2015 News and Media
Since 1995, the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy‘s inaugural research center has been When senior research scientist Suman Chandra first came to the University of Mississippi’s National Center for Natural Products Research in 2001, he had no idea that he would be involved in one of the most pivotal programs in the School of Pharmacy’s history.
Chandra, who has extensive training in medicinal plant physiology and biotechnology, carries out a variety of research activities dealing with cannabis as part of the Marijuana Project.
Since 1995, the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy‘s inaugural research center has been setting the bar in the areas of natural products chemistry, botanical supplements development and marijuana research – and more.
“We’re delighted to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the National Center for Natural Products Research this year,” said Larry A. Walker, NCNPR director. “This is a wonderful opportunity to reflect on our growth and successes over the past two decades.”
The center was created to discover, develop and commercialize natural products as pharmaceuticals and agrochemicals. It is the only university-affiliated research center devoted to improving human health and agricultural productivity through the discovery, development and commercialization of pharmaceuticals and agrochemicals derived from natural products.
Marc Slattery was trained as a marine biologist, so pharmacy may have been somewhat foreign when he was hired at the University of Mississippi. Two decades later, however, his efforts have made quite a splash at the School of Pharmacy.
The professor of pharmacognosy got his start at the school under the direction of associate dean emeritus Charles Hufford.
“I wasn’t a traditional pharmacist, but I came here and found collaborations I normally wouldn’t have and applications for my work that I would have never really considered,” Slattery said.
Supporting the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy is second nature to Francis Cerniglia of Cordova, Tennessee. It is so second nature, in fact, that he didn’t realize he had been giving to the school every year for three decades.
“It doesn’t seem like it’s been that long,” said Cerniglia, who earned his bachelor’s degree from the school in 1959. “I’m gratified to know that my money is doing good things for students.”
A 7,000-year-old forest in Poland could hold the key to solving some of the world’s major health problems, and several University of Mississippi researchers and students are working to unlock the potential of the forest’s ancient ecosystem.
UM researchers often travel to exotic locations, such as tropical rainforests or deep beneath the ocean, to search for plants and creatures that contain compounds that can be used against a variety of human illnesses. This Polish forest might seem an unlikely place to search for new medications, but it actually is a perfect spot, said Jordan Zjawiony, native of Poland and UM professor of pharmacognosy.
Hapten Sciences Inc., a privately held biotechnology company, will soon conduct a Phase I clinical trial of its lead product candidate, a compound based on research conducted at the University of Mississippi and ElSohly Laboratories that could prevent contact dermatitis due to exposure to poison ivy, oak and sumac.
The company obtained a worldwide, exclusive license for the technology from UM, submitted an Investigational New Drug application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and is able to initiate dosing of the compound, PDC-APB, in healthy volunteers
Lawrence J. Marnett, a cancer researcher and administrator at Vanderbilt University, is set to deliver the 11th annual Ronald F. Borne Distinguished Lecture, coming up Nov. 2 at the University of Mississippi.
Marnett is director of the A.B. Hancock Jr. Memorial Laboratory for Cancer Research, senior associate dean for biomedical sciences, associate vice chancellor for research, professor of cancer research and professor of biochemistry, chemistry and pharmacology at Vanderbilt.
“Pharmacy school? Why would you want to count pills for the rest of your life?” my mother asked incredulously. This was her initial reaction to me saying I wanted to pursue a career in pharmacy.
You see, I was not the traditional type of student that changed majors multiple times before deciding on a career path. My path was decided for me my junior year of high school, when I visited a pharmacy for my school’s allied health program and shadowed a pharmacist. Some would call it luck, some would call it divine intervention – I would consider it a calling.
Mayor George “Pat” Patterson has declared October as American Pharmacists Month in Oxford. Patterson recently signed a proclamation in support of the American Pharmacists Association’s national campaign “Know Your Pharmacist – Know Your Medicine.”
“We are very pleased to recognize the important work that pharmacists provide to our community,” Patterson said. “As one of the oldest and most trusted professions, pharmacists do a great deal to improve the health and well-being of our citizens.”
A team from the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy’s Department of Pharmacy Administration presented a poster at a national health care conference after winning a case study competition conducted this summer.
Graduate students Sujith Ramachandran, Nilesh Gangan and Kaustuv Bhattacharya, as well as recent Ph.D. graduate Zainab Shahpurwala, gave a presentation related to their competition-winning abstract at the Pharmaceutical Marketing Research Group’s 2015 Institute in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Oct. 5.
A University of Mississippi pharmacy professor is working to address one of the state’s primary health issues, obesity, by participating in a program funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.
Lori Ward, an assistant professor of pharmacy administration, was selected as a research training and mentorship fellow for the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Program to Increase Diversity Among Individuals Engaged in Health-Related Research.
