UT College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences News

Posts Tagged ‘medicinal chemistry’

Dr. Erhardt gives talk at national medicinal chemistry meeting

The Center for Drug Design and Development’s director, Dr. Paul Erhardt, spoke at the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry’s (IUPAC) Medicinal Chemistry Division meeting, held in conjunction with the American Chemical Society’s Medicinal Chemistry meeting, in Nashville.

He delivered a presentation that summarized completion of a long-time IUPAC project pertaining to “Glossary and tutorial of xenobiotic metabolism terms used during small molecule drug discovery and development,” which has also been submitted as a 200-page document for publication in Pure and Applied Chemistry

Equipment supports learning and research


The nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer (NMR) is seen above with Distinguished University Professor Dr. Pail Erhardt and medicinal chemistry graduate, Dr. Neha Malik.

The college’s Lab Equipment & Technology funds support the purchase and maintenance of research equipment. The NMR, for example, uses an electromagnetic frequency to create structural images of organic compounds.

Our faculty members use the NMR, and other cutting edge research equipment, to identify treatments for cancer and other diseases. Graduate and undergraduate students receive hands-on training on NMR techniques, preparing them to hit the ground running in science and research careers.

You can make a tax-deductible gift to the college’s New Lab & Equipment Technology Fund by visiting the UT Foundation’s secure website.


Type 1 Diabetes: Following the Cells


Dr. Marcia McInerney, pictured above with students in her lab, describes her new R15 NIH grant that explores the cellular mechanisms behind type I diabetes.


Type 1 insulin-dependent diabetes affects some 15 million people worldwide, with three million in the US. More than 15,000 children and 15,000 adults are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes each year in the US. Furthermore, the incidence of type 1 diabetes for children under fourteen years of age is estimated to increase by 3% annually worldwide. In type 1 diabetes, pancreatic beta cells, the only cells in the body that secrete insulin, are destroyed. Because insulin controls the usage of sugar in the body, which allows cells to be fed, glucose levels in the blood and urine rise when insulin is not present, leading to the clinical symptoms of diabetes. Diabetes is controlled by insulin injection; however, secondary complications of diabetes include heart disease, blindness, kidney failure, poor circulation and wound healing, and increased risk of infection. The healthcare cost for type 1 diabetes in the US is close to $15 billion each year.


The immune system, which includes white blood cells or lymphocytes, is responsible for recognizing and destroying foreign invaders such as bacteria and viruses. While the immune system does not normally respond to any self-components, in autoimmune disease, the immune system recognizes some self-tissue as “foreign” and destroys it; this is what happens in type 1 diabetes. In a process called insulitis, lymphocytes enter the islets of Langerhans in the pancreas, where the beta cells, the only cells in the body that produce insulin, live. The lymphocytes destroy the beta cells. Once they are destroyed, the body can no longer make insulin and it must be provided by injections.

Why do lymphocytes move into the pancreas? Insulin binds the insulin receptor, and a signal is given to transport glucose so that cells can be fed, and this overall operation maintains homeostasis. Along with binding insulin and signaling for glucose transport, the insulin receptor also moves in response to chemical stimuli. Therefore, cells that have many insulin receptors on their cell surface can physically move toward insulin. If lymphocytes have receptors for insulin on their surface, insulin secretion might draw lymphocytes to the pancreas and into the islets.


Dr. McInerney has worked on research projects in her laboratory with 11 honor thesis students, 3 students who obtained the summer undergraduate research fellowship, 1 research apprenticeship in science student, 14 undergraduate students with independent research projects or full time internship research, and a high school student whose work in the laboratory won her the Regional and State competition at the Ohio Science Fair. Additionally, Dr. McInerney has been involved with research/teaching of 21 PhD students, including 6 as the major advisor, and 12 master’s students, including 8 as the major advisor. She has also published a number of papers with undergraduate and graduate student authors, with several as first authors.

Students have worked in Dr. McInerney’s laboratory on research supported by NIH, USDA, American Diabetes Association, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and Diabetes Action Research and Education Foundation. Her new award will directly support and enhance undergraduate and graduate research in her laboratory.

Dr. Bryant-Friedrich receives American Chemistry Society award

Dr. Amanda Bryant-Friedrich was honored by the American Chemistry Society’s Committee on Minority Affairs with the Stanley C. Israel Regional Award for Advancing Diversity in the Chemical Sciences.

