ASCPT recognizes six Presidential Trainee Award winners from the UF College of Pharmacy

By Tyler Francischine

Nearly a quarter of this year’s Presidential Trainee Award winners named by the American Society for Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics, or ASCPT, are students, graduates or faculty members affiliated with the University of Florida College of Pharmacy.

Among the 28 recipients of this award are Mohammed Gbadomosi, Ph.D., an assistant professor of pharmacotherapy and translational research in the UF College of Pharmacy; UF postdoctoral associate Churni Gupta, Ph.D., M.S.; UF graduate students Raed Alshammari, Pharm.D., Noor Ahmed Nahid, M.Pharm., and Naifah Alshameri, Pharm.D.; as well as former UF postdoctoral associate Deok Yong Yoon, Pharm.D., Ph.D.

The Presidential Trainee Award honors those scholars with the top-scoring abstracts, as identified by the ASCPT Scientific Programming Committee. This year’s winners will be celebrated during the ASCPT Annual Meeting held March 27-29 in Colorado Springs. During the Presidential Trainee Showcase on March 27, attendees will view the top posters and have the opportunity to interact with the award-winning trainees.

Learn more about the science and passion fueling each of the UF College of Pharmacy’s Presidential Trainee Award recipients below:

Naifah Alshameri, Pharm.D.

As a graduate student in the research program of Jatinder Lamba, Ph.D., M.Sc., associate dean for research and graduate education in the UF College of Pharmacy, a professor in the department of pharmacotherapy and translational research and the Frank A. Duckworth Eminent Scholar Chair, Naifah Alshameri created an abstract titled “DNA Methylation Patterns of Ara-C, Daunorubicin, and Etoposide Pharmacokinetic/Pharmacodynamic Genes are Associated with the Clinical Outcomes in AML.” Exploring DNA methylation, or the process by which genes turn on or off, Alshameri’s work aims to lay the foundation for more personalized and effective strategies to treat pediatric acute myeloid leukemia, or AML.

“Waking up every day thinking about the children who suffer because of AML drives my passion and dedication,” Alshameri said. “I am trying to conduct research that may help them end their suffering or at least improve their health and quality of life.”

Raed Alshammari, Pharm.D.

While in his first year as a graduate student in the department of pharmacotherapy and translational research, Raed Alshammari completed the abstract “A Genome-Wide DNA Methylation Analysis Reveals Different Methylation Patterns and Mechanistic Clues of Medication-Related Osteonecrosis of the Jaw.” His research investigates the underlying mechanisms of medication-related osteonecrosis of the jaw, a rare condition in which the jawbone becomes exposed and fails to heal, frequently observed in cancer patients treated with bone-strengthening medications.

“Winning this award fills me with gratitude, reminding me of the countless hours and the invaluable support from my mentor, Yan Gong, Ph.D., that have profoundly shaped my journey,” Alshammari said. “It’s a humbling recognition that reinforces my dedication to serving those affected by rare conditions. I am hopeful that my contributions, fueled by this honor, can significantly impact the lives of those we aim to help.”

Mohammed Gbadomosi, Ph.D.

When Mohammed Gbadomosi, Ph.D., was a postdoctoral fellow in the Program for Applied Research and Development in Genomic Medicine, or PARADIGM, under the mentorship of Duane Mitchell, M.D., Ph.D., UF assistant vice president for research, the Phyllis Kottler Friedman Professor in the UF department of neurosurgery and director of the UF Clinical Translational Science Institute, he developed the abstract “Integrated Genomics and Transcriptomics Analyses Using HapMap Cell Lines Reveal Novel Modulators of Cellular Response to Cyclophosphamide.” This study presented potential novel biomarkers of cyclophosphamide response, which may be used to guide cyclophosphamide treatment strategies or novel combinatorial treatment strategies for a variety of cancers.

“A lot of our research uses samples from patients in Gainesville or Jacksonville. We are hoping our discoveries will translate into meaningful developments in treatment strategies and paradigms that will be relevant to the patients in our community,” Gbadomosi said.

Churni Gupta, Ph.D., M.S.

Churni Gupta, Ph.D., M.S., received ASCPT recognition for her abstract, “Establishing A Paramount Quantitative Framework Linking Disease Progression and Clinical Outcomes for Parkinson’s Disease.” Under the tutelage of Stephan Schmidt, Ph.D., F.C.P., the Certara endowed professor and director of the UF Center For Pharmacometrics and Systems Pharmacology, as well as Valvanera Vozmediano Esteban, Ph.D., a former assistant professor in the department of pharmaceutics, Gupta’s work devised a model to predict symptom profiles for patients newly diagnosed with Parkinson’s using brain imaging data. Gupta said she hopes her research will be utilized to make a diagnostic tool for Parkinson’s patients.

“I have always been excited about science, but my current research has truly blown my mind. The sheer scale of the project and how rewarding the journey has been is quite indescribable,” she said. “I am a mathematician by training, and this field is new to me. I started working with pharmacometricians in 2021 – for my research to be accepted in such a platform gives me a lot of hope for the future.”

Noor Ahmed Nahid, M.Pharm.

Ph.D. candidate Noor Ahmed Nahid received his second ASCPT Presidential Trainee Award this year (as well as a 2024 ASCPT Travel Award) for his abstract titled “Impact of CYP2D6 Inhibitors on Pain Control by The Opioids.” His work, conducted under the guidance of Dean Emeritus Julie A. Johnson, Pharm.D., studied the interactions that can occur between opioids like hydrocodone and oxycodone and antidepressants like bupropion and paroxetine, a combination that he found often sends patients to the emergency room in pain.

“The United States makes up 4.4% of the world’s population and consumes over 80% of the world’s opioids. From literature, I came to know that opioids may provide benefits for chronic pain, but the magnitude is likely to be very small,” he said. “That actually drove me to do the research on opioids and antidepressant drug interactions on pain control by the opioids.”

Deok Yong Yoon, Pharm.D., Ph.D.

When Deok Yong Yoon  — currently a principal pharmacometrician with Cambridge-based company Novartis — was a postdoctoral fellow working with Sarah Kim, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the department of pharmaceutics, he created the abstract, “Use of Quantitative Magnetic Resonance Imaging Biomarkers in Clinical Trials for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy: Multivariate Disease Progression Models Bridging Timed Motor Function Tests and Fat Fraction,” which garnered him his second ASCPT Presidential Trainee Award in two years. Yoon’s research developed disease progression models of Duchenne muscular dystrophy, with an aim to optimize the use of muscle magnetic resonance imaging biomarkers for evaluating the efficacy of potential treatments.

“Rare diseases pose challenges to drug development due to their unique characteristics. I hope that this research will facilitate the acceleration of Duchenne muscular dystrophy drug development, ultimately improving the quality of life for patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy and their families,” Yoon said.