2011 News

If you are a pharmaceutical company seeking to switch your prescription medication to one sold directly to consumers—as an over-the-counter or OTC drug—William Soller, PhD, has your road map. In a recently published study, Soller and co-authors analyzed the questions framing U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory committee deliberations on prescription(Rx)-to-OTC switches since 2002—focusing on those addressing the first switches in a given drug class.
schematic diagram
A holy grail of drug discovery is to answer key questions about potential new drugs less by experiments in petri dishes and lab animals and more by faster, cheaper engineering efforts using predictive computer models.
Pharmacy robot selects medications from drawers
The robotic pharmacy at the UCSF Medical Center is the recipient of a 2011 Best of What’s New (Archived) designation by Popular Science. Each year since 1987, the publication reviews thousands of innovations and chooses the top 100 winners that represent significant steps forward. The robotic pharmacy uses robotic technology and electronics to automate the preparation and tracking of medications with the goals of improving patient safety and increasing efficiency.
A two-year-old, cross-disciplinary effort to invent new medical devices for children, co-founded by bioengineer Shuvo Roy, PhD, has received a two-year $1 million grant from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to expand its work.
The office of Lisa Bero, PhD, on UCSF’s Laurel Heights campus has long been a key portal between the School of Pharmacy and the world at large, including countries where billions of people cannot get even the most vital life-saving drugs.
To reduce the risk of toxic drug interactions, UCSF's Kathy Giacomini, PhD, and colleagues are screening thousands of prescription drugs, testing how much they inhibit key proteins in kidney and liver cells that help clear medications from the body. This is the first large-scale screening of drugs for their potential to inhibit drug transporters—proteins in cell membranes that control the entry and exit of drugs.
Michael Nordberg, MPA/HSA, is the newly appointed associate dean of administration and finance for the UCSF School of Pharmacy. He served the position as interim associate dean from July 1, 2009 to September 26, 2011 when he accepted the position full time at the completion of a comprehensive recruitment for the job.
Passengers who travel on American Airlines from September through October 2011 will learn about the surgically implantable bioartificial kidney being developed at UCSF as a permanent solution to end stage renal disease.
Michael Fischbach, PhD, who studies drug-like molecules produced by human gut bacteria, has been awarded one the 16 prestigious 2011 Packard Fellowships in Science and Engineering. The fellowship, which supports “highly creative professors early in their careers,” provides an unrestricted research grant of $875,000 over five years.
Bo Huang, PhD, a faculty member of the UCSF School of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, has been named a recipient of a 2011 National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director’s New Innovator Award. The award, given to 49 new investigators this year, including two other UCSF scientists in the School of Medicine, provides funding of up to $300,000 annually over the next five years to support Huang’s research.
Pharmaceutical companies will increasingly apply the predictive modeling of quantitative pharmacology to do more efficient drug development, says Kathy Giacomini, PhD, co-chair of the Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences (BTS), a joint department of the UCSF Schools of Pharmacy and Medicine, and its new Center for Quantitative Pharmacology.
Susan Desmond-Hellman, MD, MPH
UCSF Chancellor Susan Desmond-Hellman, MD, MPH, delivered her State of the University address at Cole Hall on the Parnassus campus on October 4, 2011. In her third year at the helm, Desmond-Hellman presented a renewed mission and vision for the university that included five major goals guiding the health sciences institution through the next three years:
Adam Abate, PhD, a faculty member in the UCSF Schools of Pharmacy and Medicine, Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences, is a prime trial candidate for QB3’s Startup in a Box.
warning sign
An analysis by UCSF faculty members from the Schools of Pharmacy and Medicine has found that the half-dozen most reputable electronic drug information resources—tools commonly used by clinicians to make prescription and patient monitoring decisions—may not provide key elements of some medications’ black box warnings.
William J. Rutter Center at UCSF Mission Bay
The new UCSF Center for Quantitative Pharmacology housed within the Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences (BTS), a joint department of the Schools of Pharmacy and Medicine, will be inaugurated next week with a wide-ranging, 2-day conference, September 22 and 23, 2011 at William J. Rutter Center on UCSF’s Mission Bay campus.
course participants in classroom watch lecturer and screen
Louis R. Cantilena, Jr., MD, PhD, is the newly appointed course director of the American Course on Drug Development and Regulatory Sciences (ACDRS) effective summer 2011. This two-year certificate program for pharmaceutical industry professionals is presented by the Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences (BTS), UCSF Schools of Pharmacy and Medicine.
