In the Spotlight: Oct. 14, 2010

Faculty
Danzhou YangDanzhou Yang (right), PhD, associate professor and director of the college’s nuclear magnetic resonance facility, has earned a list of recognitions lately.

First, she has been awarded a $1.1 million, four-year grant from the National Institutes of Health for her research project “Targeting DNA Secondary Structures for Bcl-2 Gene Regulation.” In addition, Yang is co-investigator with Laurence Hurley on the study “G-Quadruplex-Mediated Transcriptional Regulation of PDGFR-β,” which is supported by a new five-year, $2.9 million grant from the NIH.

Yang was also invited to serve as a member of the NIH Macromolecular Structure and Function B Study Section, Center for Scientific Review, for the next six years. Finally, Yang organized and chaired a symposium entitled “G-Quadruplexes as Targets for Drug Discovery and Development” at the American Chemical Society’s 240th national meeting in Boston in August.

Laurence Hurley, PhD, professor and holder of the Howard J. Schaeffer Endowed Chair in Pharmaceutical Sciences, has been appointed chair of the National Cancer Institute’s Board of Scientific Counselors for Basic Sciences. The board makes recommendations on research priorities conducted or supported by the NCI. In addition, Hurley is principal investigator of the $2.9 million NIH grant and co-investigator on the DNA research project discussed above. Hurley has also organized a two-day symposium entitled “G-quadruplexes and I-motifs: Structures, Biological Roles, and Therapeutic and Technological Applications” at the PacifiChem meeting in Honolulu in December.

Daniel Malone, PhD, professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science, is the principal investigator of a research project that will receive $1.25 million from the federal Agency on Healthcare Research and Quality over the next three years to help hospitals and insurance companies select the best medicines for their patients’ needs.
Other investigators include Lisa Hines, PharmD, clinical research pharmacist; Jason Hurwitz, PhD, assistant research scientist; and Terri Warholak, PhD, assistant professor.
The project is a collaborative effort that includes researchers from the College of Pharmacy, the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy, the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists Foundation, and the University of Utah.

The overall goal of the project is to increase awareness and use of comparative effectiveness research reports by the pharmacy and therapeutics committees in healthcare institutions. Comparative effectiveness research provides evidence on the effectiveness, benefits, and harms of different treatment options. The evidence is generated from research studies that compare drugs, medical devices, tests, surgeries, or ways to deliver health care. The grant was made possible through funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the federal stimulus legislation.

Walt Klimecki, DVM, PhD, assistant professor, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, on Oct. 5 co-presented “Toxicant-Laden Dust in the Desert: From Exposure Modeling to Molecular Response,” one of the weekly seminars in this semester’s Frontiers in Medical Research program. Klimecki’s co-presenter was Paloma Beamer, PhD, assistant professor, Environmental Health Sciences.

Students
The COP team that participated in the Step Out for Diabetes 5K walk Oct. 3 raised more than $1,600 toward the cause. This was the most money raised by any Club/Organization team and the sixth most money raised by teams that included friends/family and corporations.

The amount raised exceeded the group’s goal of $1,000 in part because the fundraising effort was organized as a competition among the three PharmD classes that are on campus (fourth-year students are away on rotations). The first-year class won the competition, with $719.86 raised. Their prize is a free breakfast sponsored by APhA-ASP.

Neha Giridharan, Class of 2012, served as the team captain. More than 20 COP students, faculty and family members made the walk and more than 12 faculty and staff donated to the cause.

Twenty-one COP students and six faculty members will participate in the annual AHSC “Frontiers in Biomedical Research Poster Forum” Oct. 20 from 1:30-4 p.m. on the AHSC Plaza.

Students who will present posters are Alicia Bolt, Aram Cholanians, Ingrid Druwe, Adrienne Gilligan, Steven Gunawan, Rhiannon Hardwick, Amanda Harrington, Ana Hincapie, Mike Kimzey, Sarah Lamore, Fangwei Liu, Marina Martinez, Raveendra Mathad, Matthew Medeiros, Kimberly Saverno, Breland Smith, Derek Tang, Shasha Tao, Lorenzo Villa, Zhigang Xu and Fengjiao Zhang.

Faculty members who will present posters are Marti Lindsey, David Nix, Marion Slack, Daekyu Sun, George Tsaprailis and Terri Warholak.

Staff
Denise DeGeus, coordinator of assessment/evaluation and curriculum affairs, has been elected as the third representative from the College of Pharmacy on the UA Appointed Professionals Advisory Council. DeGeus joins Nancy Colbert, project coordinator of graduate studies, and Karen Palmer, coordinator of research and graduate studies, who were already serving on the council. The Appointed Professionals Advisory Council represents professional employees by taking an active role in shared governance and advising the university administration and other UA organizations on matters of concern to appointed professionals.