A Message from the Dean

AI offers immense opportunities to advance learning and accelerate research in the UF College of Pharmacy.

By Julie A. Johnson, Pharm.D.

Dear colleagues, alumni and friends,

As we think about innovation in the next five to 10 years, one clear opportunity is to explore the potential power of artificial intelligence. In nearly every sector of the economy, from health care to engineering, AI is transforming the way we live and work. The University of Florida is making AI the centerpiece of a major, long-term initiative that will position the university as a national leader in AI research and its applications, as well as provide students basic competency in AI across all academic majors. AI’s impact can already be seen across campus, with the installation of higher education’s most powerful AI supercomputer, the construction of a new data science building and the hiring of up to 100 new AI-focused faculty within UF’s 16 colleges. The College of Pharmacy will be a major player in this initiative.

In this edition of GATORx magazine, we introduce you to some of the people, places and ideas where the UF College of Pharmacy is exploring AI’s new frontier in pharmacy. More than a dozen pharmaceutical scientists are already using AI tools to fuel drug discovery, design clinical trials and make medications safer — and we’re hiring more AI-trained faculty. These research initiatives will further enhance the pharmacy profession and the pharmaceutical sciences, which is leveraging AI technology across a spectrum of services to support human decision-making and improve patient care. With the synergy surrounding AI comes the need for dedicated space to support AI researchers and students. When the Malachowsky Hall for Data Science & Information Technology opens in 2023, it promises to be UF’s hub for artificial intelligence. The UF College of Pharmacy will occupy a portion of the building — opening the door to new conversations and collaborations among data scientists across campus. 

AI offers immense opportunities to advance learning and accelerate research — two areas that have driven our college to a top 5 national ranking. With that potential before us and UF’s powerful AI infrastructure supporting us, there are no limits to what we can achieve in harnessing this technology to improve human health and solve real-world problems.

Many other great things are happening in the college as well, and we give you a glimpse of those in this edition of GATORx. The past 18 months have certainly had its challenges, but it has also highlighted the creative, resilient and hard working nature of our faculty, staff and students. It has also made clear the underlying support of our alumni and friends. Herein we celebrate our accomplishments and look to a future of even greater impact.

Julie A. Johnson, Pharm.D.

Dean and Distinguished Professor