Giacomini featured in Time magazine, and more news

Dean Mary Anne Koda-Kimble introduces this newsletter series:

I am pleased to welcome you to this, the first issue of the School of Pharmacy News, in which we share news and announcements of interest to the School community. Many of you have requested an in-house newsletter, and here it is. It will come to you at least every two months. My hope is that it develops into a valuable communications piece, and one in which you actively participate by submitting story ideas and announcements. Highlights in each issue include a profile of a member of the School community, a pharmacy fact, various short features, a list of honors and awards, and a list of upcoming meetings and events. Susan Heath, Department of Clinical Pharmacy, is the editor. Thank you Susan! Please contact Susan directly with editorial leads or feedback.

Who is Kathy Giacomini, and why is she featured in Time magazine?

Kathy Giacomini is chair of the Department of Biopharmaceutical Sciences and a national leader in the field of pharmacogenomics. Kathy began her career in science with a BS degree in pharmacy from the University of Houston, followed by a PhD degree in pharmaceutical sciences from the State University of New York at Buffalo and postdoctoral research at Stanford University in pharmacology/clinical pharmacology. Kathy is perhaps best known today as a pioneer in pharmacogenomics, which is the study of how individual differences in genes affect how people respond differently to medicines. For her work in this arena Kathy received, in 1999, one of the highest honors in the field of pharmaceutical science—the Pharmaceutical Scientist of the Year Award given by the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP). The award recognizes both her pioneering work in understanding molecular mechanisms of drug transport across cell membranes and the impact of this research on new techniques to improve drugs and drug delivery. Kathy was the first woman to receive this FIP honor. Her involvement with the larger community was recognized when she received the 1995 UCSF Martin Luther King, Jr. Award and a 1997 UCSF Chancellor’s Award for the Advancement of Women.

Time magazine

Kathy’s work in pharmacogenomics led to a January 15, 2001 interview in a special issue of Time magazine and a $12 million National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant to determine how natural genetic variation affects the performance of human proteins, known as membrane transporters, which act as cellular gatekeepers that control whether drugs get into the blood stream. “Our ultimate goal is to be able to read someone’s DNA and know what drugs to use and at what doses, as well as which drugs to avoid,” says Kathy. “Transporter proteins are one of the keys to drug response, and that’s why we are looking for genetic variants among them.” Kathy teams with School of Medicine colleague Ira Herskowitz to lead a group of 20 investigators in this study of variants in transporter genes. This NIH grant to UCSF will be given over four years and totals $3.2 million in the first year. The UCSF project is the largest among nine NIH awards in what is phase one of a major national pharmacogenomics research initiative.

To engage young scientists in the new field of pharmacogenomics, the Department of Biopharmaceutical Sciences and the School of Medicine’s Program in Human Genetics jointly administer a new graduate program in pharmaceutical sciences and pharmacogenomics (PSPG).

For more information on the NIH pharmacogenomics award to UCSF, visit the UCSF press release archives at UCSF Gets $12 Million NIH Award to Study How Genes Affect Responses to Medicines.

Strategic plan update: Self Care Center up and running

The Center for Consumer Self Care, a strategic plan priority, was formed by the Department of Clinical Pharmacy in 2000 with Lorie Rice as acting director. This consortium includes more than 40 School faculty and staff with expertise in fields ranging from herbals and dietary supplements to antimicrobial resistance, from the mass marketing of drugs to the cost of drugs. The ultimate purpose of the Center is to help consumers help themselves make the right decisions about prescription and non-prescription medicines. To do this, the Center is actively promoting an agenda of broad forums for various audiences, including those of policy makers, pioneering the field of Self Care science, and offering the targeted professional advice and expertise of its members to others. The Center received a $100,000 start-up gift from the J.M. Long Foundation. The Center will be featured in a regular column in the campus’ daily online newsletter, ucsftoday (formerly Daybreak).

Highlights of the Center’s plans and activities to date include:

  • A pharmaceutical care service for the deaf and hard of hearing.
  • A conference on direct-to-consumer advertising.
  • Sponsorship of a continuing education program for Homecoming 2001.
  • A Self Care Corner in ucsftoday.
  • A consumer health series, co-sponsored by the State Department of Consumer Affairs.
  • A Sacramento legislative symposium series.

Buddy Program piloted in Pharmaceutical Chemistry

Linda Stewart, MSO for the Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, participated in the new campuswide Buddy Program, which was proposed as part of the Chancellor’s Initiative for a Supportive Work Environment. The goal of this program is to assist new employees in finding their ways through the UCSF system by matching them with more experienced peers, in this case other staff members in the department. As part of the program, Linda arranged a tour of the UCSF Laurel Heights campus so that new staff could meet managers and staff in the dean’s administrative unit. Contact Linda for more information on how she implemented the Buddy Program. More info: Supportive Work Environment.

