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Best New Dean of Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Science

An educator and researcher since almost the inception of the UC San Diego school, Brookie Best becomes its third dean


  • Scott LaFee

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  • Scott LaFee

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Brookie Best, PharmD, has been named the next dean of the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at University of California San Diego, succeeding James McKerrow, PhD, MD, who stepped down June 30, 2022.  

The appointment of Best, a professor of clinical pharmacy and pediatrics who had been serving as interim dean, became effective August 1, 2022. 

“The Skaggs School has always benefitted from leadership that exemplifies UC San Diego’s absolute commitment to outstanding education and science, beginning with its founding dean Palmer Taylor, who served from 2002 to 2014, and then Jim McKerrow,” said UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep Khosla. 

“Dr. Best continues that tradition of excellence, both as a gifted, dedicated mentor of future generations of pharmacists and as a leading investigator in pharmaceutical research. Few can claim to have devoted so much of their career to their school, colleagues, staff and students.”

Over virtually its entire history, Best has been an important contributor to Skaggs School of Pharmacy. She joined the faculty in 2003, just one year after the school debuted its inaugural class. Her interests and efforts span every aspect of the institution’s multiple missions in education, research and clinical care. 

Best has mentored more than 130 students and served as both a faculty and career advisor. In 2014, she received UC San Diego’s Distinguished Teaching Award for Academic Senate Members and was named Professor of the Year by the Associated Students three times in 2010, 2013 and 2020.

Her research, which includes 20 years of designing and conducting pediatric and obstetric pharmacokinetic clinical trials, focuses on understanding pharmacokinetics — the processes by which drugs are absorbed, distributed, metabolized and eliminated by the body. She has studied maternal/fetal and pediatric clinical pharmacology, exploring the effects of anti-HIV drugs in pregnant women, children and non-pregnant adults, and drugs used to treat Kawasaki disease, the leading cause of acquired heart disease in children.  

Best has authored more than 130 peer-reviewed papers, lectured on maternal and pediatric drug therapeutics at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the International Maternal Pediatric Adolescent AIDS Clinical Trials network, and served on working groups and advisory committees for the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the World Health Organization.

Best completed her Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry at UC San Diego in 1994, then her Doctor of Pharmacy at UC San Francisco in 1999, followed by a residency in pharmacy practice at UC San Diego. 

In 2001, she was awarded a three-year fellowship in Pediatric Clinical Pharmacology Research from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. In 2007, Best earned a Master of Advanced Studies in Clinical Research at UC San Diego. 

As dean, Best will provide strategic and intellectual leadership, plus administrative oversight, for a dynamic and growing enterprise that spans education, research and clinical care. 

“We look forward to the energy and vision that Dr. Best will bring to the job as dean,” said Steven Garfin, MD, interim vice chancellor for health sciences at UC San Diego and interim dean of the UC San Diego School of Medicine. “Her drive, dedication and brilliance are well known. They can only benefit Skaggs School now and for years to come.” 

The Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences is one of only three public schools of pharmacy in California and is ranked among the top 20 pharmacy schools in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. 

It has an enrollment of 280 PharmD students and trains masters and PhD students, dual-degree students and post-doctoral residents and fellows. The annual graduating classes of approximately 70 Doctor of Pharmacy students, 25 Drug Development and Product Management Master of Science students, graduate students and post-doctoral scholars have diverse interests, skills and training that will continue to transform pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences, and improve human health.

“I’m excited to help grow transformative educational, clinical and research programs at Skaggs, based on the passion, interests and innovative spirit of our stellar professional and graduate students, staff and faculty,” said Best.

“My goal as dean is to help the faculty, staff, students and alumni fulfill their highest potential, launching impactful new initiatives and expanding current successful programs to improve the health and well-being of our diverse communities.”

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