Xiaokun Shu, PhD, a faculty member in the UCSF School of Pharmacy, has been awarded $165,000 in first-year funding under the UCSF Program for Breakthrough Biomedical Research (PBBR) effective October 1, 2011. The PBBR, which receives its primary support from the Sandler Foundation, focuses on potentially high impact projects “that are substantially more creative or risky than projects supported by the NIH and other traditional funding sources.”
crowd of people on sidewalk
A novel gene associated with the asthma susceptibility in African Americans was revealed by a U.S. consortium of asthma genetics researchers, including Esteban G. Burchard, MD, MPH, Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences, UCSF Schools of Pharmacy and Medicine.
Michael Williams, MA
Michael Williams, MA, is the first executive director of academic, administrative, and research technology for the UCSF School of Pharmacy, effective August 1, 2011.
Faculty awards: Cutler, Fujimori, Huang, Wells. New faculty members: Abate, VanOsdol, Rodondi. Retiring faculty members: Kahl, Shafer, Wang, Kayser, Koo. PharmD students: Campbell, Wheeler, Ho, Lam, Campbell, Loucks, Marotto, Huynh, Luu, Chua, Stephens. PhD students: Gray. New appointments: Penick Brock, Williams. Research update: Giacomini, Uskokovic, Long-Boyle, Cheng, Guglielmo, Phillips, Bero, Kayser, Dennehy, Finley, Burchard, Burlingame, Wells, Jacobson, Fujimori, Renslo, Prusiner.
Mission Bay
The 2nd Annual Bay Area Biotechnology Symposium, presented by the UCSF School of Pharmacy’s Industry Outreach Program in coordination with the UCSF Postdoctoral Scholars Association at Mission Bay in late May 2011, fully lived up to its billing: “Pharmaceuticals of the Future: Case Histories and Challenges.”
Marilyn Stebbins (left) and William Soller (right)
William Soller, PhD, and Marilyn Stebbins, PharmD, faculty members in the UCSF School of Pharmacy’s Department of Clinical Pharmacy, were sources for a July 25, 2011 Los Angeles Times feature about the safety and effectiveness of saving money by splitting pills or taking medications after their expiration date.
Daniel Gray, PhD, is the recipient of the 2011 Julius R. and Patricia A. Krevans Distinguished Dissertation Award. The award, which honors the most outstanding doctoral dissertation by graduate department nominees who completed their PhDs at UCSF during the past year, is named for UCSF Chancellor Emeritus Krevans and his wife, and comes with a cash prize.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), used with a novel pyruvate chemical compound that is specially labeled to be read by the MRI machine, is being applied for the first time in humans to study the aggressiveness of prostate cancer in patients and the success of prostate cancer therapies. The chemical compound is energized, then quickly injected into the prostate cancer patient before imaging begins.
two screenshots of video
Faculty members in the Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences, UCSF Schools of Pharmacy and Medicine, share their research on the human microbiome and microfabricated drug delivery systems and their hopes for how their science will improve the health of patients.
Silicon-based filtration membranes
Shuvo Roy, PhD, a faculty member in the UCSF Schools of Pharmacy and Medicine, Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences, presented initial results of research into a new type of silicon-based kidney filtration membrane at the annual conference of the American Society for Artificial Internal Organs in Washington, D.C. on June 10. More New Kidney Filtration System Could Simplify Dialysis
prescription medications on shelves in pharmacy
A study by researchers with the UCSF School of Pharmacy, Department of Clinical Pharmacy finds that the Medicaid program is likely paying far more than necessary for medications and not offering patients the most effective ones available.
multiple medication bottles
In the current issue of The Archives of Internal Medicine, two faculty members of the UCSF School of Pharmacy, Department of Clinical Pharmacy issue a call for prioritization in prescription labels’ increasingly long lists of adverse drug events (ADEs).
