Distinguished faculty awardee shares credit with students

Dr. Mamoun Alhamadsheh and students

Dr. Mamoun Alhamadsheh and students 

Professor of Pharmacy Mamoun M. Alhamadsheh is as honored to be selected from more than 825 colleagues as the recipient of University of the Pacific’s annual Distinguished Faculty Award as he is pleased to share the credit with his students.

“I feel proud, for my students, my colleagues, my university and myself, but especially for the students,” Alhamadsheh said. “They are dedicated to their studies and research. I share this award with them.”

The Distinguished Faculty Award, presented since the 1970s, is the university's highest faculty honor recognizing exemplary accomplishments in the areas of teaching, research and service.

In addition to his teaching, Alhamadsheh is only the third Pacific professor in the past two decades to receive an R01 grant—the highest-level competitive research grant awarded by the National Institutes of Health. 

The $1.7 million grant has Alhamadsheh working with a rotating team of seven students over five years to try to develop an antidote for opioid overdoses that lasts longer than the drug Narcan currently does. The effort aims to decrease the number of deaths from such drugs as fentanyl.

Graduate student Hala Aldawod ’24 said the research is empowering and will save lives.

“One motivation to get into this research was the high number of students across the nation who have been impacted by opioids,” she said. “We all want to do more to help these kids. When we found out about the NIH award, it changed everything for our lab. It gave us a boost and made us realize our work could be transformational.”

Graduate student Rasha Emara ’25 added the researchers thrive in the team approach led by Alhamadsheh.

“I was not expecting to come to the lab one day to find out we had the opportunity to build our research from a huge NIH grant. These awards are so rare and prestigious,” she said. “It massively changed how we look at things and what we can accomplish.”

Alhamadsheh said the work his research students do will carry into their careers.

"We are trying to tailor these students for the future,” he said. “We teach them to be practice ready so that what they learn can be used in life.”

Alhamadsheh joined the university faculty in 2011.

“Professor Alhamadsheh and his graduate students are conducting groundbreaking research aided by a prestigious grant,” said Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Gretchen Edwalds-Gilbert. “Opioid overdoses are very common, including among college-age students. This research has the potential to significantly reduce mortality from opioid overdoses. Mamoun is very deserving of our annual award for faculty excellence.”