The UF College of Pharmacy received $32.3 million in research awards in 2020-21.
Research activities in the UF College of Pharmacy span the entire life cycle of a drug and include broad interest areas such as medicinal chemistry, pharmaceutics, pharmacology, clinical and translational research, and pharmaceutical outcomes and policy. Led by award-winning faculty, whose discoveries are significantly impacting the lives of patients around the world, the college achieved $32.3 million in total research funding in 2021 (source: AACP). The American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy ranks UF among the top 3 pharmacy colleges nationally in NIH, federal grant funding and total research funding. With the addition of preeminence faculty and the collective talents of world-class researchers that have provided the foundation for research excellence in the college for many years, the UF College of Pharmacy has nearly quadrupled its growth in research funding in the last seven years.
The study was published in the journal Nature and reports how researchers modified fentanyl’s chemical structure to maintain its pain-relieving properties while reducing harmful side effects.
The $3.3 million, five-year R01 grant from National Cancer Institute will support Lamba’s research of the biology of acute myeloid leukemia.
El Saafien received a two-year postdoctoral fellowship, while Morris was awarded a one-year predoctoral fellowship.
A study led by Dr. Steven Smith suggests population-level blood pressure, particularly among racial and ethnic minorities, might have increased following the 2016 presidential election.
More than 130 future pharmaceutical scientists receive training from over 50 graduate faculty in the college’s comprehensive graduate education program in pharmaceutical sciences. College of Pharmacy Ph.D. students have the opportunity to participate in cutting-edge research through study in five areas: medicinal chemistry, pharmaceutics, pharmacodynamics, clinical pharmaceutical sciences and pharmaceutical outcomes and policy. Our graduates contribute to advancing pharmaceutical sciences through positions in academia, industry and government agencies such as the FDA.
Numerous research opportunities are available to Pharm.D. students who have an interest in working with faculty in the college. Students involved with research in the college are competitive for postgraduate opportunities, including residencies and fellowships.
The college has five research departments, highly successful in attracting extramural research support, that are an integral part of University of Florida Health. In addition to teaching, faculty members conduct collaborative research projects with clinical and other basic scientists within the Health Science Center or other colleges on campus. Many serve on editorial boards for scientific journals and maintain collaborative ties with scientists worldwide.
Medicinal chemistry focuses on all aspects of drug design, discovery and development with a unique blend of the physical and biological sciences. The scope of the field is sufficiently broad to give students with many different science backgrounds a rewarding and challenging program of study. Areas of research interests include drug discovery, organic synthesis of medicinal agents, natural products chemistry, prodrugs, topical drug delivery, peptide chemistry, molecular modeling, drug metabolism and molecular toxicology. In addition, UF’s Preeminence initiative has supported the hiring of several world-class researchers into the department and an expansion in areas that include natural products, cancer, anti-infectives, drug abuse and pain research.
The department of pharmaceutical outcomes and policy is a unique blend of social and administrative pharmacy, health outcomes research, pharmacoeconomics and pharmacoepidemiology. Researchers in the department focus on the evaluation of drugs and related medical technology. This focus includes classic pharmacoepidemiologic and pharmacoeconomic work in areas such as drug safety and comparative effectiveness, economic evaluation of pharmaceuticals, pharmaceutical predictive analytics and pharmaceutical health services research, including assessments of pharmaceutical policy, quality and patient safety research. The department possesses a state-of-the-art data center fully qualified for quantitative research involving multiple research database with personal health information for more than 300 million lives.
Research in the department of pharmaceutics encompasses basic, applied, and clinical investigations in pharmacokinetics/biopharmaceutics, pharmaceutical analysis, pharmaceutical biotechnology and drug delivery. In addition to teaching, all faculty members are involved in collaborative research projects with clinical and other basic scientists at the University of Florida or UF Health. Many faculty maintain collaborative ties with scientists at other universities and the pharmaceutical industry worldwide. The department is also home to the UF Center for Pharmacometrics and Systems Pharmacology, a rigorous and integrative academic translational science program in quantitative clinical pharmacology with a focus on personalized medicine that is located at the UF Research and Academic Center in Lake Nona, Florida.
The department of pharmacodynamics is highly integrative and collaborative, spanning the gap between cellular and systems pharmacology and physiology. Faculty study drug action at the molecular, physiological and behavioral levels across normal and disease states, with interests in stress, anxiety, addiction, pain, neuroinflammation, cardiovascular and metabolic dysfunction. Department faculty use a wide variety of in vitro and in vivo techniques and approaches, including genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, metabolomics, electrophysiology, behavioral pharmacology, microdialysis testing, optogenetics and genome editing to develop novel models and understand drug action across a range of conditions.
Faculty in the department of pharmacotherapy and translational research are recognized as national leaders in many areas of research, including pharmacogenomics and precision medicine and pharmacy practice. The overarching research focus of the department is on understanding genetic and non-genetic factors that contribute to variability in drug response. These are applied to therapeutic areas including cardiovascular disease, oncology, clinical pharmacology, infectious disease and pulmonary disease. Departmental faculty are highly successful in obtaining research funding from numerous sources, including the National Institutes of Health. The department is home to the Center for Pharmacogenomics and Precision Medicine, where researchers have led major breakthroughs in determining how genes influence responses to drugs. At the forefront of moving pharmacogenomics discoveries into patient care, the center collaborates with UF Health’s Precision Medicine Program to establish genotyping as part of clinical care to guide drug prescribing.
The University of Florida College of Pharmacy is internationally recognized as a leading academic institution in several areas of research. From exploring the world’s oceans for the next drug discovery to going to the DNA level to determine the effectiveness of one medication versus another, the breadth and depth of our research programs are helping solve health problems around the world. Among our research areas of excellence are the following five centers and core:
- Center for Drug Evaluation and Safety
- Center for Integrative Cardiovascular and Metabolic Disease
- Center for Natural Products, Drug Discovery and Development
- Center for Pharmacogenomics and Precision Medicine
- Center for Pharmcometrics and Systems Pharmacology
- Translational Drug Development Core
The UF College of Pharmacy annually hosts a student research day in the spring to showcase the research talents of students.