Penzak Named Pharmacy Practice Department Head

Scott Penzak head shot graphic

August 28, 2018

AUBURN, Alabama – Dr. Scott Penzak has been named the department head and professor for the Harrison School of Pharmacy’s Department of Pharmacy Practice, Dean Richard Hansen announced Tuesday. Penzak has 13 years of experience as a researcher with the National Institutes of Health and nine years of academic experience at the University of North Texas and Mercer University. He will officially take his new post on December 1, 2018.

“I’m thrilled to have Dr. Penzak joining the Harrison School of Pharmacy leadership team,” said Hansen. “His robust research experience combined with established leadership experience will help to propel the department and school on multiple fronts.”

Penzak is a 1990 graduate of Ferris State University with a bachelor of science degree in pharmacy. He went on to complete his Pharm.D. at Wayne State University in 1996. Upon graduation, Penzak was a research fellow for two years at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, studying infectious diseases pharmacology.

Since 2014, Penzak has been on faculty at the University of North Texas Health Sciences Center in the College of Pharmacy. Since his arrival, he has served as professor and vice chair of the Department of Pharmacotherapy while also serving as interim associate dean for academic affairs from 2016-17.

“I am extremely excited to move to Auburn. It is a privilege to be able to lead such a talented group of faculty members,” said Penzak. “Together, I believe we can make a huge impact on advancing pharmacy practice through research, education, and clinical service.”

With that focus on making an impact on advancing pharmacy practice, Penzak is looking forward to working with the HSOP faculty and educating students through the Practice Ready Curriculum.

“The outstanding faculty and rich academic tradition of a top pharmacy school immediately drew me to this position,” said Penzak. “I’m looking forward to working with faculty on scholarly endeavors and continuing to ensure that Auburn’s practice-ready graduates are among the best in the nation at providing pharmaceutical care.” 

Prior to his arrival at North Texas, Penzak spent 13 years as the director of the Clinical Pharmacokinetics Research Laboratory (CPRL) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland. He also spent three years (1998-2001) as an assistant professor of pharmacy practice at Mercer University.

“Dr. Penzak is an established leader and researcher in the profession. I’m particularly excited about his vision for mentoring and stimulating clinical and translational research,” said Hansen. “I believe he will be a visionary and collaborative leader to advance the school, particularly in the area of research.”

Penzak’s research has focused mainly on pharmacokinetics, pharmacogenetics, drug-drug, and drug-herb interactions with antiretroviral medications. From a clinical pharmacy service perspective, he routinely assists clinicians with therapeutic drug monitoring and drug interaction management in HIV-infected patients.

While with the NIH, Penzak was the director of the Clinical Pharmacokinetic Research Laboratory (CPRL), a unit that assists clinical investigators in the design, analysis, and interpretation of pharmacokinetic studies. The CPRL supports NIH scientists in several major areas of pharmacokinetic research, including drug interaction studies and characterization of drugs with nonlinear disposition. While director of the CPRL, he received three Directors Awards at NIH for scientific achievement (2005, 2013) and patient care (2012). In 2008 he was a recipient of the NIH Mentoring Award.

With research funding from organizations such as the NIH, American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, Keryx Pharmaceuticals, and others, Penzak has generated more than 150 publications. He also serves on the editorial boards for publications such as the Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, Pharmacotherapy, European Journal of Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics, and the International Journal of Pharmacokinetics. In 2017, Penzak was recognized as a Fellow in the American College of Clinical Pharmacology.

The Department of Pharmacy Practice at HSOP promotes the safe and effective use of medications, with a goal of improving the health of Alabama citizens. The department’s primary focus is the development, implementation, and enhancement of innovative pharmacy practice models within Alabama communities which improves the quality of life.

The department is comprised of more than 40 faculty members, each of whom is assigned to geographic regions throughout Alabama, including Huntsville, Tuscaloosa, Birmingham, Montgomery, Auburn, Mobile, and Columbus, Georgia.


About the Harrison School of Pharmacy

Auburn University’s Harrison School of Pharmacy is ranked among the top 20 percent of all pharmacy schools in the United States, according to U.S. News & World Report. Fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), the School offers doctoral degrees in pharmacy (Pharm.D.) and pharmaceutical sciences (Ph.D.) while also offering a master’s in pharmaceutical sciences. For more information about the School, please call 334.844.8348 or visit

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Last Updated: August 28, 2018