December 2015

Dear Alumni and Friends, 

It has been another busy and exciting fall at the College of Pharmacy. Our first-year pharmacy students are wrapping up the inaugural semester of our new Pharm.D. curriculum, we have welcomed a record-setting number of world-class faculty and we have had the opportunity to see many of you at our fall events. Moreover, the Gators had a winning football season! 

President Kent Fuchs was officially inaugurated on December 4, and he has been an exceptional fit for the University of Florida. He has made himself available to all deans across campus, and he and Dean Johnson have a shared vision for continuing to move our college forward. As you’ll see in this issue of the Pharmily Connection, we are making great progress as we continue to celebrate with our faculty and students on their outstanding accomplishments. Also, be sure to check out our new video highlighting the College of Pharmacy's nationally recognized Pharm.D. program. 

As we enter into the holiday season, we wish you the happiest of holidays and a joyous new year!

Go Gators!

Elizabeth Zipper
Director of Development and Alumni Affairs

Development and Alumni Affairs Updates

College of Pharmacy supporters rise to meet Crisafi Challenge fundraising goal

Thanks to the generosity of supporters, the College of Pharmacy exceeded its fundraising goal of raising $10,000 in 10 days to meet the Crisafi Challenge. More than $20,000 was raised during the 10-day challenge from Oct. 29 to Nov. 7. Bob Crisafi, Ph.D., ʼ56, generously agreed to match all gifts dollar for dollar, up to $10,000. With Dr. Bob’s match, the College of Pharmacy will offer more than $30,000 in student recruitment scholarships next year to help attract the best and brightest future Gator pharmacists.

Pharmacy alumni celebrate homecoming at 29th Annual Alumni BBQ Reunion

On Nov. 7, the College of Pharmacy hosted its 29th Annual Alumni Reunion BBQ in the HPNP Courtyard. The event was attended by 275 alumni, faculty, students and friends of the college who enjoyed breakfast as well as barbecue, along with activities for kids and a selfie booth for attendees to take pictures with classmates. The fun-filled atmosphere proved to be a great pregame event prior to the Florida Gators homecoming victory over Vanderbilt to clinch the SEC East Division title.

VIEW EVENT PHOTOS »

Gators gather in New Orleans for ASHP Midyear Clinical Meeting

Gator pharmacists from around the country and world made the trip to New Orleans in early December for the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists Midyear Clinical Meeting. The largest gathering of pharmacy professionals in the world included many faculty, students and alumni from UF. An enthusiastic group of more than 300 Gator pharmacists attended the College of Pharmacy’s Gator reception on the evening of Dec. 7, at Wolfe’s in the Warehouse restaurant in the New Orleans Downtown Marriott at the Convention Center.

VIEW PHOTOS »

College News 

College of Pharmacy video debuts

A new video highlighting the College of Pharmacy’s nationally recognized Pharm.D. program debuted in mid-December. Produced by the Office of Communications and the video production team within the College of Pharmacy, the video features students and faculty from the Gainesville, Jacksonville and Orlando campuses discussing the wealth of education, research and clinical opportunities available at UF.

VIEW VIDEO »

Dr. Almut Winterstein named chair of the department of pharmaceutical outcomes and policy

Almut Winterstein, Ph.D., has been named chair of the department of pharmaceutical outcomes and policy effective Jan. 1, 2016. She has served as interim chair since Oct. 2014, and her permanent appointment follows a national search.

A graduate of Friedrich Wilhelm University in Bonn, Germany with a pharmacy degree and Charité Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany with a Ph.D. in pharmacoepidemilology, Winterstein joined the University of Florida in 2000. She has held the position of professor in the department of pharmaceutical outcomes and policy at the College of Pharmacy since 2012. She holds an affiliate appointment in the department of epidemiology at the College of Public Health and Health Professions and the College of Medicine. Before her appointment as chair, she served as the department of pharmaceutical outcomes and policy’s graduate program director which included a M.S. program sponsored by the Food and Drug Administration.