Guo joins us

Su Guo, most recently from Genentech, Inc., joined the Department of Biopharmaceutical Sciences as assistant professor. She will be using small, transparent zebrafish to study potential drug targets for neurological disorders while incorporating pharmacogenomics into her work.

Visiting scholars in Clinical Pharmacy

The Department of Clinical Pharmacy frequently welcomes the academic visits of scholars from other countries. Scholars recently working in the department are Pierre Voirol, Keiko Yamamura, and Ferran Aziza.

  • Pierre received his PhD from the University of Lausanne, Switzerland. He is participating in a one- to two-year postgraduate fellowship offered jointly with the Department of Clinical Pharmacy and the Institute for Health Policy. Steve Kayser and Lisa Bero are his faculty mentors.
  • Keiko is associate director of pharmacy and a pharmacist at Nagoya University Hospital in Nagoya, Japan. She was here as part of a program sponsored by the Ministry of Health and Science in Japan that promotes study in the field of pharmaceutical care.
  • Ferran is a physician from the clinical epidemiology and public health department, Iberoamerican Cochrane Center in Barcelona, Spain. He is working with Melissa Ober and Lisa Bero in the Cochrane HIV/AIDS group.

Chemistry and Chemical Biology Program approved

The Office of the President has approved a PhD program in chemistry and chemical biology (CCB), which is administered jointly by Pharmacy’s Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry and the School of Medicine’s Department of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology.

Charly Craik, Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, is the program director. The program was initiated in 1995 and is oriented toward the study of molecules in living systems. CCB faculty members and graduate students will apply chemical approaches to important problems in human health, ranging from AIDS and metastatic cancer to atherosclerosis and neurological degeneration. More info: Chemistry and Chemical Biology Program.

Chapter of the Year Award for UCSF-ASP

This year the American Pharmaceutical Association (APhA) held its annual conference in San Francisco in April. The UCSF-Associated Students of Pharmacy (ASP) chapter was designated the conference host school for that weekend, and more than 120 students volunteered to help. Students worked in the employment exchange, the exposition hall, the chapter forum, and the bookstore. Chapter Delegate Roslind Bowens-Bono did an excellent job of informing the chapter about the policies discussed in the APhA-ASP Congress. Matt Bryant served on the nominating committee. Julie Speckman will serve next year as the only student representative on the APhA-PAC board, and Debbie Anderson was the UCSF representative in the national patient counseling competition. The UCSF chapter was awarded the Chapter of the Year Award for its division. It also received recognition for its membership recruiting efforts and two of its community service projects: Operation Immunization and the Women’s Health Organization.

Diabetes certificate program

On April 28–29, the School hosted a diabetes certificate program, entitled Pharmaceutical Care for Patients with Diabetes at the UCSF Laurel Heights Conference Center. This program, which focused on the pharmacists’ roles in diabetes management and education, was offered to Bay Area pharmacists and targeted community pharmacists. The San Francisco Health Plan, Pharmacists Society of San Francisco, Golden Gate Society of Health-System Pharmacists, and the School, under the leadership of Lisa Kroon in the Department of Clinical Pharmacy, worked collaboratively to bring this program to the Bay Area. The certificate program was developed by the American Pharmaceutical Association, the American Association of Diabetes Educators, and Pfizer.

Levens Lipton speaks to Commonwealth Club

Helene Levens Lipton addressed the Commonwealth Club on Tuesday, April 24, on Debunking the Myths around a Medicare Outpatient Prescription Drug Benefit. She presented the latest data on drug use, insurance drug benefits and drug costs, discussed some commonly held beliefs about drug costs and insurance coverage for the elderly, and separated myths from the realities. Look for an announcement of Helene’s presentation, June 27 at noon, on the same topic to the School and campus community, and plan to attend.

Pharmacy fact: What is ginkgo biloba, and does it improve memory?

Ginkgo biloba is a dietary supplement that is prepared from the leaves of the ginkgo tree. It has been studied for a variety of clinical conditions including dementia, peripheral vascular disease, tinnitus, altitude sickness, macular degeneration, and anti-depressant induced sexual dysfunction. Its use in dementia of the Alzheimer’s type has received the greatest attention. To date, most clinical studies and systematic reviews indicate a small but statistically significant improvement in cognition by approximately 3 percent. It is uncertain, however, if this difference is clinically significant. The use of ginkgo for improving memory in young and healthy individuals has received less attention. Study findings have been mixed and currently do not support the use of ginkgo in this population. Ginkgo has anti-platelet effects and should be avoided in patient’s taking warfarin or other antiplatelet medications. The use of ginkgo both pre- and post-operatively should also be avoided.

