October 2016

Dear Alumni and Friends, 

The arrival of a new academic year is always an exciting time for the College of Pharmacy, as we welcome hundreds of aspiring pharmacists to campus. The class of 2020 boasts 275 Doctor of Pharmacy students at our three campuses in Gainesville, Jacksonville and Orlando. Included in that group are the eight inaugural Crisafi Scholars. These outstanding individuals received recruitment scholarships as part of the Crisafi Challenge fundraising campaign last year. Bob Crisafi, Ph.D., a graduate of the College of Pharmacy class of 1956, pledged to match all gifts given to the campaign up to $10,000, and we were fortunate to raise more than $30,000 that was used to recruit top pharmacy students to UF. The eight Crisafi Scholars hail from four states and several of the students have said that the scholarship swayed their decision to attend UF. We are thrilled that so many of you chose to support the Crisafi Challenge last year and know that your gift has made a meaningful impact in the lives of these new Gator pharmacists.

The 2016 Crisafi Challenge is happening now – and the deadline to support the challenge is this Friday, Oct. 14! Dr. Bob was so impressed by the challenge last year that he has doubled his donation and will be matching all gifts up to $20,000 this year. We are hoping that you will once again rise to the challenge and make a gift in support of student scholarships. If we can meet our goal of raising $40,000 in 10 days, we’ll be able to offer even more scholarships to incoming students next year.

Finally, we would like to thank all of our alumni and friends that joined us Sept. 10 for the 30th Annual Alumni Reunion BBQ. More than 300 people attended the event and enjoyed all the festivities before the Gators big win over Kentucky. It is always great to have our alumni return to campus and share their stories about their days in the college, and this year was no different.

Thank you for all you do to support the College of Pharmacy, and we hope that those of you who were affected by Hurricane Matthew are safe and your homes are secure.

For the Gator Good,

Julie Johnson, Pharm.D.
Dean & Distinguished Professor

Elizabeth Zipper
Director of Development & Alumni Affairs

College and Alumni News 

Crisafi Challenge aims to raise $40,000 for student scholarships

For the second year in a row, Bob Crisafi, Ph.D., ʼ56, has generously agreed to match all gifts made up to $20,000 to the Crisafi Challenge Scholarship Fund. Crisafi feels so strongly about this initiative that he has doubled his matching gift this year. Together with the matching gift, the College of Pharmacy’s goal is to raise $40,000 during the 10-day challenge from Oct. 5-14.

Gifts raised during the Crisafi Challenge will continue to support one of the UF College of Pharmacy’s most pressing needs — recruitment scholarships to attract the best and brightest future pharmacists. The inaugural Crisafi Challenge assisted in the recruitment of eight top students in the class of 2020.


Meet the Crisafi Scholars for the class of 2020

The inaugural class of Crisafi Scholars included students from all three campuses and are listed as follows:

Gustavo Alvir-Avill - Kissimmee, FL

Lia Argevani - Jacksonville, FL

Briana Ballister - Charlottesville, VA

Hanna Harper - Rio Rancho, NM

Emma Lodl - Menomonee Falls, WI

Joanna Longueira - Miami, FL

Madeliene Morin - Weston, FL

John Wang-Hu - Holiday, FL

30th Annual Alumni Reunion BBQ brings together generations of Gator Pharmacists

Generations of Gator Pharmacists returned to campus on Sept. 10 to celebrate the 30th Annual Alumni Reunion BBQ at the University of Florida College of Pharmacy. More than 300 faculty, staff, alumni and friends of the college enjoyed a sunshine-filled afternoon in the Pharmacy Courtyard reconnecting with classmates while enjoying a barbecue meal.

A host of activities entertained attendees, including an appearance by Albert and Alberta, the official mascots of UF. A photo booth, cornhole games and face painting for the kids were popular attractions. Faculty and students in the college offered campus tours that showcased the recently renovated classroom for pharmacy students participating in the college’s new team-based learning curriculum.



