SPOKANE, Wash.—Richard Okita, Ph.D., a program director with the National Institutes of Health National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), will present the 2018 Allen I. White Lecture at noon on Tuesday, March 13, in the Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Sciences Building Walgreens Auditorium on the WSU Spokane campus.

The lecture titled, “Navigating your life in the biomedical sciences: one person’s perspective,” is hosted by the Washington State University College of Pharmacy in Spokane to provide an opportunity to discuss the scientific, social or political aspects of pharmacy or related matters.

The lecture is open to the public. People planning to attend are asked to click on the following site link to RSVP.

Okita was selected as the 2018 speaker based on his expertise in pharmacology and toxicology and his recognition as a national leader in biomedical sciences research and policy.

Okita is a program director in the Division of Pharmacology, Physiology, and Biological Chemistry of the NIGMS. He currently administers research grants in the areas of drug metabolism and transport, drug-induced toxicology and drug delivery. He also manages the NIGMS pharmacology and clinical pharmacology T32 training grants; F32 postdoctoral fellowships in the pharmacological sciences, anesthesiology, and clinical pharmacology; mentored career development awards in clinical pharmacology; and the Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity (BUILD) Initiative.

“We are so pleased to be welcoming Dr. Okita back to WSU,” Vice-Dean Linda Garrelts MacLean said.  “He was an important part of the college – both for students as well as his faculty colleagues.”

“Dr. Okita is the epitome of NIH program directors,” said Mary Paine, associate professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences. “I will be eternally grateful to him for his never-ending encouragement, advocacy, and sage advice.”

Prior to joining NIGMS in 2001, Okita was a professor of pharmaceutical sciences at WSU. He earned a bachelor’s degree in bacteriology from the University of California, Los Angeles, a doctorate in biochemical pharmacology from the University of Southern California, and conducted postdoctoral research at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Dallas.

Bringing distinguished and renowned speakers to WSU to engage with students and faculty is part of how the College of Pharmacy strives to advance human health through excellence in collaborative research, scholarship and clinical education, and to develop outstanding heath care professionals and scientist.

This lectureship was established in 1979 by College of Pharmacy Professors Charles Martin and Vishnu Batia as a tribute to Dean Allen White. The two professors wanted to do something to honor White upon his retirement in 1979. White did not want a banquet or a scholarship, and suggested the lectureship.

[Lori J. Maricle] 2/28/18