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Keith Simons BSc, MSc, PhD

Currently Not Accepting Students.

Keith J. Simons, BSc (Pharm) (Manitoba), MSc (Manitoba), PhD (Washington), joined the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Manitoba in 1975 as an Assistant Professor. He was promoted to Full Professor in 1986, with adjunct appointments in the Faculty of Science (Department of Chemistry) and the Faculty of Medicine (Department of Pediatrics & Child Health). He was Head of the Division of Pharmaceutical Sciences from 1994-2004, and Associate Dean (Research) from 2004 to 2009.

During a career spanning more than three decades, he developed and taught undergraduate and graduate courses in physical pharmacy, pharmaceutics, dispensing and non-prescription drugs, and pharmacokinetics. He has contributed to the education of more than 1,200 pharmacists, most of who practiced or are currently practicing in the province of Manitoba. He has mentored many MSc and PhD students.

His research, focusing on assay development and on the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of medications used in the treatment of allergic diseases, has been conducted in collaboration with colleagues in the Section of Allergy & Clinical Immunology in the Faculty of Medicine. He has investigated a wide range of medication classes, including methylxanthines, H1-antihistamines, H2-antihistamines, leukotriene modifiers, and adrenergic agonists, resulting in more than 360 publications. His studies have been conducted in vitro, in animal models and in patients ranging in age from young children to the elderly. In ascertaining the pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic (PK-PD) half-life values of these medications, he has contributed fundamental information to recommendations for their optimal dose regimens.

He has performed the PK/PD studies in humans with more than 12 H1-antihistamines. The PK/PD studies of many of the second-generation non-sedating H1-antihistamines such as fexofenadine, cetirizine, and levocetirizine were performed before these medications were approved by regulatory agencies for clinical use. Pharmacodynamic H1-antihistamines studies using assessment of the P300 EEG response were used to document that 1st-generaton H1-antihistamines impair CNS function, but 2nd-generaton H1-antihistamines do not. Currently, he is studying the onset, extent, and duration of H1-receptor occupancy in order to develop optimal dosing regimens of 2nd-generation H1-antihistamines, and further document the limitations of the impairing, sedating 1st-generation agents in the class.

His studies of α-adrenergic agonists currently focus on epinephrine, which is life-saving in anaphylaxis because of its vasoconstrictor effects that decrease mucosal edema in the larynx, relieving airway obstruction, and increase blood pressure, preventing and relieving shock. His studies in humans have confirmed that the intramuscular route of injection leads rapidly to peak plasma and tissue epinephrine concentrations in comparison to the subcutaneous route. The results of these investigations are now incorporated in global guidelines for epinephrine administration in the first-aid, pre-hospital treatment of anaphylaxis. Several of his projects have focused on the lack of stability of epinephrine in solution, a practical concern. His current research focuses on development of sublingual tablets as an alternative to injection of epinephrine for the first-aid treatment of anaphylaxis in the community, a novel approach that will be potentially useful for those reluctant to self-inject epinephrine.

During his long career, Dr. Simons served on and/or chaired most of the Faculty of Pharmacy standing committees and many University of Manitoba, most recently various Faculty of Graduate Studies committees. He was a University of Manitoba Senator from 2003-2005. He is an active member of a number of pharmaceutical and medical associations in Canada and the United States. He served as a Council Member (1976-1985) and as President (1986-1987) of the Association of Faculties of Pharmacy of Canada, as an examiner (1976-1988) on the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada, and as the elected representative of the academic pharmacists on the Canadian Pharmacists Association Board of Directors (1991-2002).

In November 2013 he was awarded the first Leslie F. Buggey Professorship in the Faculty of Pharmacy.