Bonnie A. Avery, Ph.D.


Bonnie Ann Avery-McCurdy, 59, entered into eternal life on March 14, 2019 at her home in Gainesville, FL.

Born August 3, 1959 in Garrison, North Dakota, Bonnie was the first child of Norlan and Margie Nelson. She graduated from Garrison High School and then attended Minot State University, where she earned a B.S. in Medical Technology. She went on to a brief career as the Department Supervisor of Clinical Chemistry while in the Civil Service for the United States Air Force, living in Wiesbaden, Germany and Spokane, Washington. She returned to Minot State University and earned a B.A. in Chemistry before moving to the University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, where she earned a Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry in 1994. Shortly thereafter, she accepted an Assistant Professor position at the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy and a Research Assistant Professor position in the Research Institute for Pharmaceutical Sciences. She also served on the Board of Directors for two pharmaceutical companies and as an editorial board member for multiple peer-reviewed scientific journals. While at the University of Mississippi, she also served as an Advisory Board Member of the Center for Writing and Rhetoric, a Board of Directors member for Continuing Education, Graduate Program Coordinator for the Department of Pharmaceutics, Chair of the Curriculum Committee for the School of Pharmacy, and Chair of the Institutional Animal Care and Usage Committee (IACUC) for the University of Mississippi. In 2017, she was presented with the career opportunity of a lifetime to move the University of Florida, College of Pharmacy, Gainesville, FL. She became a Clinical Professor of Pharmaceutics and the founding laboratory director of the University of Florida Translational Drug Development Core. Dr. Avery had a very unique skill set being trained as an analytical chemist and progressing into a recognized expert in pharmacokinetics and drug metabolism. She also served on the IACUC Committee at the University of Florida. During her career, she directed the research of ten (10) Ph.D. students, three (3) M.S. students, and two honors college students. She also served on numerous Ph.D. student advisory committees at the University of Mississippi and the University of Florida. She directed five (5) post-doctoral associates and numerous pharmacy interns from around the globe. Additionally, she advised over 440 undergraduate pharmacy and pre-pharmacy students during her career. She was appointed to the American Foundation for Pharmaceutical Education (AFPE) Board of Directors in 2016 and served until the time of her death. She has been a member of several scientific and professional societies, including; The International Narcotics Research Conference, The Controlled Release Society, The American Chemical Society, the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, Sigma Xi, and the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists where she served as chair of the Student-Postdoc Outreach and Development Committee, Chair of the Analysis and Pharmaceutical Quality (APQ) section, Chair of the Career Services Advisory Committee and as a member of the AAPS Foundation Board of Directors.

Her research was Internationally recognized with invited research presentations to China, Malaysia, Egypt, and Brazil. She was also well respected nationally being invited to present work at the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the US Food and Drug Administration along with
numerous presentations at Universities across the country. She had unique expertise in analytical chemistry, pharmacokinetics and drug metabolism of novel, potential drug candidates as well as complex natural product mixtures. Her most recent work with Mitragyna speciosa afforded her with large grant funding from the National Institute on Drug abuse and an appearance in the recent documentary “A Leaf of Faith”. She was also actively involved in a large University of Florida project on Industrial Hemp, as the leader of the analytical chemistry work. In addition, she was funded from the Department of Defense to investigate non-opioid pain treatments. Among her many active projects, she also worked on the development of many other compounds aimed at various disease states, including cancer. She published over 50 peer-reviewed scientific publications and received a US Patent. In total, she was Principal or Co-Principal Investigator on grants and contracts that totaled over $40 Million.

Among her passions were horticulture, SCUBA diving, food and wine, travel, music, and most of all her family.

Bonnie was preceded in death by her brother, Barry Nelson; father, Norlan Nelson; and son-in-law, Ankur Tanna. She is survived by her mother, Margie Nelson; the love of her life and soul-mate, her husband, Dr. Christopher McCurdy; two daughters, Tara Ann Cooper (Kelly) of Garrison, ND and Marta Ann Dees (Ankur Tanna) of Oxford, MS; one son, Korben Nelson Avery of Gainesville, FL; two step-sons, Robert Byron McCurdy and Sean Thomas McCurdy of Oxford, MS; grandchildren, Austin Cooper, Chasen Cooper, and Bailey Ann Cooper, of Garrison, ND.

The family will hold a memorial service at a later date in Gainesville, FL; Oxford, MS; and Garrison, ND.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that gift memorials in her honor be made to the University of Florida College of Pharmacy, to UF Foundation “in Bonnie Avery’s memory”, PO Box 103570, Gainesville, FL 32610; or Garrison High School, c/o Music Department, 51 5th Ave NE, Garrison, ND 58540; or the American Cancer Society,