In the Spotlight: Sept. 1, 2010

Liwen LaiLiwen Lai (shown in photo), PhD, research professor, Pharmacology and Toxicology, has received a $1.6 million five-year RO1 grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases to study a novel drug for preventing acute kidney injury (AKI). AKI is caused by lack of blood supply to the kidney, septicemia, or toxins to the kidney such as certain antibiotics, statins, chemotherapy agents, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and contrast agents for CT scans. AKI is estimated to affect more than half a million people per year in the U.S. and has a mortality rate of 50 percent. Its incidence has increased steadily over the last 10 years and to date treatment has been mainly supportive. The grant will allow Lai and her research team to further study how the drug they have identified works in protecting against AKI.

Martie Fankhauser, MS, who retired in July following 28 years on the COP faculty, has accepted a consulting position as a psychiatric pharmacist with Reed’s Compounding Pharmacy. She is also helping to develop a charter school for children with autism spectrum disorder. Fankhauser also reports that she is busy on projects related to collaborative prescriptions, editing a textbook, and tobacco cessation.

Dan Malone, PhD, Pharmacy Practice and Science, is the author of a report on warfarin published in the May 2010 edition of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Research Activities. The report showed that three drug compendia do not agree on which medications, supplements or food can cause dangerous interactions when mixed with warfarin. Out of 810 different items compiled, only 50 items showed up on all three compendia.

Jeannie Lee, PharmD, clinical assistant professor, Pharmacy Practice and Science, became the first ever PharmD fellow at the National Institutes of Health Randomized Clinical Trials Summer Institute. Lee will apply the knowledge and exposure gained during the summer institute to research, designing randomized clinical trials that are patient-oriented. Her area of research is improving medication adherence and chronic disease outcomes in older patients with low health literacy. The institute provides a thorough grounding in the conduct of randomized clinical trials to researchers and health professionals interested in developing competence in the planning, design, and execution of randomized clinical trials involving behavioral interventions.

Lee also gave two presentations at the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) World Congress meeting Aug. 30 in Lisbon. "Improve Treatment: Overcome through Long-Term Adherence Interventions" focused on medication adherence and strategies. “Logistics and Patient Safety Implications of Dispensing from Bulk” focused on some of the patient safety issues related to dispensing prescriptions from bulk.

Philip Schneider, MS, associate dean for academic and professional affairs, has been named a fellow of the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) and a vice president representing the Board of Pharmaceutical Practice. He was introduced at a presentation Aug. 29 in Lisbon. The "fellow" designation recognizes individual members of FIP who have exhibited strong leadership internationally, who have distinguished themselves and contributed to the advancement of the practice of pharmacy and the pharmaceutical sciences, and who have served FIP. FIP is a global federation of national associations that represent more than two million pharmacists and pharmaceutical scientists around the world. Schneider recently completed a four-year term as the federation's chairman of the Board of Pharmaceutical Practice.

Nicholas Mastrandrea, a graduate student in pharmacy and toxicology, has received a $10,000 a year grant from the External Science Group and Global Scientific Committee. His proposal, “Molecular Mechanisms of Drug Efficacy and Drug-Induced Cytotoxicity in Renal Cancer,” won the Astrazeneca Co-Funded Graduate Studentship Award. He hopes to find how drugs can help and hurt patients in renal cancer cases. The grant will cover up to four years, should Mastrandrea’s dissertation research take that long.

Rhiannon Hardwick, Class of 2012, has received an Astrazeneca Co-Funded Studentship. The four-year studentship is one of five that Astrazeneca gave out in North America. The project is titled “The Transition from Steatosis to NASH: Significant Consequences for Pharmaceutical Efficacy and Toxicity” and will look into non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. NAFLD has been associated with obesity and type II diabetes, which are both becoming prevalent throughout the world. She will test how the NAFLD’s progression affects the patient's ability to handle drugs aimed to fight the disease. The funding for the project had not been finalized at print time.

Derek Tang, a graduate student in pharmaceutical economics, policy and outcomes, won the Best Poster award from the Arizona Pharmacy Association conference meeting held in July. “A Meta-Analysis of the 5-HT3 Receptor Antagonists Use in Post-Operative Nausea and Vomiting (PONV) Prophylaxis.” The analysis compared how well four different anti-nausea drugs worked to prevent post-operative nausea and vomiting. Tang and his project adviser, Dan Malone, won $300 as part of the award.

Brittany Traylor, PharmD 2010, and Tom Skrentny, PharmD 2010, have won the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists Research and Education Foundation's Student Research Award for their work on pharmacogenomics in cystic fibrosis. The title of their research project was "Influence of Genetic Variation of the Beta-2 Adrenergic Receptor in Patients with Cystic Fibrosis." Traylor and Skrentny previously presented this work, which was their senior project, at the American Thoracic Society (ATS) conference in May 2010. This is the 11th time that UA students have won this award, nine more than any other school. The award will be presented at the ASHP Midyear Meeting in Anaheim Dec. 8.

The 2010-11 Prepharmacy Club officers are Amy Nguyen, president; Sophia Un, vice president; Deanna Molina, treasurer; Katie Gaab, activities coordinator; Monet Welton, co-activities coordinator; Caroline Kim, ASP/ASUA liaison; Elaine Truong, recorder; Lauren Aragon, historian; Soojin Kim, computer guru.

Paul Cady (BS 1980, MS 1985, PhD 1988) has been named the dean of the College of Pharmacy at Idaho State University. Cady served as the interim dean of Idaho State University for the past year and was associate dean of the college since 1998.

Judd Rice (BS 1993, PharmD 2000) was promoted to the position of associate professor in the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Department at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California. Rice’s research focuses on gene regulation and cancer genetics. He started working at USC in 2003 following a postdoctoral research fellowship at the University of Virginia.

Mahendra Patel (PharmD 2002) was highlighted in an article in the July 2010 edition of Pharmacy Today. The article focused on Patel’s commitment to the patient and patient care. Patel is a clinical pharmacist at the Southern Arizona Veterans Affairs Health Care System in Tucson.

Eight COP alumni were honored at the annual Arizona Pharmacy Alliance meeting in July. Ed Saba (BSPharm 1957), Benny Pulos (BSPharm 1959) and Jack Cole (BSPharm 1953) received Honorary Life Member Awards for having served 50 years as licensed Arizona pharmacists. Mary Martin ( PharmD 1997) received the AzPA Exemplary Patient Care Award for serving as a role model in the delivery of patient care. The Distinguished Young Pharmacist of the Year Award was presented to Nisha Patel, (PharmD 2009). Tony Felix (BSPharm 1977) was recognized for his work with the Excellence in Innovation Award. Greg Morrill (PharmD 1985) received the Outstanding Pharmaceutical Representative Award for his commitment to improving medication use.