Dean Johnson delivers State of the College address

A record-setting year and a new top 10 national ranking highlighted University of Florida College of Pharmacy Dean Julie Johnson’s annual State of the College address on Sept. 20. Speaking to faculty and staff, Johnson reviewed many college-wide achievements in the past year, including the following:

• U.S. News & World Report has ranked the College of Pharmacy No. 9 nationally.

• 11 new faculty were hired in the past year.

• 47 new faculty have been hired since July 2013.

• A record $14 million in research funding was secured in the fiscal year.

• Year one of a new Pharm.D. curriculum was successfully launched.

• 95 pharmacy students were placed in residency, the most of any pharmacy college in the country.

• 275 students were enrolled in the Pharm.D. class of 2020, including a near-record 56 students in Jacksonville.

• Entrepreneurial Programs have generated a record $12 million in tuition revenue in the fiscal year.

• The shared-responsibility model with UF Health has expanded to include faculty teams in infectious diseases, critical care and pediatrics.

• A record $12 million was raised through fundraising efforts.

Johnson thanked the faculty and staff for all their hard work in attaining these milestones. In addition, she laid out her vision for the future of the college that includes recruiting several new faculty, hiring a chair of the department of pharmacodynamics and making strides to support greater diversity among the student body.

UF College of Pharmacy researcher investigates natural treatment for liver cancer

A University of Florida College of Pharmacy researcher is studying a natural therapy for treating liver cancer, one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths in the world. Thomas Schmittgen, Ph.D., a professor of pharmaceutics, is identifying novel treatments and new ways to deliver those therapies by restoring microRNA levels in cancer cells in hopes of finding options for people with the disease.

“There is really no effective treatment for liver cancer when it advances,” Schmittgen said. “In the early stages doctors can treat it with surgery or by directing chemotherapy to the liver. Once it starts to spread to other parts of the body, there are no good treatments. There is clearly a real need for developing new therapies.”


UF President to be appointed to National Science Board

President Barack Obama on Sept. 16 announced his intention to appoint University of Florida President Kent Fuchs to the National Science Board, or NSB, the body that oversees the National Science Foundation, or NSF.

Fuchs is the only NSB member from Florida.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to play a role in our nation’s support of science and engineering research and education,” Fuchs said. “When members of the UF community are able to serve in this way, it increases our university’s visibility and influence.”

The NSB is comprised of 25 members appointed by the president. The NSF director is an ex officio member. Members serve six-year terms. With the exception of the NSF director, one-third of the board is appointed every two years. NSB members are drawn from industry and universities, and represent a variety of science and engineering disciplines and geographic areas. 


Alumni and Friends enjoy FPA Gator Reception

More than 80 alumni, faculty, students and friends of the College of Pharmacy gathered in Fort Lauderdale for the annual Gator Reception at the Florida Pharmacy Association Annual Meeting. Held July 1, the reception offered attendees the opportunity to socialize and enjoy hors d’oeuvres, while Dean Julie Johnson provided an update on news around the college during the past year. Pharmacy student Trey Burry won the traditional gift basket giveaway.

Space Coast Gator Club hosts Dr. Hartmut Derendorf

The Space Coast Gator Club welcomed Hartmut Derendorf, Ph.D., chair and distinguished professor of pharmaceutics, to Brevard County on July 14. As the University of Florida Alumni Association Distinguished Alumni Professor, Derendorf is traveling the state this year sharing about his research interests and passion for being a Gator pharmacist. His presentation to the Space Coast Gator Club included an overview of his research program on finding the best dose and dosing regimen for a variety of drugs like antibiotics and corticosteroids and evaluating drug interactions with grapefruit juice. Since his talk took place near Cape Canaveral, he also shared details about his recent research that is examining sleep medications during space flight.

