UT College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences News

Posts Tagged ‘graduate education’

August 2014 Refill e-newsletter

The August 2014 issue of Refill, the e-newsletter of The University of Toledo College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, is now available online.

In this issue:

  • Home away from home: Welcoming and retaining graduate students from abroad
  • Notes from the CD3 Anniversary Symposium
  • Ginkgo biloba and stroke recovery
  • Leadership Lessons from Distinguished University Professor Paul Erhardt
  • Substance abuse research, Dr. Caren Steinmiller
  • Pharmacy Camp inspires future Rocket scientists
  • Student research and awards
  • Community education, Elias Bassil
  • International APPE: Chun Wong’s Journey
  • Tradition, Ethics and the Professional Advancement Ceremony

Ginkgo biloba enhances stroke recovery


Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death and a major cause of long-term disability, which inflicts substantial economic and societal burdens. Drug therapies aimed at post-stroke recovery that can enhance a person’s own ability to replenish injured or dead brain cells with new developing brain cells (endogenous neurogenesis) may help minimize the cost related to prolonged hospital stays and rehabilitation. Ginkgo biloba, a widely studied herbal product for the treatment of neurological disorders, offers endogenous neurogenesis-enhancing properties that hold the promise of providing recovery-improving benefits to stroke patients.


Led by Dr. Zahoor A. Shah, Dr. Shadia E. Nada and graduate student Jatin Tulsulkar, researchers in the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences have discovered that mice treated with Ginkgo biloba 4 hours after inducing an experimental stroke, and then daily for seven days, had improved recovery and less brain damage than the control mice. It was also observed that Ginkgo biloba-treated mice had enhanced neurogenesis, partly due to the increased protein expression of hemeoxygenase 1, an antioxidant gene that also has a role in neurogenesis. Pertinently, mice lacking the hemeoxygenase 1 gene were observed to have reduced neurogenesis after stroke. An important finding was that in Ginkgo biloba-treated mice the majority of these new cells were found in the proximity of the stroke injury site, suggesting their role in repairing the injured/dead neurons.

Besides prevention, improving recovery following a stroke should become the prime focus of current stroke research. We now know that neurogenesis is not only an ongoing process in adults, but can also be induced by pathological conditions like traumatic brain injury and ischemic stroke, and strategies that promote endogenous neurogenesis as part of the repair and regeneration process should be prioritized. Neurogenesis in the adult brain involves not only the proliferation and migration of precursor cells known as stem cells/neural progenitor cells (NSCs) but also their functional integration into the neural network. Though ischemia is potent in inducing the proliferation and migration of NSCs, it does not provide an environment conducive to their survival, differentiation and integration, and creating an environment with exogenous drugs is paramount to improving the number of NSCs that can result in improved brain repair and regeneration.

The study, first reported in Molecular Neurobiology (Vol. 49, 2014) and then reviewed in Neural Regeneration Research (Vol. 9, 2014), confirmed that Ginkgo biloba, in addition to its antioxidant, neuritogenic and angiogenic properties, provides a conducive environment for the survival and functional integration of NSCs into neural system.

“Controversies and other ethical issues related to stem cell therapies make drug induced, enhanced neurogenesis a promising treatment strategy,” stressed senior author Zahoor A. Shah. “Besides one documented clinical trial recommending the use of Ginkgo biloba after ischemic stroke, further high quality and large-scale randomized controlled trials are warranted to test its efficacy in stroke recovery” he said.

Home away from home: Welcoming and retaining international graduate students

Dr. Amanda after completing her doctoral exam in Heidelberg, Germany, 1997

Dr. Amanda after completing her doctoral exam in Heidelberg, Germany, 1997

Having left the comforts of the United States to explore graduate education abroad, Dr. Amanda Bryant-Friedrich has firsthand knowledge of the complex transition awaiting graduate students who come to the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences from around the globe. Completing her doctorate in Heidelberg, Germany and postdoctoral training in Basel, Switzerland allowed her to grow academically and see the world, but these experiences were often challenging, and missing her home and community at times compounded the challenges. In her new role as Director of International Pharmaceutical Sciences Graduate Student Recruitment and Retention, Dr. Bryant-Friedrich is a valuable resource to graduate students experiencing the United States, often for the first time.

“Students who decide to pursue advanced degrees outside their country of origin are often faced with barriers of immigration and matriculation that originate from a lack of knowledge from the perspectives of both the student and the respective institution of higher learning,” Dr. Bryant-Friedrich said.

As the College engages new regions of the world to attract graduate students, Dr. Bryant-Friedrich plans to introduce members of the college community to the educational systems, culture and research enterprise in each region. Her new role also requires a heightened sense of awareness of the political and economic conditions of the countries from which international learners originate to make sure that students receive counseling and support to help them to maintain an exceptional level of academic performance, even when thoughts of home are a distraction.

Another aspect of retaining international students is ensuring their sense of community upon their arrival.

