Alumnus helps to bring ‘revolutionary’ drugs, technology to world markets

Alumnus helps to bring ‘revolutionary’ drugs, technology to world markets

President's Associates

The following individuals have given annual gifts of at least $1,000. We salute their investment and invite you to join in supporting Cal State L.A. by making a gift online or calling (323) 343-4866.

  • Amir Barour & Faraneh Azizian
  • Mr. & Mrs. Robert Bridenbecker ’66
  • Warren ’71 and Susan Bryant
  • Kyle C. Button
  • Eduardo A. Cartagena ’01
  • Herbert L. Carter
  • Monica Chew ’04
  • Geneva Aleece Clymer ’62
  • Dennis & Susan ’71 De Pietro
  • William J. Dermody ’71, ’74
  • Jaffe Dickerson
  • Darlene Finocchiaro ’83, ’90
  • Bob Foster
  • Ramon Garcia ’71
  • Art M. ’80 & Lillian ’96 Gastelum
  • The Gillett Family
  • Ernest E. Guerra ’80
  • Robert Hoffman
  • Harry S. Hong
  • Art Leahy ’74
  • Dal H. Lee
  • Ronald W. Lee ’68
  • Ethan B. Lipton ’76, ’83 & Janet Lent
  • William ’82 & Kathy Lewis
  • Fred Lopez ’83
  • Gary J. Matus ’69
  • David ’67, ’76 & Rosemary ’70 McNutt
  • Louis R. Negrete ’57
  • Sheryl Okuno ’87
  • Josephine M. Olea ’78
  • Charles H. Palmer ’53, ’60
  • George A. Pardon
  • Ann Park ’78
  • Pamela Angerer Payne ’81, ’91, ’95
  • Stephen E. Pickett ’75
  • Peter Quan
  • Philip J. Quigley ’67
  • Jorge Ramirez ’04
  • Chris Rapp ’76
  • Collette Rocha
  • Timothy Wayne Rogers ’82
  • Anthony R. Ross & Laverne White
  • Antonio Salcido Jr.
  • A. Sami Siddiqui ’76
  • Jeffrey A. Tipton
  • Gary P. Townsend ’69
  • Linda Trevillian
  • Michael William Vanni ’65
  • Gilbert Vasquez ’64
  • Elizabeth Wheeler ’81
  • Patricia Louise Wohlford ’68
  • Tony Wong ’69, ’74
  • Wilbert Woo ’70, ’77
  • William Jih—Shen Yang ’58
  • Donald J. Zuk ’61
Jeff Silverman sits at computer smiling for the camera
Jeff Silverman ’77

Jeff Silverman ’77 is an unassuming leader. More patient educator than commanding pharmaceutical executive. More gentle family man than holder of a black belt in karate.

But, as his family and professional peers point out, Silverman is, in fact, a bit of all these things. And his ability to remain genuine and humble while working to bring the world one of the industry’s most revolutionary drug delivery systems and treatments for cancer is an integral part of his success.

“He is a multitalented guy and anything he takes on, he really gets into and does well at,” said Silverman’s father, Cal State L.A. Emeritus Professor (Art) Ron Silverman ’55. “Now, he is involved in important pharmaceutical work, and at a really high level.”

Silverman is the senior vice president for manufacturing operations and product development at Abraxis BioScience, a global biotechnology company based in West Los Angeles. The company has received international recognition in recent years for its breakthrough development of the chemotherapy agent Abraxane TM and the technology to deliver difficult to solubilize drugs in an innovative solvent-free system. (Abraxane is licensed internationally for use in stage 2 metastatic breast cancer, and is in various stages of clinical investigation for the treatment of non-small cell lung, advanced prostate, melanoma, pancreatic, and ovarian cancers.)

In his role with Abraxis, Silverman is responsible for overseeing the company’s manufacturing and late-stage development operations throughout the United States. He also strategizes to bring products that the company’s research team designs to market.

“It’s the most cutting-edge work that I have done in my career,” Silverman said. “In this endeavor we are not only working on a drug, but a delivery system for a wide-range of drugs, and that can have a staggering impact.”

This is not Silverman’s first revolutionary project. In previous positions in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry, Silverman worked with teams to create technologies for blood products, and made headway in the creation of a cancer vaccine and inhalable insulin. Working in these fields, he said, has made for a “gratifying” career.

Alumnus Jeff Silverman poses with his son, Noah Silverman and father, Emeritus Professor and alumnus Ron Silverman.

Jeff Silverman ’77 poses with his son, Noah Silverman, and his father, Emeritus Professor (Art) Ron Silverman ’55 along the coast. The family has quite the connection to CSULA, counting Jeff, Ron, Jeff’s wife, Amelia Perez-Silverman ’76, and their future son-in-law as alumni.

“I don’t lose sight of the fact that I go to work every day to improve peoples’ lives,” Silverman said.

On many levels, Silverman said, his success and happiness today can be traced back to his days at Cal State L.A. The University, to which he transferred from UCLA as an upperclassman, provided him with his first job in the lab, one-on-one time with professors, great academic mentors, and the opportunity to meet his wife, Amelia Perez-Silverman ’76 (in chemistry club, no less.)

Silverman’s dad, Ron Silverman, who taught at the University from 1955 to 1988, developed the Charter College of Education’s art education course, which helped shift thinking on the role art should play in the classroom. Ron Silverman says that he never persuaded his son to come to Cal State L.A., but was pleased he made the decision to do so in the end because it was obviously a “good fit” for him.

“Cal State L.A. did really well by me,” he said. “It afforded me the experience of working with excellent professors at the undergraduate level, which was really important to my learning…And I got a fabulous wife and a fabulous career out of it.”

From a young age, Silverman was gifted in math and science, Ron Silverman recalled. He wasn’t, however, a great communicator and did not gravitate to leadership roles, despite serving as the class president in grade school.

Silverman said that changed for him, though, in his first jobs after graduating from Cal State L.A.: first as a researcher at City of Hope and then at the pharmaceutical production company Alpha Therapeutics (now Grifols Biologicals, Inc.), which sits just across from the University on Valley Boulevard. Silverman also went on to get his MBA from the Druker School of Management at Claremont University.

“I have found that the emphasis on management can have a profound effect on a company,” Silverman said. “I still love the science—or what we traditionally think of as science (chemistry, biology, physics, etc.)—but the social science and management science just happen to be something I never thought of as a child. No child does.”