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UF to host inaugural Precision Medicine Conference

The expanding role of pharmacogenomics in clinical medicine and education will be the focus of the inaugural Precision Medicine Conference hosted by the University of Florida College of Pharmacy and the UF Health Personalized Medicine Program, March 10-12, 2016, in Orlando.

Designed for practicing pharmacists and pharmacy educators, the three-day conference will feature a pharmacogenomics certificate program and a workshop on teaching pharmacogenomics. Participants will have the opportunity to undergo personal genotyping for selected pharmacogenomics variants and can apply their own genetic information to solve patient cases during the program.

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'Personalized medicine' drives better outcomes for certain heart patients

In the weeks and months after a patient gets a heart stent, blood clots can pose a major threat to recovery. Now, University of Florida Health researchers have found that a quick genetic test can tell doctors early on whether a crucial anti-clotting drug will work, they reported on Nov. 9 at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions in Orlando.

They also are hailing the finding as a significant gain for personalized medicine, which tailors medical decisions based on individual patients’ genetic information and other unique characteristics.

Their research focused on clopidogrel, a drug that can prevent blood clots after a heart artery is propped open with a coronary stent. Yet the drug doesn’t work on everyone: About 30 percent of all patients have a genetic deficiency that prevents them from activating it. Treating those patients with a drug their bodies can’t use is akin to providing no medication, said associate professor Larisa Cavallari, Pharm.D., director of the Center for Pharmacogenomics at the UF College of Pharmacy and associate director of the UF Health Personalized Medicine Program.

READ MORE »

UF researchers: Novel compounds kill biofilms, may eliminate persistent bacterial infections

Researchers at the University of Florida College of Pharmacy have developed potent new compounds with aquatic origins that may offer relief for the 17 million Americans affected by biofilm-associated bacterial infections annually.

The series of compounds known as the halogenated phenazines, or HPs, can kill dangerous bacterial biofilms present in recurring and chronic bacterial infections such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA. The discovery may one day offer a cure for persistent bacterial infections that are largely resistant to conventional antibiotic treatments.

READ MORE »

WATCH VIDEO »

UF study helps pharmacists prevent dangerous blood sugar levels during hospital stay

Researchers at the University of Florida College of Pharmacy and UF Health are turning to prediction algorithms, or risk scores, to prevent adverse drug events and better manage glucose levels of hospitalized patients. The scores are designed to run fully automated in a hospital’s electronic health records and identify patients at risk for hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia.

A research team led by Almut Winterstein, Ph.D., a professor of pharmaceutical outcomes and policy, has been awarded a nearly $300,000 grant from the Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, to study the risk score’s effectiveness in drawing attention to patients at highest risk for hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia.

READ MORE »

The Conversation features commentary from Dean Johnson on genetics role in medication therapy

Pharmacists, physicians and researchers have tried for years to understand why medications at the same dose can work well for some people but not others. As College of Pharmacy Dean Julie Johnson, Pharm.D., wrote in a recent commentary for The Conversation an independent news source that features views from the academic and research community on issues affecting the world the answer to this medical mystery may be explained by studying a person’s genes. Johnson’s commentary addressed the expanding role of pharmacogenetics testing in medicine and how the results are helping health care professionals personalize therapies around genetics.

UF researchers ask FDA to remove non-prescription decongestant from the market

With cold and flu season upon us, two University of Florida College of Pharmacy researchers are calling on the Food and Drug Administration to remove a common over-the-counter decongestant from the market.

Phenylephrine is an FDA-approved drug found in many over-the-counter cough, cold and allergy products intended to relieve nasal sinus congestion. But in an editorial published in the September/October issue of The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice, Randy Hatton, Pharm.D., a clinical professor of pharmacotherapy and translational research, and Leslie Hendeles, Pharm.D., a professor of pharmacotherapy and translational research and professor of pediatrics, conclude that oral phenylephrine is ineffective at treating nasal congestion.

