January 2017

Dear Alumni and Friends, 

It is hard to believe that 2017 is already upon us. The Gators resounding victory over the Iowa Hawkeyes in the Outback Bowl made for a great start to the new year. Faculty and students in the College of Pharmacy have hit the ground running with the start of spring semester classes on Jan. 3. Our 1PD and 2PD students continue to embrace the new curriculum, while our 3PD students are wrapping up their final weeks of classes before beginning APPE rotations in late February. 4PD students will be concluding APPE rotations in a few weeks and many of them have their sights set on securing a job or matching with a residency program following graduation. Undoubtedly, the future is bright for all our students, and we look forward to many great achievements from them in 2017.

In this edition of the Pharmily, we look back on the final months of 2016 and the success stories that make us proud to be Gators. October proved to be an incredible month to highlight the power of giving back to the college. A generous gift from the DuBow Family Foundation made possible the construction of a new team-based learning classroom at our Jacksonville campus that supports videoconferencing with students and professors at our other campuses. Dr. Bob and Barbara Crisafi once again challenged the college’s alumni and friends to raise money to support student scholarships. Thanks to the generosity of over 140 donors, and the Crisafis, the college raised $55,000, which will be offered to incoming students in the fall of 2017.  Finally, we recognized the gifts of three donors who created endowed professorships, along with the distinguished faculty members who were appointed to these professorships, during a ceremony sponsored by UF Health.

The College of Pharmacy continues to be the undisputed leader in pharmacogenomics and personalized medicine. At the American Heart Association meeting in November, Lari Cavallari, Pharm.D., associate professor and director of the Center for Pharmacogenomics, presented data from a seven center national collaboration documenting that pharmacogenomic-guided decisions in the cardiac catheterization laboratory led to significant reductions in deaths, heart attacks and strokes. Based on these data, the FDA is already reviewing the clopidogrel label for potential changes, and we believe these data have the potential to lead to changes in treatment guidelines in cardiology. For those of you seeking to enhance your knowledge and skills on implementing pharmacogenomics into your clinical practice, be sure to check out our Precision Medicine Conference. The early bird registration ends Monday, Jan. 9.

Finally, seven members of the College of Pharmacy class of 1966 reunited at the University of Florida in November for their Grand Guard. The celebration marked the 50th anniversary of their graduation from UF, and we were thrilled to have them join us for a luncheon and tour of the college.

We hope your holiday season was filled with relaxation and time well spent with those you love. May the new year bring you much happiness and joy.

For the Gator Good,

Julie Johnson, Pharm.D.
Dean & Distinguished Professor

Elizabeth Zipper
Director of Development & Alumni Affairs

College and Alumni News 

DuBow Family Foundation gift helps establish a new interactive classroom in Jacksonville

A gift from the DuBow Family Foundation is changing the classroom learning experience for University of Florida College of Pharmacy students in Jacksonville. In the fall of 2016, the college opened a state-of-the-art, interactive classroom that connects pharmacy students in Jacksonville with their professors and peers in Gainesville and Orlando via videoconferencing. The virtual environment supports the college’s new team-based learning curriculum, as the classroom features space for 10 teams to assemble for lectures and discussions while surrounded by television monitors on the walls and cameras throughout the room.


Challenge Accepted: $55,000 raised during Crisafi Challenge

An outpouring of generosity from alumni and friends of the College of Pharmacy helped to make this year’s Crisafi Challenge another huge success. More than 140 donors contributed $35,000 during the 10-day challenge from Oct. 5-14. With Bob Crisafi’s pledge to match $20,000, a total of $55,000 was raised for student scholarships to recruit the best and brightest pharmacy students to UF.

“We are overwhelmingly grateful for all the gifts given during this year’s Crisafi Challenge and thankful for the many supporters who rose to the challenge to help us far exceed our challenge goal,” said Julie Johnson, Pharm.D., dean and distinguished professor at the College of Pharmacy. “As we saw with the first year of the Crisafi Challenge, these scholarships have a tremendous impact in attracting some of the best pharmacy students in Florida, and the nation, to UF.



