hematology and Cellular Therapy. Throughout her career, Dr. Langer has served as a preceptor for students of University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy and PGY1 and PGY2 pharmacy residents. Dr. Langer has authored or co-authored several oncology publications in national journals, and in 2021, Dr. Langer was twice recognized nationally as she was the recipient of the Hematology Oncology Pharmacy Association (HOPA) Patient Advocacy Award, and the Association for Value Based Cancer Care (AVBCC) 40 Under 40 in Cancer Award. Dr. Langer currently is a Medical Science Liaison for Bristol Myers Squibb, where she specializes in myeloid hematologic malignancies. She lives in Pittsburgh, PA and enjoys exercise, traveling and spending time with her two sons and her husband.
Margie Snyder ‘06
Dr. Margie E. Snyder is a Professor of Pharmacy Practice at the Purdue University College of Pharmacy. Dr. Snyder completed her Doctor of Pharmacy, PGY-1 community pharmacy residency, Master of Public Health, and community practice research fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh. Her scholarship is focused on community pharmacist practice advancement. Her expertise is in collaboration with practice-based research networks (PBRNs) and the application of qualitative and mixed-methods. She founded and directs a community pharmacy PBRN (Rx-SafeNet). Dr. Snyder has been almost continuously federally funded since 2010, first receiving a KL2 award from the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute, followed by K08, R21, and R18 awards from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). Her total extramural funding support to date equals approximately $2.5 million as a Principal Investigator and she has published over 50 peer-reviewed journal articles. In 2021, she was appointed as a standing member to the NIH Organization and Delivery of Health Services study section for a 4-year term.
Michael Tortorici ‘07
Michael Tortorici is currently the Vice President of Nonclinical Development and Clinical Pharmacology at Aro Biotherapeutics in Philadephia, Pennsylvania. In his current role, Michael is responsible for taking molecules from Discovery into Development with a focus on Pharmacology, Toxicology, Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics, Bioanalytical Sciences and Clinical Pharmacology. Aro Biotherapeutics developing a patented platform technology called Centyrins that are uniquely positioned to achieve precise targeting of diverse therapeutic payloads to specific cells of interest. Our initial efforts are focused on discovering and developing Centyrin-oligonucleotide conjugate therapies that are meant to address one of the greatest challenges facing oligonucleotide-based medicines today: targeted delivery of oligonucleotides to extra-hepatic tissues. Reporting to the CEO of Aro, he has the ability to drive strategy and future direction of the companies R&D pipeline.
Michael began his career at Pfizer in 2007, where he was a Clinical Pharmacologist working in Oncology Therapeutic Area. He worked on the New Drug Application for Inlyta®, indicated for 2nd line metastatic renal cell carcinoma. He then switched therapeutic areas and joined a late-stage development group called Specialty Care focused on Immunology, Kidney Disease, and Transplant. In 2014, he joined CSL Behring as Director of Clinical Pharmacology working on biologics in the area of rare disease. At CSL Behring, he had the opportunity to work on 5 successful Biologics License Application’s for Privigen® and Hizentra® indicated for treatment of Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy, HAEGAARDA® indicated for prophylaxis to prevent Hereditary Angioedema attacks, Idelvion® for on-demand treatment and control of bleeding episodes in patients with Hemophilia B, and Afstyla® for on-demand treatment and control of bleeding episodes in patients with Hemophilia A. During his tenure at CSL he was head of the Clinical Pharmacology & Pharmacometrics group for 3 years building an international team across the US and Europe.
Michael received his PharmD in 2002 and his PhD in 2007 from the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy. He currently serves an Advisory Council Member for the College of Pharmacy at the University of Texas and has been the Chair of the Quantitative Pharmacology Network in the American Society of Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics. He has published over 50 papers and is currently an Associate Editor of the journal Pharmacometrics and Systems Pharmacology.