Psychiatric pharmacist Patrick Finley, PharmD, BCPP, spends his days not behind the pharmacy counter, but in the clinic interviewing patients with depression, determining the provisional diagnosis, selecting and prescribing medications, and working with patients over the long haul to make sure their medications are right for them.
students in classroom
A job fair to help postdoctoral fellows and final-year PhD graduate students in the Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, UCSF School of Pharmacy connect with private industry amid a brightening job market drew a packed house on UCSF’s Mission Bay campus on May 10, 2011.
Anson, McCurdy, and Odierna
The 13th annual Spring Research Seminar highlighting work by students, residents, and faculty members in the UCSF School of Pharmacy Department of Clinical Pharmacy—and featuring 48 project posters—was held May 3, 2011 on UCSF’s Parnassus campus. Rifkind Award winners The winners of the 4th annual Gary Rifkind Spring Research Seminar Awards are:
Education researcher Tina Penick Brock, BSPharm, MSPH, EdD, became the UCSF School of Pharmacy associate dean of teaching and learning, effective March 11, 2011. She joined the School’s Department of Clinical Pharmacy faculty in July 2010. Her credentials include:
Hilary Campbell
Hilary Campbell, UCSF student pharmacist, has been named the 2011 Student Pharmacist of the Year by the California Pharmacists Association (CPhA) at its annual meeting, held February 2011 in Palm Springs, California. The award goes to a member of CPhA's student chapter who has demonstrated exceptional involvement in professional activities and community projects.
Danica Fujimori (left) and Bo Huang (right), Searle Scholars
Danica Galonić Fujimori, PhD, a faculty member in the UCSF Schools of Pharmacy and Medicine has been named a 2011 Searle Scholar. Her UCSF School of Pharmacy faculty colleague, Bo Huang, PhD, earned the honor in 2010.
In fall 2010, a team of 8 school children won multiple awards in the Wisconsin regional and state FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL®) 2010 Body Forward™ Challenge, an international biomedical engineering competition involving a research project and robot games.
radiation symbol with radiating circles on top of a map of Japan
During the two weeks following Japan’s March 11, 2011 earthquake and subsequent tsunami, the California Poison Control System (CPCS) was as visible as ever, answering telephone calls on poisoning questions.
Education researcher Tina Penick Brock, BSPharm, MSPH, EdD, has been appointed associate dean of teaching and learning in the UCSF School of Pharmacy, effective March 11, 2011. She serves as the point person for all matters in the School related to educational affairs.
The robotic pharmacy at UCSF Medical Center was featured on Cable News Network (CNN) on April 22, 2010, in the report 21st Century Pharmacy. By automating the dispensing of medications, UCSF aims to improve medication safety and free the pharmacist to spend more time improving drug therapy, explained Lynn Paulsen, PharmD, UCSF Medical Center’s director of pharmaceutical services, who was highlighted in the report.
Pharmacogenetics expert Kathy Giacomini, PhD, co-chair of the UCSF Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences, is leading the UCSF arm of a research partnership in which her team will profile 2,000 prescription drugs against key molecules in the liver and kidney that are responsible for ferrying those drugs across the cell membrane and into the cell.
Robin Aglietti committed to taking one photo each day for calendar year 2010, and she succeeded. The kind of commitment needed to carry out this self-imposed photo assignment is also needed to be a scientist, she explains.
Timothy Cutler, PharmD, a faculty member in the UCSF School of Pharmacy, is the 2011 recipient of The Albert B. Prescott / Glaxo SmithKline Pharmacy Leadership Award from the American Pharmacists Association (APhA). The annual award spotlights a young pharmacist who the association deems likely to evolve as a significant leader of the profession. Cutler received the award at the annual APhA meeting held in Seattle, Washington, March 25-28, 2011.
James Wells, PhD, chair of the Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, UCSF School of Pharmacy, has been honored with the 2011 Bristol-Myers Squibb Smissman Award. The Smissman Award calls attention to a senior scientist whose work has had a substantial impact on the intellectual and theoretical development of medicinal chemistry. Wells is known for the discovery and design of small molecules that trigger or modulate cellular processes.
