2016 Mentor of the Year: Francis Szoka

The American Foundation for Pharmaceutical Education(AFPE) announced Francis C. Szoka, PhD as the 2016 recipient of The Mentor of the Year Award. Szoka, professor in the UCSF School of Pharmacy Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences, is the founder of Sequus Pharmaceuticals. His research group utilizes chemical, biophysical, and physiological principles to develop new vaccine, drug, and nucleic acid delivery systems. Szoka’s research group has published over 220 manuscripts, for which they have earned 29 U.S. patents.

Szoka has mentored 28 graduate students and 49 fellows. His AFPE mentees praise him for his enthusiasm, creativity, and leadership. Juliane Nguyen, Assistant Professor, SUNY Buffalo, said, “You are the best mentor I ever had.”

In his usual humorous and self-deprecating manner, Szoka said, “I’d like to thank Les (UCSF Professor Leslie Benet, PhD) for his role in this acknowledgement—if he hadn’t hired me, I’d probably be on the streets of Boston panhandling for research funds.”

Congratulating Szoka, BTS Chair Tejal Desai, PhD, wrote, “Fantastic news, Frank! Well deserved! I was fortunate to also have your thoughtful mentorship throughout my career. The entire BTS Department joins me in congratulating you on this distinguished honor.”

The mission of the American Foundation for Pharmaceutical Education is to advance and support pharmaceutical sciences education at U.S. schools and colleges of pharmacy.


Video, 3m34s: AFPE 2016 Mentor of the Year: Frank Szoka—Hear What His Colleagues and Mentees Have to Say


Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences

About the School: The UCSF School of Pharmacy aims to solve the most pressing health care problems and strives to ensure that each patient receives the safest, most effective treatments. Our discoveries seed the development of novel therapies, and our researchers consistently lead the nation in NIH funding. The School’s doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) degree program, with its unique emphasis on scientific thinking, prepares students to be critical thinkers and leaders in their field.