Honors and awards

  • Deborah Anderson, fourth-year doctor of pharmacy student, received an American Pharmaceutical Association (APhA) Student Leadership Award for 2001.
  • Leslie Benet, Department of Biopharmaceutical Sciences, received the Distinguished Person of the Year 2001 award from Pharmacists Planning Service, Inc.
  • Lisa Bero, Department of Clinical Pharmacy, received a grant from the World Health Organization (WHO) for $20,155 to conduct an analysis of public commentary on the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco, which is a plan for international collaboration on tobacco policy. Research Assistants Theresa Montini and Annie George are also working on this project.
  • Charly Craik, Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, was chosen to be the 2000–2001 Sigma Xi Distinguished Lecturer. Sigma Xi is an honor society for scientists and engineers.
  • Ken Dill, Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, along with David Agard, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, received a $2.5 million award from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund for an interdisciplinary graduate program in quantitative biology. Ken was also the Meloche Lecturer in Physical Chemistry at the University of Wisconsin.
  • Kathy Giacomini, Department of Biopharmaceutical Sciences, was the recipient of the 2001 John G. Wagner Pharmacia Lectureship at the University of Michigan College of Pharmacy. Kathy also became a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science this past February.
  • Su Guo, Department of Biopharmaceutical Sciences, received a three-year, $75,000-per-year Burroughs Wellcome New Investigator Award in Toxicological Sciences to study Parkinson’s disease using zebrafish as the model. Su was also named a 2001 Searle Scholar.
  • C. Anthony Hunt, Department of Biopharmaceutical Sciences, received two grants from the University of California Digital Media Innovation Program (DiMI), which is part of the UC Industry University Cooperative Research Program.
  • Betty-ann Hoener, Department of Biopharmaceutical Sciences, is co-investigator with Tony for a $1,160,000 award, and Tony will be working in collaboration with the UC Santa Cruz Computer Department for a $520,000 award.
  • Mary Anne Koda-Kimble, dean, was elected to the Institute of Medicine.
  • Peter Koo, Department of Clinical Pharmacy, was appointed chair of the committee on pain management education for the American Pain Society for 2001. Peter also received appointments to the American Geriatric Society’s panel on the management of chronic pain in older adults for 2001 and to the national panel on pain management in minority patients for 2001.
  • Jennifer McIntosh, third-year doctor of pharmacy student, received the Chancellor’s Award for the Advancement of Women.
  • Kathryn Phillips, Department of Clinical Pharmacy, was appointed to the editorial board of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Kathryn was also appointed to the UCSF Cancer Center population sciences advisory committee, a new committee that will report to the Cancer Center executive committee.
  • James Wells, Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, received the R.U. Lemieux Lectureship from the University of Alberta.
  • C.C. Wang and Paul Ortiz de Montellano, Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, and Henry Sanchez, who instructs pathology, received the Long Award for Excellence in Teaching for 1999–2000.

Support our student community service projects: auction

Students from the local APhA-ASP and ASHP-CSHP chapters and the Phi Delta Chi and Kappa Psi fraternities are holding the 3rd Annual Community Service Auction, May 21, 2001 at 4:30 p.m. in Millberry Union Conference Center. The money contributed will benefit many community service projects including Diabetes Awareness, Lung Cancer Project, Pediatrics Project, Mental Health Project, Rx for Drug Awareness, Geriatrics Awareness, Over-the-counter Counseling, Hypertension/Cholesterol Screening, Vial of Life Project, Poison Control Project, Operation Immunization, and The Women’s Health Organization.

Look for a flyer coming out soon that lists the items to be auctioned, including one-of-a-kind donations such as dinner with the dean, a guided mountain biking excursion with Steve Kayser, artwork and many dinners with faculty and numerous certificates to Borders, Pasta Pomodoro, etc.

The students’ active involvement in these projects provides experience in identifying and servicing unmet medical needs in a complex, urban environment. Our students and their clients need your support.

Upcoming events

  • Robert Levin, Department of Clinical Pharmacy, will present Clinical pharmacy, Development at UCSF: A 35-year Perspective with historical video tapes and slides on Wednesday, May 23, 5–7 p.m., HSW 300. Refreshments will be served. RSVP to Polly Chew. Seating is limited, and only the first 100 people who reply will be able to attend.
  • Pharmaceutical Sciences and Pharmacogenomics (PSPG) postgraduate students make presentations every Wednesday from 12–1 in S214. PSPG is a graduate program in the Department of Biopharmaceutical Sciences.
  • Commencement for the doctor of pharmacy program is June 9, 10 a.m., Masonic Auditorium.
  • Homecoming 2001 is Saturday, November 3. Everyone will receive an invitation.


School of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences, Department of Clinical Pharmacy, PharmD Degree Program, Pharmaceutical Sciences and Pharmacogenomics Graduate Program (PSPG), PSPG

About the School: The UCSF School of Pharmacy aims to solve the most pressing health care problems and strives to ensure that each patient receives the safest, most effective treatments. Our discoveries seed the development of novel therapies, and our researchers consistently lead the nation in NIH funding. The School’s doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) degree program, with its unique emphasis on scientific thinking, prepares students to be critical thinkers and leaders in their field.