October 2023

Pharmaceutical Researcher Sarah Michel to Lead Pharmacy

October 17, 2023    |  

University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) President Bruce E. Jarrell, MD, FACS, has announced the appointment of Sarah L.J. Michel, PhD, as dean of the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy (UMSOP). 

Sarah Michel, PhD

Sarah Michel, PhD

Since June, Michel has served as interim dean and was previously chair of UMSOP’s Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences (PSC) and associate dean for graduate programs. 

“After an extensive national search, I am thrilled to name Dr. Sarah Michel to lead the School of Pharmacy into its next phase,” Jarrell said. “Dr. Michel brings an immense wealth of experience and knowledge to the role as dean. In her long tenure on campus, she has not only supported the school in an academic manner but has been fully committed to involvement in campus life. We are incredibly excited to welcome Dr. Michel into this role.” 

As a pharmaceutical researcher, Michel is an internationally recognized leader in the field of metals in medicine. Her work has been funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and U.S. Army Research Labs for investigating the roles that metals play in the regulation of chronic inflammation, cancer, and neurodegenerative diseases. 

She also has been active in clinical research through U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) grants and has been closely involved with the Maryland Center of Excellence in Regulatory Science and Innovation. Notably, a recent FDA clinical trial headed by Michel led the FDA to issue new guidance on how generic nanomedicines should be evaluated for approval. In addition, she is part of an FDA-funded PSC and University of Maryland School of Dentistry team of researchers investigating the safety of electronic cigarettes. 

“I am thrilled to take on the role of dean of the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, where I have spent my entire professional career,” Michel said. “I look forward to working closely with our remarkable faculty, staff, and students and leading the school in excellence as we train the pharmacists, pharmapreneurs, and health scientists of the future and engage in cutting-edge, innovative research, practice, and community outreach to improve the human condition.” 

In her nearly 19 years at UMSOP, Michel has been intricately involved in all of the school’s educational aspects, including PhD and MS programs and the Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) program, where she redesigned the core biochemistry course to emphasize clinical applications to pharmacy and led the development of the PharmD research pathway.  

She has mentored dozens of PhD and PharmD students and has a keen understanding of the pharmacy profession, as well as the many roles and career opportunities for today’s UMSOP students. 

“It was an honor to co-lead the search committee for the next dean of the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy,” said James Polli, PhD, the Shangraw/Noxell Chair in Industrial Pharmacy and Pharmaceutics. “The national search yielded a strong candidate pool, and I offer my congratulations to Dr. Michel on her appointment.” 

“As dean of the School of Social Work, I am thrilled to welcome Dean Michel onto our leadership team,” said University of Maryland School of Social Work Dean Judy L. Postmus, PhD, ACSW, who co-led the search committee with Polli. “Her energy and enthusiasm, along with her knowledge about the School of Pharmacy and UMB, will strengthen the school’s research, teaching, and community engagement. I look forward to ways for us to collaborate across our schools and with other schools on campus.” 

Educator and UMB Leader

As an assistant professor, Michel developed “Spring into Maryland Science” with funding from NSF to provide research experiences to students from groups underrepresented in science.  

As director of the school’s PhD in PSC Program, she was instrumental in partnering with the University of Maryland, Baltimore County’s Meyerhoff Scholars program, which led to the successful application in 2022 of an NIH Initiative for Maximizing Student Development T32 grant to train students from groups underrepresented in health-related sciences. 

As a faculty member, Michel has been active at the UMB level. She served as president of the Faculty Senate from 2015 to 2017, where she worked with colleagues in the Staff Senate and Graduate Student Association, as well as UMB leadership, on the UMB Statement of Shared Governance. She also testified in the Maryland General Assembly on behalf of the UMB faculty on legislation that led to the formation of the University of Maryland Strategic Partnership: MPowering the State collaboration with the University of Maryland, College Park. 

Michel received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Cornell University and a PhD in chemistry from Northwestern University. She completed an NIH National Research Service Award postdoctoral fellowship at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. 

Michel succeeds Natalie D. Eddington, PhD, FAAPS, FCP, who stepped down in May after a 15-year tenure as dean.