Faculty Spotlight

Nation’s top academic pharmacy research award presented to Dr. Julie Johnson

University of Florida College of Pharmacy Dean Julie Johnson, Pharm.D., is the recipient of the 2016 Volwiler Research Achievement Award, the nation’s top academic pharmacy research honor. The American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy presented the award during the organization’s annual meeting in Anaheim, California, on July 25.

The Volwiler Research Achievement Award recognizes Johnson for her contributions to the field of pharmacogenomics, the study of how genes affect a person’s response to drugs. The top research prize in academic pharmacy was established in 1977 to honor the late Ernest H. Volwiler, former president and research director of Abbott Laboratories. The annual award recognizes an individual within the ranks of pharmacy education recognized by his or her peers as one of the leading researchers in a given area of the pharmaceutical and clinical sciences.


Photo courtesy of EPNAC

Dr. Michael McKenzie receives inaugural AACP Student Personnel Services Special Interest Group award

The Student Personnel Services Special Interest Group within the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy has named Michael McKenzie, Ph.D., emeritus faculty, as its inaugural James Robertson Jr. Leadership Excellence in Student Services award winner. Named in honor of James Robertson Jr., the first associate dean of student affairs at Texas A&M Rangel College of Pharmacy, the award recognizes an outstanding individual who has demonstrated leadership excellence in student services throughout his or her career. McKenzie retired in June following 44 years at the University of Florida College of Pharmacy. For more than three decades he led the college’s office of student affairs and personally touched the lives of thousands of UF pharmacy students with his leadership and guidance.

Dr. Stephan Schmidt honored with ACCP Tanabe Young Investigator Award

The American College of Clinical Pharmacology, or ACCP, has awarded its 2016 Tanabe Young Investigator Award to Stephan Schmidt, Ph.D., an assistant professor of pharmaceutics and associate director of the Center for Pharmacometrics and Systems Pharmacology in Lake Nona. The award recognizes Schmidt’s significant contributions as a researcher in the field of clinical pharmacology and the promising career ahead of him based on his outstanding achievements at an early stage. Schmidt’s research focuses on the application of quantitative systems pharmacology to address clinically relevant questions in the areas of antimicrobial chemotherapy, pediatrics, diabetes, cardiovascular safety and postmenopausal osteoporosis. He received the award during the ACCP Annual Meeting in Bethesda, Md., Sept. 25-27.

Dr. Lindsey Childs-Kean appointed to ASHP Advisory Group

Lindsey Childs-Kean, Pharm.D., M.P.H., BCPS, a clinical assistant professor of pharmacotherapy and translational research, has been appointed to an American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, or ASHP, Advisory Group. Childs-Kean will serve on the Preceptor Skills Development Section Advisory Group for the Section of Clinical Specialists and Scientists. The group will advise ASHP regarding opportunities to enhance student and residency preceptor skills development, as well as identify and develop tools, programs and resources to support such efforts.

Dean Johnson appointed to the Membership Committee of the National Academy of Medicine

Julie Johnson, Pharm.D., dean and distinguished professor, has been appointed to the Membership Committee of the National Academy of Medicine. The 24-member committee is responsible for planning the policies and procedures for election to the National Academy of Medicine and for preparing the final ballot. Her two-year appointment on the committee began in July and the first meeting of the committee takes place at the National Academy of Medicine meeting later this month in Washington, D.C. In 2014, Johnson was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, now called The National Academy of Medicine, becoming only the ninth UF faculty member, and the first woman from UF, to attain membership.

Dr. Carol Motycka to lead FPA House of Delegates

Carol Motycka, Pharm.D., clinical associate professor, was appointed as Speaker of the House of Delegates at the Florida Pharmacy Association Annual Meeting in Fort Lauderdale. In this role, she will serve on the President’s Committee of the Florida Pharmacy Association, or FPA, and will be involved in many aspects of the organization throughout the year, including leading the policy development arm, attending FPA Board of Directors meetings and assisting in budget and finance. Motycka will also chair the House of Delegates, which meets every year to form and establish policy issues that are important to the profession and business of pharmacy. A delegate of the FPA since 2008, she has held several leadership positions in the organization, including Vice Speaker of the House of Delegates, Chair of the Education Council and is currently chairman of the board for the Pharmacy Today Journal.

