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Faculty Spotlight: Denis J. Meerdink, PhD

Feb 6, 2019

Denis J. Meerdink, PhD, associate professor of physiology and pharmacology and associate dean for student affairs and organizations, has witnessed the evolution of the Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences over almost three decades. One thing that has remained constant is the School's reputation for producing leaders. One example he shared was the number of alumni who have served as president of the California Pharmacists Association or American Pharmacists Association. "It has been a pleasure shepherding them along," said Dr. Meerdink.

Before coming to Pacific, Dr. Meerdink was the director of a nuclear cardiology research lab at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. Dr. Meerdink pursued a faculty position at Pacific because he wanted to have more interactions with students. He joined the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology in 1990.

He served as dean of Graduate Studies and Research from 1996 to 2006. Under his leadership, he strengthened the recruitment and admissions process, as well as bolstered the processes for thesis and dissertation research. Dr. Meerdink currently serves as associate dean for student affairs and organizations. He stepped into the role following the retirement of Donald G. Floriddia '71, PhD. Dr. Meerdink shared that it has been an honor to follow in the footsteps of his colleague and friend.

For over a decade Dr. Meerdink has been actively involved in the California Pharmacy Student Leadership program, known as CAPSLEAD, which hosts an annual leadership conference that brings together pharmacy students from across California. 

Over the course of his career, he has seen a shift in physiology. As a student, he was taught the classical approach to physiology, which is focused on the interactions between organ systems. Today physiology delves into the functions and mechanisms on a molecular level. Dr. Meerdink views the "explosion of knowledge" as both a challenge and an opportunity. "Students have to learn to be their own teachers," Dr. Meerdink said. 

Upon his retirement this summer, he plans to travel with his wife, Pam. They plan to visit friends in New England and their three daughters who live across the United States.

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about the author

Anne Marie H. Bergthold  

Anne Marie H. Bergthold is the Marketing Coordinator for Pacific's Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy.

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