Pharm.D. Research Postings

Research Listings


Dr. John Allen [Multi-Drug Resistant Bacterial Infections and Clostridiodes Difficile burden during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Use of Real-World Evidence]

Our research aims will evaluate the impact of COVID-19 on MDRO/CD infections on both a broad public health scale and on an individual patient-level to address these gaps in our current understanding. Specific research aims of the current project include:

• Aim 1: To determine the incidence of hospital-acquired MDRO bacterial and CD infections during the COVID-19 pandemic compared to a historical control period in hospitalized inpatient adults

• Aim 2: Identify and the quantify factors that associate with the development of MDROs/CD infection in the pre-COVID and COVID periods to isolate contributory factors.

• Aim 3: Determine if COVID-19 patients have a higher incidence rate for developing MDRO/CD infections and worse clinical outcomes, compared to propensity-matched non-COVID-19 patients

The opportunity is available any semester and can be conducted as a research elective or volunteer experience. Preferred candidates will have experience with data collection and high motivation for success. Students can expect to work five hours weekly during this virtual opportunity.

John Allen headshot

Campus Preference: Gainesville

Dr. Yousong Ding [Biosynthesis of bioactive natural products]

My lab is investigating how nature synthesizes bioactive compounds as drug candidates. In addition, we are developing new methods to produce these compounds and analogs (e.g., the use of enzymes and engineered microbial cells for chemical synthesis).
The research project is available year round as a research elective or volunteer work for 10 hours a week. A background in microbiology and/or biochemistry is preferred.

Yousong Ding


Dr. Jessica Huston [Various Research Opportunities within UF Health Jacksonville and the Colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy]

The Office of Research Affairs and College of Pharmacy are collaborating to give students the opportunity to be involved in research projects that are ongoing on the Jacksonville campus in the form of unpaid internships. Many Principal Investigators within the College of Pharmacy, College of Medicine, and within UF Health are interested in having pharmacy students participate in collecting data, prescreening patients for inclusions and exclusion criteria, developing abstract and posters, and collaborating on literature reviews among other research oriented tasks. Students will be expected to work 5-15 hours per week on campus. This volunteer opportunity is available any semester. A background in research is helpful, in addition to familiarity with Epic, CITI training, and RedCap, however no experience or background is necessary or required.

Jessica Huston


Dr. Natalia De Moraes [Extrapolation of in vitro data to predict in vivo pharmacokinetics]

Physiologically based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) models have been developed to predict drug-drug interactions, dosing requirements in special population and ultimately, clinical outcomes. Expression and activity of drug metabolizing enzymes and transporters are major sources of variability in pharmacokinetics. We aim to integrate mechanistic in vitro data and clinical data using a quantitative translation through PBPK models. Ultimately we aim to departure from the “one-size-fits-all” to precision dosing strategies with the aim of improving drug efficacy and reducing adverse drug events.

The research project is available on a volunteer basis. Students can be expected to work 10-15 hours per week at the Orlando campus or remotely. The position is available in the fall semester. Preferred candidates will have a strong teamwork, time-management and organizational skills. Desired, but not required, skills are populational analysis using Monolix or physiologically based pharmacokinetic modeling using Pk-Sim or Simcyp.

Natalia de Moraes

CAMpus preference: Gainesville Students

Dr. Mei He [Discover urinary exosome biomarkers for early detection of bladder cancer]

The urological tumors make up approximately 25% of all human cancers, and their recurrence and progression rate are ~ 50-70% which is higher than other tumors. In order to have frequent and long-term follow up, developing non-invasive diagnostic strategy is imperative. Current gold standard diagnostic procedures for bladder cancer are cystoscopy and urinary cytology which are invasive and low sensitivity to small papillary or Cis tumors, and also frequently cause side effects such as dysuria, hematuria, or urinary tract infection. Urine extracellular vesicles (EVs) have become a valuable and promising source of biomarkers for urological tumor detection. However, due to large heterogeneity and significant size overlap between vesicle populations, identifying specific urinary EV markers for non-invasively diagnose bladder cancer remains extraordinarily challenging. In this proposal, we aim to overcome such challenge to translate our novel NanoPoms EV subtype isolation method for developing highly specific, non-invasive diagnostic strategy in bladder cancer. Through the collaboration with Dr. Padraic O’Malley for implementing clinical sample investigation, our novel NanoPoms technology can exploit translational significance and clinical utility, ultimately to advance the knowledge of molecular level interpretation of urological tumor progression. The technology innovation also paves a new avenue for developing a deployable urine EV-based diagnostic test for bladder cancer with improved specificity and sensitivity.