Dr. Chenglong Li joins the department of medicinal chemistry as the Nicholas Bodor Professor in Drug Discovery

Medicinal chemist Chenglong Li, Ph.D., joined the University of Florida College of Pharmacy in August as the Nicholas Bodor Professor in Drug Discovery. He will also serve as the graduate coordinator in the department of medicinal chemistry. With wide-ranging interests in chemistry, Li focuses his research on molecular recognition, with a strong application to structure-based computer-aided drug design. He uses computational and experimental approaches to explore the connection among molecular structure, dynamics and function. Prior to joining UF, Li was a professor at The Ohio State University College of Pharmacy for 11 years. He also worked as a research associate in computational chemistry at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California. He graduated with a Ph.D. in biophysics and a minor in organic chemistry from Cornell University in 2000, and earned his master's and bachelor’s degrees from Beijing University in China.

Dr. Chengguo Xing appointed professor and the Frank A. Duckworth Eminent Scholar Chair in Drug Research and Development

Accomplished researcher Chengguo (Chris) Xing, Ph.D., has been appointed a professor of medicinal chemistry and the Frank A. Duckworth Eminent Scholar Chair in Drug Research and Development at the University of Florida College of Pharmacy. Xing joined the college in August following 13 years at the University of Minnesota. His research is funded by the National Institutes of Health and broadly covers the isolation, design and synthesis and identification of biologically active small molecules to help manage diseases and understand biology. As the Frank A. Duckworth Eminent Scholar Chair, his research at UF will focus on translational development with several indications, including novel therapies selective against multidrug resistant malignancies, chemopreventive agents against primary carcinogenesis, and a natural dietary supplement on neurological disorders with the goal to extend them in the clinical setting. Xing obtained his Ph.D. degree from Arizona State University and completed postdoctoral training at Harvard University.

Dr. Kristin Weitzel appointed Director of Continuing Pharmacy Education

Kristin Weitzel, Pharm.D., has been appointed director of Continuing Pharmacy Education at the University of Florida College of Pharmacy. In this new role, she will support the college’s continuing education programs and expand collaboration with the college’s online educational programs to offer clinical professionals new opportunities for professional education. She is expected to work with UF's College of Medicine and College of Nursing to increase interdisciplinary continuing education offerings, while also developing training programs for pharmacists and staff at UF Health Shands Hospital and the UF Medication Management Center.

A proven and effective leader, Weitzel has assumed many leadership roles within the College of Pharmacy during her 16-year tenure. She will continue to serve as a clinical associate professor of pharmacotherapy and translational research and associate director of the UF Health Personalized Medicine Program. The director of continuing pharmacy education appointment requires 40 percent effort, and she is expected to transition into the position in the coming weeks.

U.S. Surgeon General asks health care providers to help address prescription opioid crisis

United States Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy, M.D., M.B.A., is calling on pharmacists and other health care providers to lead efforts to minimize the prescription opioid crisis affecting our nation. In late August, the surgeon general sent a personal letter to 2.3 million health care practitioners and public health leaders asking for help in solving an urgent health crisis. The direct appeal called on health care professionals to join a movement identified as Turn The Tide Rx and take an online pledge to end the epidemic. The pledge requests providers educate themselves on treating pain safely and effectively; screen patients for opioid use disorders and connect them to treatment; and talk about opioid addiction as a chronic illness, not a moral failing.