Kathy Giacomini, PhD, co-chair, UCSF Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences, has been named the recipient of the 2011 Scheele Award by the Swedish Academy of Pharmaceutical Scientists. Giacomini is recognized for her work on the pharmacogenetics of membrane transporters and how pharmacogenetic differences affect variations in drug response among individuals. The Scheele award goes to prominent scientists in the field of drug research or related disciplines.
CPCS on Facebook
The California Poison Control System (CPCS) is now connecting with state residents through text messaging, Twitter updates, Facebook quizzes, online games, and even a mobile application (app), which was launched today as part of National Poison Prevention Week — March 20-29, 2011. The CPCS is the first poison control system in the U.S. to reach the public through these popular electronic venues.
potassium iodide
Taking potassium iodide in reaction to any perceived threat to California of radiation exposure from Japan is not advised for California residents at this time, according to Stuart Heard, PharmD, FCSHP, a faculty member in the UCSF School of Pharmacy, Department of Clinical Pharmacy, and the executive director of the California Poison Control System.
Drug delivery research led by UCSF’s Tejal Desai, PhD, will now be supported by an exclusive worldwide license agreement between UCSF and Zcube s.r.l. The agreement focuses on drug delivery micro patches, developed by Desai, which stick to the lining of the intestine where they release their precise medication payloads directly into the intestinal lining and then into the bloodstream.
Pharmacy robot selects medications from drawers
Automated robots in a new, high-tech pharmacy now prepare medications for UCSF hospital patients with the aim of improving medication safety while freeing UCSF hospital pharmacists and nurses to spend more time caring directly for patients.
US$1 billion budget gap, student fee increases likely to continue, Levens Lipton keynote address to CPhA, Nkansah and the Dr.
woman holding a sign saying The FLU ends with U, learn more: www.flu.gov
For her public service announcement video entry, You vs. the Flu, UCSF student pharmacist Madalene Mandap received the grand prize in a U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) competition to encourage the public to get vaccinated for the 2010-2011 flu season. The competition supports the CDC's U.S. flu vaccination campaign, The Flu Ends with U, and appears on the CDC's campaign website.
Lisa Bero, PhD, a faculty member in the UCSF School of Pharmacy was named to represent The Cochrane Collaboration on the World Health Assembly of the World Health Organization (WHO) after the Collaboration was awarded an Assembly seat on January 23, 2011. The Cochrane Collaboration is an international organization that promotes high-quality research and evidenced-based decisions about health care.
Charles S. Craik, PhD, a UCSF School of Pharmacy faculty member, has joined the ranks of elected Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). He, along with four UCSF colleagues, was recognized on February 19, 2011 during the Fellows Forum at the AAAS annual meeting in Washington, D.C. Election is bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers and recognizes meritorious efforts to advance science or its applications.
The bacteria in the human gut that produce antibiotics are the focus of a US$1 million W. M. Keck Foundation grant being led by Michael Fischbach, PhD, a faculty member in the UCSF School of Pharmacy. He explains here the goal of the project: to identify antibiotics produced by gut bacteria and determine how these antibiotics affect the composition of the entire gut bacterial community. Research results could help reveal the causes of and new treatments for:
The Dr. Oz Show
Nancy Nkansah, PharmD, a faculty member in the UCSF School of Pharmacy, appears with Mehmet Oz, MD, on The Dr. Oz Show to caution consumers about 5 over-the-counter-drugs that are often misused. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) Antihistamines Proton pump inhibitors Acetaminophen Multi-symptom cold and flu medicines The Dr. Oz Show segment, “The Dangers of OTC Drugs,” was broadcast January 12, 2011.
Zev Gartner, PhD, a faculty member in the UCSF School of Pharmacy, will lead a US$3.2 million grant to study the interaction of different types of cells in breast cancer at its earliest stages. Research results might ultimately identify new classes of targets for anticancer drugs. The project is funded by the U.S. Department of Defense over 5 years. More Zev Gartner & team win grant to study origins of breast cancer
A box just four-feet square is the latest addition to the analytical armory of the National Bio-Organic Biomedical Mass Spectrometry Resource Center, which is directed by Al Burlingame, PhD, a faculty member in the Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry at the UCSF School of Pharmacy.