Boarding the plane to Honduras, Mary Claire Jarrell’s mind raced with emotions and questions: “What will I actually be doing? Will I know enough? Will my Spanish be good enough?” the fourth-professional-year pharmacy student wondered.
Upon landing in the city of San Pedro Sula, the Tupelo resident boarded a school bus with fellow fourth-year students Tate Davis, also of Tupelo, and Christine Hayden, of Birmingham, Alabama. The students were joined by David Gregory, their mentor and associate dean for academic affairs at the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy.
The University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy’s Class of 2019 participated in the school’s White Coat Ceremony recently at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts.
The ceremony, an annual tradition, marks the completion of the students’ pre-pharmacy curriculum and their transition to the school’s four-year professional program. The school has 118 first-year students enrolled this fall.
A University of Mississippi clinical assistant professor of pharmacy practice has been inducted into the Norman C. Nelson Order of Teaching Excellence at the UM Medical Center in Jackson.
Given to faculty members from the six schools at the Medical Center, Meagan Brown was among 19 inductees chosen for the honor. The selection is based on dedication to students through innovative teaching, engagement, mentorship and setting expectations for professional behavior.
The dreaded flu season is fast approaching, so it’s time to get an annual flu shot. Students at the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy are making it easy to stay healthy this year without leaving campus.
In conjunction with the national Operation Immunization campaign driven by the American Pharmacists Association-Academy of Student Pharmacists, the Ole Miss chapter of the organization has coordinated multiple opportunities for university faculty, staff, students and community members to get flu shots.
The University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy has landed in the nation’s top 10 for total extramural funding, according to the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy. Ranked No. 7 for the 2014 calendar year, the school jumped from No. 12 in 2013.
The school received $15.6 million in total extramural funding, which includes $4.7 million awarded by the National Institutes of Health. The funds garnered by the school support a variety of research projects including drug discovery and development.
Erin Garrett, communications specialist for the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy in Oxford, has successfully completed her Accreditation in Public Relations certification.
“Pursuing my accreditation has been a challenging, but highly rewarding journey,” said Garrett, a native of Oxford. “I first knew that I wanted to become accredited after speaking with my former public relations professor and APR mentor, Robin Street. I am honored to now be included among a group of stellar practitioners who are striving to uphold the standards of our profession.”
The Department of Pharmaceutics and Drug Delivery at the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy will celebrate the 50th Hands-on Course in Tablet Technology Sept. 13-18.
“We are very excited to commemorate this milestone in our program,” said Ed Brunson, course director. “The success of the Hands-on Course in Tablet Technology has been outstanding. With 20 to 40 participants per course, our reach has greatly expanded since the first class in 1998.”
The University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy honored its Distinguished Alumnus of the Year at the annual Alumni Weekend Awards Banquet and Reunion Dinner.
Jeffery Steevens, senior scientist for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, was recognized for his involvement in student service and professional achievement.
Cody Tawater, a fourth-year professional pharmacy student at the University of Mississippi, has been chosen to participate in the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy’s Walmart Scholars Program.
In its 11th year, the prestigious program awards $1,000 scholarships to 85 student-faculty pairs from AACP member institutions to attend select seminars and annual meetings.
Arriving around midnight in Lima, Peru, six University of Mississippi pharmacy students began an arduous drive up the Pan-American Highway. After traversing mountain roads for eight hours, they arrived at their home base in Pomabamba.
From there, they ventured out to the remote villages of Pallahuasi, Chogo, Piscos and Vinauya. Their mission: reach the unreachable.
“We had very strenuous riding conditions,” said Jennifer Reid, a third-year professional student from Madison. “We traveled throughout the Andes Mountains on gravel roads – they were terrible for our trucks. In fact, we had two different trucks break down. We traveled these hard, dangerous roads because we wanted to reach people where no other mission teams have ever been before.”
A leap of faith brought Lowndes County native Derek Oglesby to the University of Mississippi.
“I hail from ‘Bulldog country,’” Oglesby said. “Ole Miss was never really on my list as one of the places I expected to work when I grew up.”
That changed, however, when Oglesby applied for a position with the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy’s Marijuana Research Project 14 years ago. Hired as a groundskeeper, he eventually transitioned to the National Center for Natural Products Research’s Maynard W. Quimby Medicinal Plant Garden and served as an associate research and development horticulturist.
When looking back over his nearly 50 years at the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy, Robert Bishop remembers his friends the most.
“I made some very good friends at the pharmacy school,” he said. “I’ve had a really wonderful time here. Time really does fly when you’re having fun.”
Bishop, who was hired in 1968 as a stockroom clerk and eventually promoted to buyer, performed a variety of tasks to support the school.