“I intend to maintain strong relationships with community-based organizations that have ties and services important to the needs of our international students. This will include working with the UT Center for International Students and Programs as well as Toledo Sister Cities International and other organizations with a common interest in international relationships,” Dr. Bryant-Friedrich said.

The college is continually increasing the population of graduate students who are well prepared academically for coursework and research. Dr. Bryant-Friedrich sees this as an opportunity to create recruitment pipelines from prestigious institutions abroad.

Dr. Bryant-Friedrich, who has mentored 17 graduate students from 11 countries, feels fortunate for the opportunity to ease the transition for graduate students in the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

“The global scientific community relies on the establishment of productive collaborations based on mutual trust and understanding,” Dr. Bryant-Friedrich said.  “What better way to improve the human condition than to bring brilliant students from around the world together to improve what really matters.”

Kudos: Student Research and Awards


Pharmacy students Kimberly Zitko and Philip King were selected to participate in the 2014 Wal-Mart Scholars program with their respective faculty mentors, Dr. Michelle Serres and Dr. Michael Peeters. Their $1000 scholarship funded their attendance at the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) Annual Meeting and Teachers’ Seminar and supports their attendance at two AACP seminars.


Kush Patel, a graduate student mentored by Pharmaceutics Associate Professor Dr. Jerry Nesamony, earned a Graduate Student Award from the College of Graduate Studies for the Graduate Student Association (GSA). The award of $1893 will fund his research on “An Insulin Oral Drug Delivery via Calcium Alginate Nanoparticles”.


July 2014 Refill e-newsletter

The July 2014 issue of Refill, the e-newsletter of The University of Toledo College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, is now available online.

In this issue:

  • The College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences celebrates 110 years of excellence
  • Recap of the 47th Annual Mid-Atlantic Graduate Student Symposium in Medicinal Chemistry by Aparna Raghavan
  • Student research presentations at ISPOR, ASBMB and NYSCC meetings
  • Chinese scholars study and share at UT
  • Staff Development Retreat
  • 17th Annual Infectious Disease Update: September 10, 2014
  • Alumnus Phil Miller earns highest honor

UT students stand out at Outcomes Research meeting

The University of Toledo student chapter of International Society of Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research (ISPOR) recently attended the annual meeting of the society in Montreal, Canada. ISPOR brings together research groups, drug companies and academicians to focus on issues such as usage and costs of drugs, medical devices and interventions. The theme of the international conference this year was “BIG DATA”, with a focus on how collecting large amounts of data, measured in petabytes (1,000,000 gigabytes), provides issues with statistical analyses and storage.

A competition was held to design a t-shirt for the conference, and designs were submitted by 41 U.S. chapters as well as 20 international student chapters. The University of Toledo student ISPOR chapter won the design competition and had their design featured on the backs of the official meeting t-shirts, which were distributed at the conference. Students also participated in a Student Research Competition. The Toledo team consisted solely of first-year master’s students, who competed with teams that included more experienced master’s and Ph.D. level students. The Toledo team performed well, and while they fell in the first round by a small margin, they are confident that they will have a strong performance next year. The president of the UT chapter, Tessa Conner, was also selected as the chair of the planning committee for next year’s conference in Philadelphia.

Students from The University of Toledo’s ISPOR student chapter also presented research at the conference. Master’s students Kevin Omerza and Tessa Conner, from the Pharmaceutical Care and Outcomes Research (PCOR) Lab, under the direction of Dr. Sharrel Pinto, presented a poster entitled, “Determining patient satisfaction, perception of value, and monetary worth associated with adherence packaging and pharmacy services”.

Additionally, Nilesh Gangan, a recent graduate of the master’s program in Health Outcomes and Socioeconomic Sciences, presented on disparities in the use of inhaled corticosteroids and the economic implications of these disparities. Dr. Varun Vaidya also presented a poster examining cardiovascular comorbidities in patients with Type II Diabetes.

The 47th Annual Mid-Atlantic Graduate Student Symposium in Medicinal Chemistry

By Aparna Raghavan, Medicinal Chemistry graduate student

About a year ago at the 46th Annual Mid-Atlantic Graduate Student Symposium (MAGSS) held at Ohio State University, medicinal chemistry graduate student from The University of Toledo agreed to host the 47th symposium. Admittedly, we did so without entirely comprehending the magnitude of effort that goes into producing a symposium. Fortunately for us, our enthusiasm carried us through. We had our times of inaction, our share of uncertainties, and slivers of exhilaration amidst all that. In the end, we pulled together a show that in the words of many attendees was “excellently organized”. Take a bow, MAGSS 2014 organizing committee!

MAGSS 2014 was held at the cusp of some momentous occasions for the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences—it was preceded by the 20th anniversary celebration of the Center for Drug Design & Development (CD3) championed by Distinguished University Professor Dr. Paul Erhardt, followed by the 110th anniversary of the inception of our college.