Celebrating Distinction ceremony honors three new endowed professors in pharmacy

Three University of Florida College of Pharmacy researchers from the departments of medicinal chemistry and pharmaceutical outcomes and policy were installed as endowed professors during an Oct. 26 ceremony hosted by UF Health. Appointment to an endowed professorship is one of the highest honors a college can bestow on a faculty member and is reserved for scholars of national and international acclaim. Those College of Pharmacy faculty honored included:

• Chenglong Li, Ph.D., professor of medicinal chemistry and the Nicholas Bodor Professorship in Drug Discovery

• Almut Winterstein, Ph.D., professor and the Dr. Robert and Barbara Crisafi Chair in Pharmaceutical Outcomes and Policy

• Chengguo “Chris” Xing, Ph.D., professor of medicinal chemistry and the Frank A. Duckworth Eminent Scholar Chair in Drug Research and Development


Simple genetic test shows promise for better outcomes in heart stent patients

A quick, precise genetic test can significantly reduce the risk of cardiovascular events by helping to identify more effective medication for some heart patients, a group led by University of Florida Health researchers has found.

The test identifies a genetic deficiency that affects the body’s ability to activate clopidogrel, a common anti-clotting drug given after a coronary artery stent is inserted. During a recent study from the National Institutes of Health’s Implementing Genomics in Practice (IGNITE) Network, researchers at UF Health and other sites throughout the country analyzed medical outcomes in 1,815 patients who had genetic testing at the time of their cardiac procedure. The genetic testing allows physicians to pinpoint the best anti-clotting medication for each patient.



Register now for the 2017 UF Precision Medicine Conference

Registration is underway for the 2017 UF Precision Medicine Conference and Pharmacogenomics Certificate Program hosted by the University of Florida College of Pharmacy. The conference will be held March 8-10, 2017, in Orlando, and will focus on equipping practitioners, trainees and students to translate pharmacogenomics science into daily practice. National experts in pharmacogenomics will host 27 sessions covering a variety of topics, from the basics of human genetics to patient care applications to clinical implementation and how to train students and residents.

“The program is designed for practitioners who are interested in using pharmacogenomic information in their practice to optimize patient outcomes,” said Kristin Weitzel, Pharm.D., a clinical associate professor of pharmacotherapy and translational research and associate director of the UF Health Personalized Medicine Program. “Clinical pharmacogenomics is a rapidly expanding field, and this conference will share best practices for implementing pharmacogenomics into patient care and teaching activities.”

For more information, visit http://precisionmed.pharmacy.ufl.edu/.

Grand Guard celebration welcomes class of 1966 back to campus

Seven members of the College of Pharmacy class of 1966 reunited at the University of Florida in November for their Grand Guard, a celebration of the 50th anniversary of their graduation. Members of the class of 1966, and their guests, enjoyed a tour of the College of Pharmacy and a private luncheon with Dean Julie Johnson and leadership in the college. The reunion offered an opportunity for alumni to share memories from college days and learn about recent developments in the College of Pharmacy. The class of 1966 also participated in several activities sponsored by the UF Alumni Association, including the Grand Guard Induction Ceremony where they dressed in traditional orange and blue graduation robes and were formally inducted into the Grand Guard Society. Members of the class of 1966 attending Grand Guard included:

• Leonardo Arteaga

• John Balkcom

• Kenneth Norfleet

• Terry Reid

• Richard Rumrill

• Larry Turner

• Robert Wilson

New Alumni Ambassador Program aims to connect past and future Gator pharmacists

The College of Pharmacy has launched a new Alumni Ambassador Program to connect alumni with incoming pharmacy students to the college. Volunteers are needed to reach out to newly admitted students by phone or email and offer a congratulatory welcome to the Gator pharmacy family. The contact also offers the student an opportunity to ask questions about the college or the pharmacy profession.

With more than 300 pharmacy students admitted annually, there is a significant need for volunteer ambassadors to help the program reach its intended goal of matching each new student with an alumnus or alumna. While most of the students contacted are firm in their commitment to attend the UF College of Pharmacy, some students may be considering multiple admission offers, and the outreach may help sway their decision to choosing UF.

To become an Alumni Ambassador, please contact the Office of Development and Alumni Affairs at 352-273-6605 or email alumni@cop.ufl.edu.

Faculty Spotlight

Dean Julie Johnson named Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researcher for second consecutive year

University of Florida College of Pharmacy Dean and Distinguished Professor Julie Johnson, Pharm.D., has been named a Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researcher for the second consecutive year. The honor is given to the world’s leading scholars in the sciences and social sciences and is earned by being among the top one percent most cited researchers in a subject field. Thomson Reuters analyzes citation data over an 11-year period to identify scholars worthy of the Highly Cited Researcher distinction, and about 3,000 researchers globally earn the honor every year.