The Stanley C. Israel Regional Award recognizes individuals and/or institutions who have advanced diversity in the chemical sciences and significantly stimulated or fostered activities that promote inclusiveness within the region.

The award included travel accommodations and registration for the Central Regional Meeting and recognized Dr. Bryant-Friedrich’s mentorship and dedication. She was nominated by Dr. Isabel Escobar, professor of chemical and environmental engineering and associate dean for research development and outreach in The University of Toledo College of Engineering.

November 2014 issue of Refill

The November 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:

  • 2014 Faculty and Staff Retirements
  • Pharmacy Student-Athletes Stay in the Game
  • Dr. Amanda Bryant-Friedrich receives regional honor
  • Meet Dr. Scott Hall
  • Giving Thanks by Matthew Jordan, Pharmacy Student Council President
  • Dr. Diane Cappelletty to chair Department of Pharmacy Practice
  • Doc Schlembach’s 90th birthday
  • Calendar of Events

October 2014 Refill e-newsletter

The October 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:

  • 2014 Distinguished Alumnus, Jerry Wisler, ’79
  • Your 2014-2015 Alumni Affiliate Board
  • Taking Patient Care to the Next Level with Board Certification by alumnus Brandon Craig, PharmD ’07, RPh, BCACP
  • Mission: Unstoppable: Student Affairs staffer Jing Meyer keeps students focused on graduation
  • The Master of Plans: Alumnus Kevin Krock, BSPS ’07 on planning for a meaningful career
  • Leadership Lessons: Graduate School Preparation
  • Small Organelle, Big Possibilities: Dr. Wissam AbouAlaiwi’s research on cilia
  • Calendar of Events

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

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.

Pharmaceutical Science Board provides industry guidance

The Pharmaceutical Sciences Board of the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences is currently chaired by Bryan Ball of IKARIA, Inc., a company that manages pharmaceutical services and medical devices for critically ill patients.

The board, which advises the college on industry needs and the direction of change in pharmaceutical sciences, will hold its next meeting on November 12-13, 2014.

“I look forward to seeing the progress next year brings,” said Ball.  “I continue to be impressed with the caliber of the students and the work being done by the college.”

The board’s next meeting will include a poster session during which students in the college’s undergraduate and graduate pharmaceutical science programs can present their research.

Practitioner-Scientists: dual-degree students have double vision

Fernand Bedi in the laboratory of Dr. Amanda Bryant-Friedrich

Fernand Bedi in the laboratory of Dr. Amanda Bryant-Friedrich

The college’s first PharmD/PhD dual-degree student, Ferdinand Bedi, will graduate this summer as a polished practitioner and a skillful scientist. He plans to pursue a career in academia, and his mentor, Dr. Amanda Bryant-Friedrich, knows he is fully prepared to pursue his goal.

Dr. Bryant-Friedrich, associate professor of medicinal chemistry, mentors Bedi and another PharmD/PhD student, Shin Cho. She believes it takes a special kind of student to pursue this dual degree.

“As pharmacy practitioners, they enjoy interacting with people and helping to improve people’s health,” said Bryant-Friedrich. “They also have a deep appreciation for the science behind the practice, and they want to contribute to the research that leads to effective treatments.”

In Dr. Bryant-Friedrich’s laboratory, PharmD/PhD students are participating in research that will improve our understanding of the etiology of cancer. Bedi is studying how oxidation begins to damage cellular DNA, the process that leads to the formation of cancer cells. Meanwhile, Cho is studying how cells become cancerous and behave abnormally in the body.

PharmD/PhD students commit to an educational journey that is several years long. They complete the curricular requirements for the PharmD degree and then pursue the research training for the PhD. In total, they spend nearly nine years at The University of Toledo.

Cho was one of four students in the U.S. who earned a scholarship from the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy’s Express Scripts Scholars Program. The award supports dual-degree students, who often have increased financial challenges, by providing $10,000 to support their research.

The dedication and academic curiosity of PharmD/PhD students prime them uniquely for careers in academia and in the pharmaceutical industry. As faculty members, they will understand the practice of pharmacy, and they will have significant experience in pharmaceutical science research. They are also capable of working within the pharmaceutical industry to guide the process of creating treatments because they have an in-depth understanding of the way patients will respond to treatment.

The PharmD/PhD dual-degree program is attracting ambitious, research-minded students who are interested in becoming experts at practicing pharmacy and at developing treatments.