The CD3 celebration transitioned to the MAGSS 2014 kickoff, which featured attendee registration and a light dinner. The enthusiasm among the attendees was palpable as you saw them strutting in their electric blue MAGSS t-shirts all across campus.

On the first full day of the symposium, we began early in the morning with breakfast and opening remarks. It was heartening to see close to a hundred fresh faces in the morning, eager to take in the science marathon that was about to unfold. We heard some inspiring and eloquent thoughts shared by Dean Early, Dr. Marcia McInerney, and Dr. Viranga Tillekeratne, which set the tone for the event.

Next, our keynote speaker, Dr. Gordon Cragg, Former Chief of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) at the NIH, enthralled us all with a bird’s-eye view of the massive contribution of natural products towards drug discovery. He spoke of how the scientific method could be improved to yield better drugs and appealed to every one of us to get the word out to the masses. After an exciting round of questions, each of which Dr. Cragg answered with diligence and élan, we began our student oral presentations. When they concluded, judges were at their wits’ end trying to decide the best among them. That they ended up awarding two first prizes is proof enough of the sheer quality of research and the wealth of ideas these talks generated.

An afternoon session featured arrays of poster presentations and the frenzied buzz of discussion around them. Our very own Ayad Al-Hamashi, a graduate student in the Department of Medicinal and Biological Chemistry, won second prize in this poster session, which was judged by the mechanism of peer-review. An entertaining panel discussion session featured the who’s who of drug discovery from the trifecta of academia, industry and the government. At once we witnessed how diverse yet concerted their ideas are, as they need to be to innovatively address discovery today. It realigned our perspective of what the market might look like once we graduate. We were fortunate to have Dr. Christopher Lipinski and Dr. Gunda Georg, who were guests at the CD3 event, kindly agree to partake in this discussion as well as the symposium.

The institutional talk given by Dr. Donald Ronning, Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at UT, introduced participants to the impressive research on anti-tubercular agents, and his captivating speaking-style drove away any signs of fatigue we might have had.

The final day of MAGSS 2014 began with some interesting information about the history of our college and our accomplishments given by Dr. Katherine Wall, Chair of the Department of Medicinal and Biological Chemistry. We began the morning session with a guest lecture by the effervescent Dr. Wendy Young, Director of Discovery Chemistry at Genentech. She spoke passionately about the research being undertaken in her company and shared with us the colorful work culture at Genentech. This was followed by the second round of oral presentations, followed by the closing ceremony and prize distribution. We said goodbye and thanked profusely the speakers who made this event what it was and the attendees who were such active participants.

Conferences happen. New ideas are born. Science goes on. But what really stayed with me from the 2014 MAGSS were the conversations—the lunch-time sports talk with the speakers, discussing world cultures, and some ideas, albeit utopian, on how to make medicine reach people more effectively.

While science was the reason we gathered for this meeting, we gained a lot more from it.

I would like to thank the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences for giving us the opportunity to host this conference and to enjoy this experience. I thank the Department of Medicinal and Biological Chemistry for their generous support and the faculty members for all their help. Thank you, Dr. Tillekeratne (faculty advisor), for guiding us with fervor throughout. Thanks Charisse Montgomery (communications director) and Kwabena Kankam (senior business manager) for your valuable input into the organizing process.

Please visit the MAGSS website for details on the sponsors and the organizing committee.

110 Years of Excellence


On June 27, 2014, the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences celebrated its 110-year anniversary. The college, the first to be established at The University of Toledo, has been housed in several buildings throughout its history and has thrived under the leadership of excellent deans, all of whom have contributed to the ongoing success and recognition of our students, faculty, alumni and academic programs. Significant in the history of the college are the leaders, interim deans, chairs and faculty members, who have guided the college through both bountiful and difficult times. The college continues to attract exceptional students who are transformed through education into exemplary practitioners and scientists . They return as alumni who contribute generously to the college through service and giving. The College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences is a true beacon of success, and many deserve thanks for making our light shine ever brighter.

Rocket in Flight: Dr. Steven Martin to Lead Rudolph H. Raabe College of Pharmacy


Dr. Steven Martin, chair of the Department of Pharmacy Practice, has announced his resignation, effective June 30. His strong leadership skills, collegiality and vision will be missed. Dr. Martin has spent ten productive years leading the Pharmacy Practice department, helping to mold the next generation of practitioners.

The College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences wishes Dr. Martin success as he enters his new role as dean of the Rudolph H. Raabe College of Pharmacy at Ohio Northern University. It is always a pleasure to see a Rocket take flight!

March 2014 Refill e-newsletter

The March 2014 issue of Refill, the e-newsletter of The University of Toledo College of Pharmacy
and Pharmaceutical Sciences, is now available online.

In this issue:

  • Agreement Signing with Al-Zaytoonah Private University of Jordan
  • Cosmetic Science program hosts seminar series
  • The Real World: Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiences
  • CD3 Symposium
  • Upcoming Events