Drs. Yang and Alam win PGRN Poster Awards

Guang Yang, Ph.D., a 2020 graduate of the University of Florida College of Pharmacy, and Benish Alam, Pharm.D., a PGY-2 clinical pharmacogenomics resident in the college, were two of nine trainees to win Pharmacogenomics Research Network, or PGRN, poster awards.

Guang and Alam
Guang Yang, Ph.D., and Benish Alam, Pharm.D., won PGRN poster awards.

Yang’s poster won a President’s Award, which is the highest honor presented to trainees. His research sought to identify the pharmacogenomic marker of bisphosphonate-related osteonecrosis of the jaw using a genome-wide association study followed by meta-analysis. The study identified one locus on chromosome 8 associated with medication-related osteonecrosis of the jaw and further analysis showed multiple genes in the region regulate bone remodeling or bisphosphonate pathways. Yang was mentored by Yan Gong, Ph.D., an associate professor of pharmacotherapy and translational research in the UF College of Pharmacy. He currently serves as a postdoc fellow at Northwestern University.

Alam received a PGRN Honorary 2020 Poster Award. Her research compared genetic test ordering and drug therapy changes in a health system one year before and one year after increasing pharmacist support for all tests ordered in the system. She found that the number of tests increased across the two years as well as the percentage of genotype-guided medication changes. Alam said the study speaks to the influence a pharmacogenetics specialist has on a health system and how the support helps health care providers select appropriate doses and medications for their patients after ordering a genetic test.