Student News

Class of 2020 arrives at the UF College of Pharmacy

The path toward a pharmacy degree began with orientation week for 275 first-year pharmacy students at the University of Florida College of Pharmacy. Members of the class of 2020 arrived in Gainesville on Aug. 15 to orient themselves with the college, its faculty and staff, and the classmates they will spend the next four years with on their journey toward a Pharm.D. degree. The class features 252 students from Florida, along with 23 out-of-state students from 11 states and two countries.

Students in the class of 2020 spent the first two days of orientation week together in Gainesville before traveling to their respective campuses in Gainesville, Jacksonville and Orlando for the final two days of orientation. College of Pharmacy Dean Julie Johnson and members of the faculty welcomed the incoming class and applauded the students’ decision to attend one of the top 10 nationally ranked pharmacy colleges. Faculty teaching first-year classes were introduced and upperclassman were on hand to answer any questions. A number of team-building exercises helped students get to know their classmates better and understand how team-based learning activities play a critical role in UF’s Pharm.D. curriculum.



College of Pharmacy welcomes 19 graduate students to the entering class of 2016

The pursuit of a graduate degree has begun for 19 University of Florida College of Pharmacy students in the entering class of 2016. All five departments in the college welcomed students to their doctoral or masters programs. On Aug. 17, the Office of Graduate Programs hosted an orientation day to help the students get acquainted with the college and each other. College of Pharmacy Dean Julie Johnson, Pharm.D., welcomed the students to campus and spoke about the collaborative learning and research environments that exist at UF. She encouraged students to get involved in multidisciplinary research and broaden their research interests.

UF graduate students and fellow shine at American College of Clinical Pharmacology Annual Meeting

Three graduate students and a postdoc fellow from the University of Florida College of Pharmacy took home half of the eight student abstract awards presented at the American College of Clinical Pharmacology, or ACCP, Annual Meeting held Sept. 25-27 in Bethesda, Maryland. The stellar showing featured scientific poster presentations by graduate students and a postdoc fellow from the department of pharmaceutics, including Amelia Deitchman, a fourth-year student, Naveen Mangal, a third-year student, Tanaya Vaidya, a first-year student, and Sumit Basu, a postdoc fellow. A panel of judges selected Vaidya as best presenter and the recipient of the A. Colburn Wayne Memorial Award for the best paper at the conference.

The group will have their abstracts published online in the ACCP’s Clinical Pharmacology in Drug Development journal. All the student winners were also invited to attend the Honors and Awards Regents Dinner and presented with a certificate and honorarium.

Pharmacy student Jessica Rodiles to serve on IPSF Executive Committee

University of Florida College of Pharmacy fourth-year student Jessica Rodiles has been elected to serve on the International Pharmaceutical Students’ Federation’s, or IPSF, Executive Committee for 2016-17. Rodiles will serve on the 17-member Executive Committee by virtue of her election as the Chairperson of the Pan American Regional Office of IPSF. As an Executive Committee member, she will be a voting representative of the Pan-American Region and attend global meetings and events, including next year’s World Congress in Taiwan. She will help promote IPSF through her regional office and keep members informed of IPSF initiatives and activities.

Rodiles became involved in IPSF to better understand the similarities and differences of pharmacy practice throughout the world. She said pharmacy students across the Pan-American Region share the same goal of being recognized as valuable contributors of the health care team and providing better care to patients. Through service in organizations such as IPSF, she is able to shape policies that will allow patients access to faster and better care.

Pharmacy student Allyssa Webb appointed to ASHP Pharmacy Student Forum Advisory Group

Allyssa Webb, a third-year pharmacy student at the College of Pharmacy's St. Petersburg campus, has been appointed to serve on the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, or ASHP, Pharmacy Student Forum Leadership Development Advisory Group for 2016-17. The ASHP Pharmacy Student Forum has six Advisory Groups, each consisting of 15 student pharmacists from across the country. Webb is the only UF pharmacy student to be appointed to an advisory group this year. As a member of the Leadership Development group, Webb and her peers will advise ASHP regarding the growth and development of future health-system pharmacy leaders and promote a culture that encourages leadership as professionals. She will also lead a small work group that will develop a student program about leadership to be considered for the ASHP Summer Meetings in 2017.

