On 6 July 2023, Stephanie Allen-Patel FPharmS, aged 51 years, of Nottinghamshire. Ms Allen became a Fellow of the Society in 2018.
Stephanie Allen-Patel, professor of pharmaceutical biophysics and Fellow of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS), has died at the age of 51 years.
As an esteemed member of staff at the University of Nottingham’s School of Pharmacy, she leaves behind a legacy of exceptional teaching, world-leading research and unwavering leadership and dedication to the field of pharmacy.
Allen-Patel was born on 13th December 1971. In 1993, she graduated with a BPharm degree from the University of Nottingham and, following preregistration pharmacy training, returned to complete her PhD under the supervision of Martyn Davies, Clive Roberts and Saul Tendler.
Allen-Patel pioneered the use of the atomic force microscope for the study of receptor/ligand interactions and was the first to publish the application of force spectroscopy to study industrially relevant systems. Her work was instrumental in creating the global reputation of the Laboratory of Biophysics and Surface Analysis, recognised through being a recipient of the Glaxo-SmithKline International Achievement Award. In addition to the advancement of atomic force microscopy and spectroscopy, she led the application of many advanced biophysical tools to further the understanding of new therapeutic approaches and new materials, including optical tweezers, surface plasmon resonance, dynamic light scattering, rheology, size-exclusion chromatography and fluorescence spectroscopy. Allen-Patel supervised more than 50 postgraduate students to successful completion of their studies.
Allen-Patel was a member of the Royal Microscopy Society’s Scanning Probe Microscopy Section Committee (2016–2020), and an elected executive committee member of the Biomaterial Interfaces Division of the American Vacuum Society until 2017.
In addition to an outstanding research career, Allen-Patel made an exceptional contribution to UK and global pharmacy education and teaching as the University of Nottingham’s School of Pharmacy director of teaching and learning from 2012 to 2021. During this period, she directed the implementation of the ground-breaking ‘MPharm 2012’ pharmacy degree at Nottingham and the equivalent 2+2 version at the University of Nottingham in Malaysia. She also led teaching innovations, such as the University’s five-year MPharm degree programme with integrated foundation year training (the first of its kind in the UK to gain full accreditation status) and established the UK’s first UK-China joint Pharmacy course with Tianjin University of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TUTCM).
Other courses launched during her tenure as director of teaching and learning include the MSc Drug Discovery and Pharmaceutical Sciences and MSci Pharmaceutical Sciences programmes. One cannot underestimate nor understate the positive impact all these developments have had, not only on the students and alumni of Nottingham but extending to and influencing pharmacy and pharmaceutical science education across the UK and internationally. Allen-Patel’s central role in delivering these educational achievements has truly left a lasting legacy for pharmacy education as a whole and will continue as the new educational standards are realised over the coming years.
Allen-Patel secured the Pfizer Lectureship in Pharmaceutical Sciences position in 1999, was promoted to associate professor and reader in 2006, and promoted to professor of pharmaceutical biophysics in August 2016. In 2018, Allen-Patel was made Fellow of the RPS for her distinction in the profession of pharmacy.
Her way too premature passing leaves an indescribable void within the School of Pharmacy at Nottingham and the wider academic community. However, her impact and influence upon the countless students and peers she taught and inspired will continue to shape the future of pharmacy education and practice.
Allen-Patel is survived by her husband Nikin, and son Dhani.
Barrie Kellam, professor of medicinal chemistry and head of school, University of Nottingham School of Pharmacy