Paid research positions in this area are available as well as research elective credit. Interested students can expect to work 15-20 hours per week. The research opportunity is available any semester and preferred candidates will have biomolecualr bench skills, including pipetting, clinical urine sample processing, protein and RNA extraction, as well as the skills on statistical data analysis.

He, Mei 600x400

Campus Preference: Gainesville

Dr. Chris McCurdy [Kratom alkaloid purification]

This project would involve extracting and purifying kratom alkaloids from the plant material. An understanding of chromatography, some hands-on organic chemistry laboratory skills, NMR experience and/or LC/MS experience is preferred. This will be a summer position for 20 hours per week. It can be structured as a paid position, research elective or volunteer work.

Chris McCurdy

CAMPUS PREFERENCE: Orlando students

Dr. Sarah Kim [Deep Learning-based Analysis for Pancreatic Islet Beta-Cell Heterogeneity to Improve Understanding of Type 1 Diabetes Progression]

This research will involve developing Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning (AI/ML)-assisted imaging analysis and informatics tools that will accelerate the analysis of imaging data and provide insights into better understanding of disease progression. Ultimately, the AI/ML-based tools will help in the rational design of disease prevention and treatment strategies. Students are invited to participate in this research remotely or in-person at the Orlando campus. It’s estimated that the research will take five hours per week and interested candidates should have strong teamwork and organizational skills. Desired, but not required, skills are cloud computing using Python and QuPath:

Sarah Kim


Dr. Caitrin McDonough [Characterizing High Risk Hypertension Patients ]

This project will use existing computable phenotypes developed by Dr. McDonough and her lab group, and existing electronic health record based data to further characterize antihypertensive drug use patterns within these patient populations. Students can expect to work 5-10 hours per week in an on-campus or virtual environment. Some experience with statistical programs, SAS or R, and data management is preferred. Students can be taught if they are quick learners, and willing to work independently and problem solve. This research opportunity is available any semester and can be a paid, research elective or volunteer opportunity.

Caitrin McDonough

CAMPUS Preference: Gainesville Students

Dr. Mahesh Peddibhotla [Design, synthesis and biological evaluation of lead compounds targeting chemokine receptors ]

Chemokine receptors are cell surface receptors, which along with their natural chemokine ligand partners mediate cellular signaling pathways that play an important role in complex diseases such as inflammation, immune response, aberrant wound closure, carcinogenesis, tumor growth and metastasis. Our research lab operates in the field of chemical biology, drug discovery and development. We identify small molecules that can modulate the signaling of chemokine receptors and optimize these promising hit compounds via iterative process of design and chemical synthesis. Subsequent evaluation of the biological activity through biochemical and phenotypic assays and improvement in pharmacological properties results in optimized leads for preclinical studies and potential drug candidates.

Our lab employs a multi-collaborative approach including organic synthesis, analytical chemistry, biochemical, molecular biology and cellular approaches in our investigations. Students interested in our lab can expect to work at least 8-12 hours a week on Gainesville campus. The opportunity is available any semester and may be conducted as a research elective or volunteer experience. We are interested in candidates with interests in biomedical research, development and use of pharmaceuticals, good time management skills and team spirit. Prior experience is not essential, however, knowledge of organic chemistry and biochemistry are preferred.

Peddibhotla, Satyamaheshwar 400x600


Dr. Rich Segal [Using a pharmacist community health worker collaboration to address medication adherence barriers]

Pharmacists are positioned to evaluate and educate patients regarding medication adherence; however, opportunities exist to leverage a collaborative approach in eliciting barriers encountered by patients, especially in minority groups.
Community health workers (CHWs) are individuals from the communities who form relationships with patients and help increase their access to health care resources. This study aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of a collaboration between CHWs and pharmacists in identifying and addressing medication adherence barriers faced by hypertensive patients. Pharm.D. students will expected to work at least three hours a week assisting study, and the activities can be done on-campus or in a remote work environment. The research opportunity can be a paid position, volunteer or a research elective and is available any semester.

Rich Segal 400x600


Dr. Nathan Seligson [Gene Expression Patterns in Sarcoma]

Sarcomas are rare, aggressive cancers for which few therapeutic agents are available. Due to the rarity of sarcomas, this group of malignancies represent approximately 75-150 unique histologic and molecular disease. In this study we will make use of publicly available multi-omic data to classify novel subtypes of sarcoma in order to identify precision therapeutic strategies in this understudied disease state.

Students must have a working knowledge in R programing or be willing to learn R programing prior to beginning the project. The project is available Fall, Spring and Summer. The opportunity can be used as a research elective (requiring a total of 48 hours) or as volunteer work. Interested students can expect to work 4-12 hours weekly in this remote research project.

