The Faculty History Project documents faculty members who have been associated with the University of Michigan since 1837. Key in this effort is to celebrate the intellectual life of the University. This Faculty History Website is intended as a component of the effort to document the extraordinary academic achievements of Michigan’s faculty in building and sustaining one of the world’s great universities. It provides access to a comprehensive database of information concerning the thousands of faculty members who have served the University of Michigan.
Find out more.

The Bentley Historical Library serves as the official archives for the University.


Norman David Weiner
Regents' Proceedings 94

Norman D. Weiner, Ph.D., professor of pharmaceutics in the College of Pharmacy, retired from active faculty status on August 31, 2000, after 28 years of service.

Professor Weiner received his B.S. degree in pharmacy from Long Island University's Brooklyn College of Pharmacy in 1959 and his Ph.D. degree in pharmacy from Columbia University in 1965. Following graduation, he became an assistant professor of pharmacy at Columbia University, where he was promoted to associate professor of pharmacy in 1967. He joined the University of Michigan College of Pharmacy as associate professor in 1972 and achieved the rank of professor in 1977. He was elected as a fellow to the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists in 1990.

Professor Weiner's research achievements have received international acclaim. His early research focused on the membrane structure of living cells. In collaboration with a colleague at the University's hearing institute, he began seeking an explanation of why neomycin and other aminoglycosides were causing irreversible hearing loss when systematically administered. The accepted theory of the day was that these compounds were causing irreversible nerve damage, thereby leading to hearing loss. They viewed this theory as being highly suspect, and in a relentless pursuit, they discovered that the aminoglycosides were actually interacting with the membranes of hair cells in the inner ear and killing these cells, thereby, resulting in the loss of hearing. In the course of their work, hearing damage assessment measures were developed that have been instrumental in preventing future compounds from sharing the same toxicity, thereby, preventing this type of terrible side effect from occurring again.

Professor Weiner's interests then expanded to include methods of using liposomes for drug delivery purposes, especially through the skin. First, he disproved the popular theory of the time that liposomes could be used as an effective method for delivering drugs orally. In complete contrast, he and his colleagues demonstrated that they are effective at promoting drug absorption across the skin. These were significant discoveries that led to Professor Weiner's explorations of the properties of other topical dosage forms, such as emulsions-also work for which he is well known. His insights concerning emulsions are not only sought after by pharmaceutical companies, but are of interest to scientists in other industries, such as oil and food processing companies and cosmetic manufacturers.

Professor Weiner is a dedicated teacher who has successfully mentored many pharmacy students, graduate students, and research fellow trainees in his area of expertise. He has presented his research findings across the globe and has received recognition for his important contributions.

The Regents salute this distinguished scholar by naming Norman D. Weiner professor emeritus of pharmaceutics.