Sipes Retires After 38 Years With College of Medicine
I. Glenn Sipes, head of the UA's department of pharmacology since 1993, was founding director of the UA's Center for Toxicology.

By Janet Stark, Arizona Health Sciences Center
July 20, 2011


After 38 years of distinguished academic service to the University of Arizona, I. Glenn Sipes retired June 30. Most recently Sipes served as head of the department of pharmacology in the UA College of Medicine, a position he held since 1993.

A graduate of the University of Cincinnati and the University of Pittsburgh, Sipes was recruited to the UA pharmacology department from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute in 1973. Shortly after, he also was appointed assistant professor of toxicology and of anesthesiology. His academic responsibilities increased further in 1982, when he was appointed head of the department of pharmacology and toxicology in the College of Pharmacy. While in that position he served as founding director of the Center for Toxicology and the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center. 

"Glenn's unbridled enthusiasm to have toxicology expand at the University of Arizona resulted in our having a regents-approved Center for Toxicology as well as 16 years of federal support for our toxicology center, 22 years for our Superfund Program, and almost 30 years for our toxicology training grant," said A. Jay Gandolfi, associate dean for research and graduate studies at the College of Pharmacy and professor in the department of pharmacology and toxicology. "His vision resulted in the University of Arizona having one of the top toxicology programs in the country."

In 1993, Sipes also was appointed to head the department of pharmacology in the College of Medicine. He held these dual positions until 2001, at which time he decided to reduce his administrative duties and serve solely as the head of the department of pharmacology. During his tenure at the UA he trained 32 master's degree and 30 doctoral degree students and mentored 28 postdoctoral fellows. He successfully mentored several junior faculty, who have established successful careers at the UA and elsewhere.

"Glenn has always put student education first," said Todd Vanderah, professor and interim chairman of the department of pharmacology. "His encouragement and dedication, which he displayed with all students, encouraged me to stay at the University of Arizona and achieve a successful academic career."

Robert Kuester, a research associate professor in the department of pharmacology who worked with Sipes while a graduate student and postdoctoral student, recalled meeting Sipes more than 15 years ago when he attended a scientific meeting as an undergraduate.

"I was immediately impressed by his straightforward demeanor and his approachability," he said. "Unlike many professors, he treated me as an equal and was willing to set aside time to talk about my career and research interests."

"Throughout my graduate training he always maintained an open-door policy and set aside time to discuss the student's projects and training. His adamant support of the students has helped to build the graduate programs, in both the colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy, into the prestigious programs they are today," Kuester said.

Sipes has authored more than 300 publications and has generated more than $32 million in external research funds. He has served the discipline of pharmacology and toxicology at the national and international levels. He was president of the Society of Toxicology, the International Union of Toxicology and the Academy of Toxicological Sciences. He served as a counselor for the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, the Association of Medical School Pharmacology Chairs, and the International Society for the Study of Xenobiotics (chemicals or substances found in organisms that are foreign to the organism). His editorial duties included: editor of Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology for seven years, editor-in-chief of the 13-volume series Comprehensive Toxicology, and associate editor/editorial board member of several other journals.

Sipes also served on a number of boards and committees of the National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council, as chairman of the Toxicology Study Section and as a member of the National Advisory Council for the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. Currently, he is an adviser to the World Health Organization/Food and Agriculture Organization's Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives and chairman of the Research Institute for Fragrance Materials' Expert Panel, organizations that evaluate the safety of chemicals in food and other consumer products.

In addition to these honors, Sipes is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Academy of Toxicological Sciences and was the recipient of the Burroughs Wellcome Toxicology Scholar Award. Most recently, he was selected to receive the 2011 Distinguished Scientist Award from the American College of Toxicology.

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