First-ever Allen I. White speaker returns to WSU to share his revolutionary research

Leslie Benet with WSU pharmaceutical sciences graduate students.
Leslie Benet (center) with pharmaceutical sciences graduate students.

39 years ago, Leslie Z. Benet was the first-ever presenter for the Allen I. White lectureship. This March, he was welcomed back to the WSU College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences to present his groundbreaking theory on the impact of protein binding and drug transporters on in vitro-in vivo extrapolation (IVIVE), an approach used commonly in drug development to predict the pharmacokinetics of drugs in the body from experimental models. For people studying and working in pharmaceutical sciences, Benet is basically a rock star.

“We grew up reading [Les Benet’s] books,” said pharmaceutical sciences graduate student Shamema Nasrin. “He revolutionized the pharmacokinetic field, so his being here is a big deal! He is a celebrity in the field of science.”

Benet is a professor and former chairman (1978-1998) of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences, University of California San Francisco (UCSF). Before moving to UCSF, Benet served as an assistant professor of pharmacy at WSU. He received his AB, BS and MS from the University of Michigan, and PhD from UCSF. He has received nine honorary doctorates.

Dr. Benet has published over 590 scientific articles and book chapters, holds 12 patents and edited 7 books. Clarivate Analytics lists him among the most highly cited pharmacologists worldwide with his peer reviewed publications referenced on more than 28,000 occasions.

“As an undergrad I read everything he published. His work has been so impactful on my education and I’m so glad that I had a chance to hear him speak,” said Pravita Balijepalli, a pharmaceutical sciences graduate student.

Over 100 students, faculty, researchers and friends of the college gathered in the Walgreens Auditorium at the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences in Spokane earlier this month to attend Benet’s lecture. The Allen I. White lectureship was established on Feb. 12, 1979, by professors Charles Martin and Vishnu Batia as a tribute to Dean Allen White. The two professors wanted to do something to honor Dr. White upon his retirement in 1979. Dr. White did not want a banquet or a scholarship, and suggested the lectureship. The purpose of the lecture is to discuss the scientific, social or political aspects of pharmacy or related matters. Speakers are chosen to reflect Dr. White’s professional philosophy: effective leadership does not simply accept change, but views it as an ongoing professional challenge to be grasped and shaped to meet the needs of society. Dr. Allen I. White served on the pharmacy faculty for 39 years and was Dean of the WSU College of Pharmacy from 1960 to 1979.

Contributions from donors make the Allen I. White lectureship possible. If you are interested in supporting this effort, please visit and search for the Allen I. White lectureship fund.

Past lectures can be found at