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College of Pharmacy faculty and students shine at ACCP annual meeting

The College of Pharmacy enjoyed a stellar showing at the American College of Clinical Pharmacology annual meeting in San Francisco.Hartmut Derendorf, Ph.D., a distinguished professor of pharmaceutics, received the Bristol-Myers Squibb Mentorship Award that is given annually to an awardee who demonstrates exemplary promotion of clinical pharmacology, with emphasis on training and guidance of junior scientists or colleagues. In addition, four UF graduate students and postdoctoral researchers were selected as 2015 Student and Trainee Abstract Award winners and presented their posters at the meeting. The UF award winners included:

• Jiexin Deng (Advisor: Stephan Schmidt)

• Jatinder Mukker (Advisor: Hartmut Derendorf)

• Snehal Samant (Advisor: Stephan Schmidt)

• Mohamed H. Solayman (Advisor: Julie Johnson)

Dr. Schmidt’s publication selected for Editor’s Choice honor

The Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, the official publication of the American College of Clinical Pharmacology, has selected a publication co-authored by Stephan Schmidt, Ph.D., and his team at Lake Nona, as its Editor’s Choice for the month of November. The article titled, “Quantitative Clinical Pharmacology for Size and Age Scaling in Pediatric Drug Development: A Systematic Review,” was selected in the journal’s area of pediatric pharmacology. Schmidt, an assistant professor of pharmaceutics at the college’s Lake Nona campus, and his co-authors, conducted the systematic review to provide a comprehensive overview of the different scaling approaches used in pediatric pharmacotherapy as well as their proper implementation in drug development and clinical use.

La'Zendra Danforth joins the College of Pharmacy as director of event planning

La’Zendra Danforth has joined the College of Pharmacy as the director of event planning. With more than 12 years of experience, she will serve as the coordinator of all events hosted by the College of Pharmacy. She will work closely with the Offices of the Dean, Student Affairs and Development and Alumni Affairs to plan, coordinate and execute events that represent the highest standards of the college and the university. Prior to joining the College of Pharmacy, she worked in the private and corporate sectors of special events. She holds a bachelor degree from Brevard College and is currently pursuing a master's degree from UF in tourism, recreation and sports management with a specialization in hospitality and tourism.

Honors and Awards

College of Pharmacy researchers earn gold medal honors from Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy

The Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy has awarded two gold medals for abstracts developed by researchers at the University of Florida College of Pharmacy’s Medication Therapy Management Communication and Care Center, or MTMCCC. UF’s gold winning abstracts rank among the elite abstracts submitted for the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy’s Nexus 2015 conference. Only 32 of the more than 280 abstract submissions secured platinum or gold honors. The two gold medal winning abstracts included:

• Clinical pharmacist Alexander Miguel, Pharm.D., CGP, and UF College of Pharmacy faculty members Richard Segal, Ph.D., and Anna Hall, Pharm.D., BCACP, led a team of UF researchers that tested a modified recruitment script to encourage Medicare-eligible members to participate in a comprehensive medication review.

• A research team including UF College of Pharmacy faculty members Teresa Roane, Pharm.D., BCACP, Haesuk Park, Ph.D., and Ayoade Adeyemi, a post-doctoral fellow under the supervision of Park, examined the effectiveness of a telephone outreach program initiated by UF's MTMCCC to improve medication adherence for patients with diabetes and hypertension.

READ MORE »

Dean Johnson featured on Thomson Reuters’ Highly Cited Researchers list

Thomson Reuters has named Julie Johnson, Pharm.D., dean and distinguished professor at the College of Pharmacy, as one of its Highly Cited Researchers of 2015. The honor recognizes some of the world’s most influential scientific minds and is earned by being among the top one percent most cited researchers in a subject field. About 3,000 researchers globally earned the distinction by writing the greatest number of reports officially designated by Essential Science Indicators as Highly Cited Papers.

