Alan Forrest, Pharm.D.

Alan Forrest, Pharm.D., 66, a clinical professor at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy and expert in pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamics modeling, died Saturday, Aug. 25, at UNC Hospitals.

“Alan contributed to the field of pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic modeling for well over 30 years as a highly productive and innovative researcher and an educator,” said Dhiren Thakker, Ph.D., interim dean of the School. “He was world renowned for his work on the use of quantitative approaches and mathematical modeling to optimize patient therapy, and he significantly impacted drug development and pharmacotherapy through his contributions in evolving the field of pharmacometrics.

“Alan will be sorely missed by his colleagues in the School and around the world and by students who were his passion.”

Internationally recognized as a leader in the field of pharmacometrics, Forrest joined the School’s Division of Pharmacotherapy and Experimental Therapeutics in 2015. In his career, he gave over 150 invited presentations, co-authored more than 500 peer-reviewed

Alan Forrest, Ph.D., with Elizabeth Lakota, Pharm.D., M.S., and Gauri Rao, Pharm.D., M.S., at the University of Buffalo.
Alan Forrest, Pharm.D., with Elizabeth Lakota, Pharm.D., M.S., and Gauri Rao, Pharm.D., M.S., at the University of Buffalo.

abstracts at national and international scientific symposia and published more than 260 manuscripts with an H-index of 50. His innovative research on quantitative approaches to optimize individual patient therapy, and on advanced applications of pharmacokinetic, pharmacodynamic and toxicodynamic systems analysis, has impacted drug development and pharmacotherapy in significant ways. His research was directed primarily towards the pharmacology of anti-infective agents, but he also contributed significantly to the development of optimal dosage regimens in the treatment of cancer.

Forrest’s pivotal paper linking ciprofloxacin exposures to clinical response in critically ill patients revolutionized antimicrobial drug development. Because of this innovative research, pharmaceutical companies now regularly conduct exposure response analyses for antimicrobials. More recently, Forrest helped establish the current colistin dosing guidelines. In 2016, he was recognized by the International Society of Pharmacometrics with the Lewis B Sheiner Lecture Award, established to recognize outstanding life achievements in research or leadership in pharmacometrics.

“I was a student of Alan’s in Buffalo and experienced first-hand his great love of teaching and mentoring students,“ said Angela Kashuba, Pharm.D., DPET Chair and the John & Deborah McNeill, Jr. Distinguished Professor. “I will miss him dearly, and I know all his colleagues around the world will miss his work, his counsel and his friendship. Dr. Forrest leaves an incredible legacy through the many great scientists he trained.”

Alan Forrest, Ph.D., (center) at the 2016 American Conference on Pharmacometrics with his trainees Michael Trang, Gauri Rao, Samira Garonzik, Liz Lakota, Lance Wollenberg and John Diep.
Alan Forrest, Pharm.D., (center) at the 2016 American Conference on Pharmacometrics with his trainees Michael Trang, Gauri Rao, Samira Garonzik, Liz Lakota, Lance Wollenberg and John Diep.

Forrest was a world renowned pharmacometrician with great insight and expertise for elegantly modeling complex systems. Through his research, he demonstrated that modeling can enable the translation of new approaches into clinical practice to improve the standard of care for patients. Forrest was recognized widely as the expert on adaptive feedback control and individualizing therapy using novel models and methods for ‘individual’ and ‘population’ PK/PD systems analysis. He developed new tools to refine and optimize PK/PD study designs to maximize efficiency and enhance the information gained. He also contributed significantly to the development of new approaches to optimize outcomes in special patient populations by integrating, linking and bridging data generated in vitro, in preclinical models and in humans. Forrest also trained more than 100 students, fellows and visiting research scholars.

“Alan was one of the most dedicated and compassionate mentors I have known,” said Assistant Professor Gauri Rao, Pharm.D. “I worked with Alan as a pharmacy student, fellow and junior faculty and realize that he lived life on his terms until the very end. Alan had endless amounts of energy and passion when it came to work. He was very giving of his time, willing to spend hours to find the solution to a tough modeling problem or explaining a hard to understand concept. He wanted to work seven days a week and issues like school closing due to inclement weather or a national holiday were irritants to him! Alan was worried that he had so much more to contribute and so little time.”

Forrest received his Pharm.D. from the University of Southern California in 1979. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship in clinical pharmacology at the USC School of Medicine’s Laboratory of Applied Pharmacokinetics under the mentorship of Roger Jeliffe, M.D. Forrest held appointments at USC and the University of Maryland at Baltimore before joining the University of Buffalo faculty as director of pharmacometrics and biostatistical analysis in the Department of Pharmacy Practice at the UB School of Pharmacy in 1990. He also held an appointment as a research professor in the Department of Biostatistics of the UB School of Public Health. He served as the senior director of pharmacometrics at the Institute for Clinical Pharmacodynamics in Latham, New York. Since 1997, Forrest also work as an expert adviser in pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics to the Food and Drug Administration in Silver Spring, Maryland.

A Memorial Reception will be held on Friday, August 31, 2018 from 3-5 p.m. at Carolina Inn. For more information please email Sara Pettaway at pettaway@email.unc.edu

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