Johnson was featured in the Pharmacology and Toxicology category – one of 21 broad fields of science recognized by Thomson Reuters. She is recognized internationally as one of the leading researchers in the field of pharmacogenomics. During her academic career, she has secured nearly $40 million in funding as a principal investigator and written more than 250 original articles.

Dr. Nicholas Bodor addresses recent advances in soft drug design during Seminar Series lecture

Distinguished pharmaceutical scientist and American Chemical Society Hall of Fame member Nicholas Bodor, Ph.D., D.Sc., D Sc., h.c. (multi), shared recent advances in soft drug design with attendees of the College of Pharmacy’s Seminar Series lecture on Oct. 27. His presentation included a brief history on the beginnings of soft drugs as well as a review of the chemical structure and design efforts of some soft drugs.

Bodor joined the University of Florida College of Pharmacy in 1979 as professor and chairman of the department of medicinal chemistry. He was promoted to graduate research professor in 1983 and founded the Center for Drug Discovery in 1986. During his tenure at UF, he supervised the training of 50 doctoral students and more than 100 postdoctoral-level research associates and fellows. He has published more than 500 papers, owns 200 patents and continues to serve the college as a graduate research professor emeritus. Bodor, along with his children, Erik and Nicole, operate Bodor Laboratories Inc., to further develop his drug design strategies and bring them to the marketplace.

Student News

More than 200 UF student pharmacists attend APhA-ASP Midyear Regional Meeting

The orange and blue of the University of Florida College of Pharmacy was well represented at the American Pharmacist Association-Academy of Student Pharmacists, or APhA-ASP, Midyear Regional Meeting, Oct. 14-16, in Orlando. More than 700 student pharmacists from the 27 pharmacy colleges in the Southeast that represent Region 3 attended the midyear meeting, including 200 UF pharmacy students. Han Le, a third-year student pharmacist from Jacksonville, was the elected coordinator of the meeting, and UF served as the host chapter.

UF student pharmacists collected several honors and awards at the meeting. The UF chapter was recognized as the Region 3 Operation Diabetes and Operation Heart award winners. These honors are given to chapters that are doing significant work with these projects and are determined based on reports turned in at the end of every year. Shannon Stittsworth, a second-year student pharmacist from Jacksonville, was elected as the Region 3 Member-at-large. There is one Member-at-large per region, and there are eight regions representing APhA-ASP nationally. In the role, she will coordinate communications among the 27 chapters within Region 3, as well as the national office. She will encourage involvement among chapter members at the regional and national levels and help impact the future of pharmacy through involvement in APhA-ASP.



Photo Courtesy of Douglas Tam

Reception at ASHP
Midyear meeting attracts hundreds of Gator pharmacists

An enthusiastic group of more than 300 Gator pharmacists gathered in Las Vegas on Dec. 5 for a University of Florida College of Pharmacy reception at the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, or ASHP, Midyear Clinical Meeting. The meeting is the largest gathering of pharmacy professionals in the world and it included many faculty, students and alumni from the UF College of Pharmacy. At the reception, Dean Julie Johnson, Pharm.D., updated the attendees on happenings in the college during the past year, while Lisa Thames, Pharm.D., BCPS, assistant director of clinical pharmacy services at UF Health Shands Hospital and Bernadette Belgado, Pharm.D., director of pharmacy at UF Health Jacksonville shared news related to their respective hospitals. The two organizations have been continuous supporters of the event, along with McKesson Health Systems who served as the primary sponsor.


Photo Courtesy of Bao Lam

Videos highlight Ph.D. graduate students and programs at the College of Pharmacy

A series of videos debuted this fall highlighting the diverse research interests of students pursuing doctorate degrees from the University of Florida College of Pharmacy. The videos profile graduate students in each of the college’s five departments and showcase the high-quality training and educational programs that exist in the college. Click on the links below to watch the student videos:

MARCI SMELTZ » Medicinal Chemistry

JOHANNES KAST » Pharmaceutics

NIHAL EL ROUBY » Pharmacotherapy and Translational Research

SARTHAK SINGHAL and YALUN TAN » Pharmacodynamics

JUAN HINCAPIE-CASTILLO, YOONYOUNG CHOI and YAN LI » Pharmaceutical Outcomes and Policy

Mark Your Calendar

Feb. 17  Research Showcase – Gainesville, FL

March 8-10  Precision Medicine Conference – Orlando, FL

March 25  Gator Reception at APhA Annual Meeting – San Francisco, CA

April 7  Dean's Circle Dinner – Gainesville, FL

April 8  White Coat Ceremony – Gainesville, FL

May 1  Commencement – 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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