College of Pharmacy hosts 29th Annual Research Showcase

IMG_2672_copy_twitterThe research talents of nearly 70 College of Pharmacy graduate and professional students and postdoctoral fellows were on display Jan. 22 at the 29th Annual Research Showcase competition. The event featured eight oral presentations from graduate students, more than 60 poster presentations, a keynote address and an awards ceremony. The eight graduate students selected for oral presentations were finalists in their respected divisions.

Rashmi Barbhaiya, Ph.D., a clinical pharmacologist and CEO of Dynametrics LLC, delivered the keynote remarks. His presentation, titled “Precision Medicine, R&D Productivity & Affordability of Medicines — Key Drivers of Pharma R&D,” focused on the recent trends affecting the pharmaceutical industry and solutions for addressing pressing worldwide needs. He also shared some lessons he learned as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Florida College of Pharmacy in 1978-79, including how insights from his training at UF helped him in developing an anti-HIV drug in a timely manner at a time of great need.

During the award ceremony, Dean Julie Johnson, Pharm.D., announced that the Senior Division level of the oral competition would be renamed the William J. Millard Division, in honor of the former associate dean and professor of pharmacodynamics at the College of Pharmacy. For 21 years, Millard organized the college’s Annual Research Showcase and saw the event grow from a dozen poster entries to more than 60. He retired from the college on Dec. 31, 2015.

Sponsors for the event included Dr. Robert A. and Phyllis Levitt (class of 1961), who sponsor the Levitt award, as well as the Debbie Klapp Memorial Endowment and PK-P’Dyne, Inc. (Dr. Kerry Estes).

Oral Competition Winners

Millard Senior Division Winner: Nihal El-Rouby, Pharmacotherapy and Translational Research
Using Genome-Wide Association Analysis Coupled with Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPSC) to Identify Genetic Markers of Resistant Hypertension

Senior Division Finalists:

  • Mohammad Akbar, Pharmaceutics
    Alpha-1 Antirypsin (AAT) Gene and Stem Cell Based Therapies for the Treatment of Osteoporosis
  • Lei Wang, pharmacodynamics
    Brain Angiotensin Converting Enzyme 2 as a Novel Therapeutic Target for Anxiety Disorders

Levitt Division Winner: YoonYoung Choi, Pharmaceutical Outcomes and Policy
A Dynamic Risk Model for Inpatient Falls: Are They Predictable?

Levitt Division Finalist:

  • Yan Li, Pharmaceutical Outcomes and Policy
    A Dynamic Risk Prediction Model for Hospital Associated Hyperkalemia: Model Development and Performance Evaluation

Junior Division Winner: Weijing Cai, Medicinal Chemistry
Discovery, Synthesis and Biological Evaluation of Apratyramide, a Marine-derived Transcriptional Stimulator of VEGF-A

Junior Division Finalists:

  • Fatma Al-Awadhi, Medicinal Chemistry
    Underwater Treasures: Chemical and Biological Characterization of Cathepsin Inhibitors from Marine Cyanobacteria
  • Justin Smith, Pharmacodynamics
    A Novel Look at the Role of AT1 A Receptors in the PVN of the Hypothalamus in Neuroendocrine and Cardiovascular Regulation

Oral Competition Judges

  • Rashmi Barbhaiya, Ph.D., clinical pharmacologist, CEO, Dynametics, LLC
  • William J. Millard, Ph.D., former associate dean and professor, pharmacodynamics, UF College of Pharmacy
  • Mohan K. Raizada, Ph.D., distinguished professor, department of physiology and functional genomics, University of Florida
  • Amy Rosenberg, Pharm.D., BCPS, residency director, Shands Hospitals, UF Health
  • Laura Peterson, Ph.D., adjunct instructor, department of chemistry, University of Florida
Graduate student Lei Wang
Graduate student Lei Wang during the oral competition

Poster Competition Winners

Oxytocin Receptor Expressing Neurons Comprise a Prefrontal Cortex to Amygdala Circuit Implicated in Anxiety-like Behavior
Presenter: Yalun Tan, Pharmacodynamics, Graduate Student

Discovery and Development of the Potent Marine-Derived Elastase Inhibitor Lyngbyastatin 7: Structure-Activity Relationship Studies, Total Synthesis and In Vitro Biological Evaluation in Model Systems
Presenter: Danmeng Luo, Medicinal Chemistry, Graduate Student

Impact of Work and Activity Limitations Attributable to Arthritis on Health Related Quality of Life of United States Veterans
Presenter: Ghadeer Dawwas, Pharmaceutical Outcomes and Policy, Graduate Student

SNPs as Predictors of Chemo-sensitivity to Cytarabine
Presenter: Sally Kassem, Pharm.D. student

CD33 SNPs as markers for identifying patients likely to benefit from gemtuzumab, ozagomicin-a report from the Children’s Oncology Group
Presenter: Lata Chauhan, Postdoctoral fellow

Poster Competition Judges

  • Jane V. Aldrich, Ph.D., professor of medicinal chemistry
  • Jurgen Bulitta, Ph.D., associate professor of pharmaceutics
  • John Gums, Pharm.D., associate dean for clinical affairs
  • Alexander J. Grenning, Ph.D., assistant professor and director of experiential programs,
  • Leslie Hendeles, Pharm.D., professor of pharmacotherapy and translational research
  • Michael Katovich, Ph.D., professor of pharmacodynamics
  • Kenneth P. Klinker, Pharm.D., clinical associate professor of pharmacotherapy and translational research
  • Larry Lopez, Pharm.D., FCCP, BCPS, professor emeritus of pharmacotherapy and translational research
  • John Markowitz, Pharm.D., BCPP, professor of pharmacotherapy and translational research
  • Jay McLaughlin, Ph.D., associate professor of pharmacodynamics
  • Thomas Schmittgen, Ph.D., professor of pharmaceutics
  • Ann Snyder, Pharm.D., clinical associate professor of pharmacotherapy and translational research
  • Yu-Jung “Jenny” Wei, Ph.D., assistant professor of pharmaceutical outcomes and policy
  • Hong Xiao, Ph.D., professor of pharmaceutical outcomes and policy
  • William Cary Mobley, Ph.D., clinical associate professor of pharmaceutics