Thomson Reuters featured Johnson in the pharmacology and toxicology category. She is recognized internationally as one of the leading researchers in the field of pharmacogenomics and has published over 230 peer-reviewed publications and 120 peer-reviewed abstracts. She has obtained nearly $40 million in funding as a principal investigator over her career and directs UF’s Personalized Medicine Program.

Also listed in the same category is Yuichi Sugiyama, Ph.D., a 2015 honorary degree recipient of the University of Florida and friend of the College of Pharmacy. Sugiyama is one of the world’s top pharmaceutical scientists and the world leader in pharmacokinetics and molecular biology of membrane transporters, drug metabolism and pharmacology. A former professor and chair of the department of molecular pharmacokinetics at the University of Tokyo, he has published more than 600 original articles, reviews and chapters and given invited lectures at 200 international conferences. He has had an important and long-lasting effect on research and education at UF, by partnering with College of Pharmacy leaders to support the biannual Retrometabolism and Global Gators meetings.

Student News

YoonYoung Choi wins best poster award at ICPE meeting

At the recent 31st International Conference on Pharmacoepidemiology and Therapeutic Risk Management, or ICPE, annual meeting in Boston, Yoonyoung Choi, a Ph.D. student in the department of pharmaceutical outcomes and policy, won the best poster award in the database spotlight session. This award recognized her research poster titled “Development of a Risk Model for Drug-Associated Inpatient Falls,” under the guidance of Almut Winterstein, Ph.D., professor and interim chair of pharmaceutical outcomes and policy. Choi’s research was a part of an American Society of Health-System Pharmacists project.

Dr. Hincapie-Castillo elected co-chair of the
Student Council for the International Society for Pharmacoepidemiology

Juan Hincapie-Castillo, Pharm.D., a graduate student in the department of pharmaceutical outcomes and policy was elected co-chair of the Student Council for the International Society for Pharmacoepidemiology, or ISPE, during the 31st International Conference on Pharmacoepidemiology and Therapeutic Risk Management in Boston. He is the second University of Florida student to hold this position and follows Caitlin Knox, Ph.D., a graduate from the same program. A 2013 Pharm.D. graduate of the UF College of Pharmacy, Hincapie-Castillo is working toward a doctorate degree under mentorship from Almut Winterstein, Ph.D., a professor and interim chair of pharmaceutical outcomes and policy. His concentration is pharmacoepidemiology, with research interests in pain management, substance abuse and drug policy focused on regulation of controlled substances.

Nearly 80 pharmacy students attend APhA-ASP regional meeting

An energetic group of nearly 80 Gator pharmacy students invaded Nashville, Tennessee, Oct. 16-18, for the APhA-ASP Region 3 Midyear Regional Meeting. The gathering was specifically designed with student pharmacists in mind and included educational seminars on APhA-ASP policy, a career fair and social events. Han Le, a second-year pharmacy student from the Jacksonville campus was elected to a regional officer position for the 2016 Midyear Regional Meeting. In addition, the UF chapter took home the Operation Heart Award for Region 3, a national patient care project where student pharmacists perform cholesterol and blood pressure screenings as well as provide education to help reduce heart disease in their local communities.

Mark Your Calendar

March 4-7 - APhA Annual Meeting in Baltimore, MD

March 10-12 - Precision Medicine Conference, Orlando, FL

April 1 - Dean's Circle Dinner in Gainesville, FL

April 2 - White Coat Ceremony in Gainesville, FL

Stay Connected!

Keep up with the exciting changes and accomplishments of the College of Pharmacy, its students, faculty, staff and alumni by viewing The Pharmily Connection and GATORx online!

Are you not receiving the GATORx? Contact the Development and Alumni Affairs office at alumni@cop.ufl.edu or (352) 273-6605.

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