Nathan Seligson headshot


Dr. Danxin Wang [Pharmacogenetics of drug metabolizing enzymes]

My lab focuses on identifying genetic, epigenetic and non-genetic factors affecting the expression and activity of drug metabolizing enzymes. The goal is to discover biomarkers predicting enzyme activity for personalized drug therapy.

The research project is available during the summer. The opportunity can be used as a research elective (requiring a total of 48 hours) or as volunteer work. Interested students can expect to work about 5-8 hours weekly. Preferred candidates will have some molecular biology lab experience (RNA/DNA preparation, PCR, gene expression, etc.) and will be responsible and careful.

Danxin Wang, School of Pharmacy, Associate Professor


Dr. Jay McLaughlin [Evaluating novel probes for the opioid receptor}

The objective of this project is to evaluate a novel class of analgesics which could provide chronic pain relief without the abuse, addiction and respiratory depression associated with the use of prescription opioids like morphine, fentanyl or street drugs like heroin. The present opioid epidemic is worsening in the U.S., causing 91,799 overdose deaths as of 2020 ( attributed to activation of the mu opioid receptor targeted by all clinically used opioids. Our hypothesis is that targeting the orthosteric site as well as allosteric sites of opioid receptors simultaneously will lead to potent analgesics devoid of physiological side-effects associated with opioids. By targeting non-mu opioid receptors with a lead compound named C6 Quino, we have developed antinociceptive agents effective in a chronic pain model with efficacy comparable to the clinically used gabapentinoids. Drawing from new insights in receptor function, C6-Quino is designed as a opioid receptor bitopic ligand which, unlike morphine, shows no respiratory depression or hyperlocomotion in mice. In addition, it lacks the convulsions produced by first generation delta receptor analgesics. Moreover, as most chronic pain patients also suffer from substance use disorders as well as anxiety and depression, we anticipate the antinociceptive bitopic ligands of the opioid receptors, and in particular the delta receptor, generated by this project will also be effective antidepressants and anxiolytics, and be effective against alcoholism, enhancing their clinical utility in treating chronic pain as well as other comorbidities associated with chronic pain.

The on-campus research project is available year round as a research elective or volunteer work. The preferred candidate must be willing to work with mice and complete the University of Florida’s extensive regulatory training for animal work PRIOR to starting in the lab.

McLaughlin, Jay 400x600


Dr. Rodrigo Cristofoletti [Model Integrated Evidence Approach for Intravesical Drug Delivery for Localized Bladder Disease]

At present, commercially available PBPK modelling platforms do not offer mechanistic models of the bladder nor the application of long-acting drug delivery systems for the treatment of bladder disease. This research therefore aims to apply custom-built PBPK modelling frameworks for the simulation of localized drug delivery systems in the bladder to provide predicted pharmacokinetic data to inform varying stages of the drug development process.

This on-campus or virtual volunteer research project is available in the spring or summer for 5-6 hours per week. The preferred candidates will have experience with MATLAB and interested in Pharmacokinetics and Biopharmaceutics.

Rodrigo Cristofoletti

Campus Preference: Orlando Students

Dr. Lisa Miller [Assessing lifestyle medicine in US pharmacy curricula]

This is a collaborative Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL study) with Creighton and Rosalind Franklin universities to ascertain the extent to which lifestyle medicine is included in pharmacy curricula in the United States. The survey is complete and IRB approval has been obtained. The student would be involved in disseminating the survey and data collection using Qualtrics. Depending on timing and student interest, additional opportunities may be available.

The project will be offered on a volunteer basis and require two hours per week in virtual setting. Students with these skills are encouraged to apply: 2PD or 3PD preferred; Some experience with an electronic survey instrument such as Qualtrics or Survey Monkey; Attention to detail; Good writing skills; and a proven record of meeting deadlines.

Dr. Lisa Miller


Dr. Francine Azeredo [Optimizing the dosing of antimalarial drugs through a PK-PD model system]

This project will establish a plastic-based, dynamic in vitro hollow fiber infection model and generate the proof-of-concept on the antimalarial effects of different drugs in monotherapy and combinations. This will enhance our ability to develop safe, effective, and clinically relevant combination dosage regimens for treating malaria using translational PK-PD modeling. These models will be used to optimize combination dosage regimens that maximize the antimalarial killing ratio.

The research project is available on a volunteer basis. Students can be expected to work 10 hours per week at the Orlando campus. The position is open in the spring and summer semesters. The preferred candidates will have microbial bench skills, including pipetting, autoclaving, and preparing culture media. Desired, but not required, knowledge of software like R and Monolix.

Francine Azeredo