St. Petersburg student Rachel Huhn to serve on FSHP Board of Directors

For the first time, a University of Florida College of Pharmacy student will serve on the Florida Society of Health-System Pharmacists, or FSHP, Board of Directors. Rachel Huhn, a fourth-year student from the St. Petersburg campus, will be the single student representative on the FSHP board in 2016-17. She was selected to the position during the FSHP Annual Meeting in August and will be installed at the next Board of Directors meeting. Huhn became involved with FSHP because of her passion for health-system pharmacy. She served as the FSHP St. Petersburg student chapter president in 2015, and as a former member of the Membership Affairs Council, she worked to promote awareness of the many benefits offered by FSHP.

Dr. Juan Hincapie-Castillo to receive the DuBow Family Graduate Student Education Fellowship

Juan Hincapie-Castillo, Pharm.D., a fourth-year graduate student in the department of pharmaceutical outcomes and policy, has been named the recipient of the DuBow Family Graduate Student Education Fellowship. The award is given annually to a graduate student in the department of pharmaceutical outcomes and policy to support his or her research and education. Recipients have an outstanding track record in scholarship and must be involved with research related to pediatrics.

A 2013 graduate of the University of Florida College of Pharmacy’s Pharm.D. program, Hincapie-Castillo is working toward a doctorate degree under the mentorship of Almut Winterstein, Ph.D., a professor and 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.

Five pharmacy students represented UF at IPSF World Congress in Zimbabwe

Five students from the University of Florida College of Pharmacy’s Gainesville campus traveled to Zimbabwe in August to represent UF at the 62nd Annual International Pharmaceutical Students’ Federation, or IPSF, World Congress. Amanda Haddad (2PD), Marry Vuong (3PD), Justin Muklewicz (3PD) and Cheska Rances (3PD) were all delegates of the American Pharmacists Association Academy of Student Pharmacists, or APhA-ASP. They attended professional development workshops, participated in a public health campaign at a Zimbabwe orphanage and competed in events such as the beginner compounding competition and beginner patient counseling competition. Carla Figura (3PD) is currently serving as the APhA-ASP National Contact Person for IPSF and was an official delegate at the conference. She participated and voted during the General Assembly, the highest ruling body of IPSF.

Advocacy panel introduces first-year pharmacy students to leadership and policymaking

A distinguished panel of experts on leadership and policymaking in Florida shared with first-year University of Florida College of Pharmacy students what it means to be an advocate and how to inspire change during a Pharmacy and Population Health class on Sept. 13. The panelists attending the class included:

• Kathy Baldwin, Pharm.D., BCPS, president, Florida Society of Health-System Pharmacists

• Sara Clements, M.S., director of external affairs, Step Up For Students

• Michael Jackson, BPharm, executive vice president and CEO, Florida Pharmacists Association

• Mark Mikhael, Pharm.D., vice chair, Florida Board of Pharmacy

All the panelists brought examples of advocacy in action to the discussion. They possess extensive experience advocating in Tallahassee and shared with students how lobbying helps move ideas into law and the challenging aspects of the process. The diverse backgrounds of the panelists from inside and outside of pharmacy helped the students to gain a greater understanding of how advocacy can impact population health from multiple perspectives. Faculty leading the class hoped the students would leave the discussion inspired to be advocates for the pharmacy profession and the patients that they will serve.


Mark Your Calendar

Oct. 5-14  Crisafi Challenge

Oct. 24  Gator Reception at ACCP Annual Meeting – Hollywood, FL

Nov. 14  Gator Reception at AAPS Annual Meeting – Denver, CO

Nov. 18  Grand Guard – Gainesville, FL

Dec. 5  Gator Reception at ASPH Midyear Meeting – 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!

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