Research Horizons


New Leader for Clinical Pharmacology: Piet van der Graaf, PharmD, PhD

Photo of Piet van der Graaf, PharmD, PhD

Piet van der Graaf, PharmD, PhD, a globally recognized leader in the area of quantitative systems pharmacology (QSP) and model-informed drug development, has been selected as the Cincinnati Children’s Research Foundation endowed chair and division director of Clinical Pharmacology at Cincinnati Children’s. 

Van der Graaf was selected after an extensive search chaired by Jennifer Kaplan, MD, MS, director of Clinical Research for the Division of Critical Care Medicine, and Jae Kim, MD, PhD, co-director of the Perinatal Institute and director of the Division of Neonatology. He will officially begin his new role in May 2023 and succeeds former director, Alexander “Sander” Vinks, PharmD, PhD, who retired in December 2022. Tracy Glauser, MD, associate director of the Cincinnati Children’s Research Foundation, will serve as the division’s interim director until van der Graaf assumes his new role in May. 

A world leader in pediatric pharmacometrics and pharmacogenomics, the Division of Clinical Pharmacology conducts and supports investigator-initiated clinical studies to promote and enhance the development, rational use and individualization of new and existing drug therapies in neonates, infants, children, adolescents and young adults. 

“With his extensive experience working in the pharmaceutical industry and global expertise in quantitative systems pharmacology, Dr. van der Graaf is the ideal person to lead our Clinical Pharmacology division,” says Tina Cheng, MD, MPH, chair of Pediatrics at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, director of the Cincinnati Children’s Research Foundation, and chief medical officer for Cincinnati Children’s. “He will help to advance the division’s vision of establishing an international center for training, teaching, clinical service, research and innovation in Clinical Pharmacology. We are thrilled to have him join us at Cincinnati Children’s.” 

Van der Graaf is currently a professor of systems pharmacology at Leiden University in the Netherlands, where he also was chair of pharmacology and director of research for the Leiden Academic Centre for Drug Research from 2013 to 2016. He also is senior vice president and head of quantitative systems pharmacology at Certara, a global biosimulation technology-enabled drug development company. 

From 1999 to 2013, he held various leadership positions at Pfizer across the research and discovery spectrum, including discovery biology, pharmacokinetics and drug metabolism, and clinical pharmacology.  

Van der Graaf obtained his PharmD from the University of Groningen in the Netherlands and a PhD in clinical medicine and quantitative pharmacology from King’s College London, where he trained with Nobel laureate Sir James Black. 

  • Current editor-in-chief of Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics
  • Founding editor-in-chief of CPT: Pharmacometrics & Systems Pharmacology
  • Recipient of the 2021 Leadership Award from the International Society of Pharmacometrics
  • Elected fellow of the British Pharmacological Society
  • Former chair of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Centre for Human Drug Research (CHDR, Leiden, the Netherlands)
  • More than 200 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters on quantitative and translational pharmacology
  • More than 100 lectures at international symposia and workshops
  • Co-founder of XenologiQ, which was acquired by Certara in 2015 (listed on the Nasdaq in 2020)
  • Holds several target discovery patents