Department of Pharmaceutics and Drug Delivery
The University of Mississippi

Noteworthy Accomplishments

Department of Pharmaceutics and Drug Delivery

Noteworthy Accomplishments/Quantitative Features

Scholarly activity in the department was again exceptional in the 2012-2013 fiscal year. A healthy trend in scholarship for the unit has continued over the last ten years. Dr. S. Narasimha Murthy, just completing his seventh year at UM, was awarded a fourth (4th) NIH grant award (R21) in 2013 as well as an industry grant.  In addition, he was awarded a Pilot Grant within the COBRE initiative in 2013. Dr. Murthy continues to be an invited speaker and collaborates both at UM and internationally. He has established himself as an expert in the wide area of the transdermal field.  He also edited a book and published two book chapters. Dr. Jit Majumdar received his second year of NIH funding (R21) in his field of expertise during this reporting period. Dr. Majumdar was also awarded a Senior Investigator award through the COBRE mechanism. Both of these faculty members are the sole principal investigators on the above-cited grants. In addition, Dr. Majumdar received an NIH R43 sub-contract on glaucoma (Dr. Mahmoud ElSohly, industry PI, Dr. Majumdar institutional PI and Dr. Repka Co-PI). Dr. Jo was awarded a prestigious NSF grant.  He has worked diligently throughout the year on this distinguished award and is in the process of submitting additional grant proposals to the DoD, NSF and NIH based on strong preliminary data. This and other awards received by Dr. Jo have opened many doors for collaboration including his being elected as an Associate Member in the Cancer Institute at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. Dr. Repka and Dr. Majumdar also secured three industry grants from multi-national pharmaceutical companies and an additional industry award from a national pharma company.  All three awards have a focus on hot-melt extrusion, which was attracted by the existence of the Pii Center. Needless to say, these extramural funding successes are expected to catalyze more research support and scholarly activities within the coming years and are healthy signs for sustained growth within the unit.

Faculty presented more than 80 papers at national and international meetings and authored 31 papers in peer-reviewed journals. Also, 15 grant proposals were submitted and one U.S. patent was granted. These activities are balanced with strong commitments to teaching and service, which is indicative of a department attaining strong, strategic, long-term growth.

Dr. Jit Majumdar, who received his doctorate from the University of Missouri at Kansas City, completed his seventh year within the department.  Dr. Majumdar’s excellent training and vast industry experience spearheaded grant funding during this reporting period. He continues to demonstrate his value to the department and is very well-liked and respected by the professional students in his teaching endeavors. This is evident in that Dr. Majumdar received the Teacher of the Year Award from the PY1 Class, as well as pharmacy’s New Investigator Award over the last couple of years.

The emphasis on improving the quality of all departmental professional courses was continued from the previous year.  Dr. Bonnie Avery continued to serve on the School’s Curriculum Committee, emphasizing the development of an inter-disciplinary undergraduate educational laboratory (Skills Laboratory), which was implemented in the Fall of 2008.  She is also chair of the UM IACUC committee and co-director of Core B within the COBRE award. Dr. Avery continued her activities in pharmacokinetics and published three manuscripts.  She is collaborating with the Department of Medicinal Chemistry and submitted several new grant proposals.

Dr. Michael Repka completed his eighth year as chair of the department.  Dr. Repka was an invited speaker to an international conference in Germany in 2012.  He was also asked to speak at six seminars and workshops, both nationally and internationally. In addition, he is an invited speaker at the European International Conference on Pharmaceutical Technology in Portugal and at a UK Conference in 2013/2014.  He spoke at an AAPS workshop on Patient Centric Drug Delivery in Chicago in October 2012. The prestigious journal, AAPS PharmSciTech invited Dr. Repka to serve as an Associate Editor in 2011 and he also was appointed editor for North America for the Journal of Drug Delivery Science and Technology.  In addition, Dr. Repka was awarded AAPS Fellow status, the first at UM in more than 20 years, which he received in Chicago in 2012. These activities coupled with the unit’s entire faculty becoming more involved with AAPS and other pharmaceutical associations have helped continue the strong growth and international recognition of the department.

It is quite noteworthy that Dr. Seongbong Jo received tenure and promotion to associate professor as of July 1, 2012.  Dr. Michael Repka and Dr. Jit Majumdar were appointed director and associate director, respectfully, for the Pii Center.  In addition, Dr. Majumdar, Dr. Avery, and Dr. Repka serve as directors of two Cores of the COBRE initiative.