About Deanna Kroetz, and more news

Who is Deanna Kroetz?

Deanna Kroetz, associate professor, Department of Biopharmaceutical Sciences, came to UCSF in July 1993 as an assistant professor. She received the Leon Goldberg Young Investigator Award from the American Society for Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics last March. Deanna is also a member of the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on Childcare, 2001–2004.

Where were you before UCSF?

I received a BS in pharmacy from Ohio State University in 1985 and then a PhD in pharmaceutics from the University of Washington. My graduate work was on the mechanistic basis of the drug interaction between carbamazepine and valproic acid. After starting out with a human study, I then decided I liked the biochemical side of things better and spent the rest of my time working on the mechanisms for this interaction involving the enzyme microsomal epoxide hydrolase. My first taste of pharmacogenetics was as a graduate student when I characterized the distribution of microsomal epoxide hydrolase activity in a large population.

After my graduate training I went to the National Institutes of Health where I was a Pharmacology Research Associate Training (PRAT) fellow in the National Cancer Institute under the mentorship of Frank Gonzalez. At NCI, I worked on the cloning and characterization of liver carboxylesterases and was involved in the early studies leading to the development of a knockout mouse for the nuclear receptor PPARα.

Why did you decide to join UCSF Biopharmaceutical Sciences?

After spending so many years in schools of pharmacy, I was well aware of the reputation of this department in terms of quality of research. The resources that are available on this campus are unheard of in most schools of pharmacy. The main selling point was the faculty. The opportunity to interact with this outstanding group of people was too good for me to pass up. It really has been rewarding. I feel I have learned more since coming to UCSF than I did during my entire years of study. Whenever I visit other schools of pharmacy I am reminded what a great department and school this is.

What is your specialty?

My research is in the area of xenobiotic/endobiotic metabolism and transport. A major research effort is on the metabolism of arachidonic acid by the cytochrome P450 and epoxide hydrolase enzymes. This is an important pathway for the generation of eicosanoids with vasoactive and renal effects. We are interested in understanding the cell- and tissue-specific role of individual isoforms in these reactions, the regulation of enzyme expression and the pharmacological properties of cytochrome P450 and epoxide hydrolase inhibitors. The role of the PPAR nuclear receptors in regulating the vascular effects of these eicosanoids is also being studied.

A second area of interest is in the pharmacogenetics of the multidrug resistance transporters. As part of a multi-investigator grant (with PI Kathy Giacomini), we are characterizing the level of genetic variation in these transporters and the biochemical and clinical effects of multidrug resistance variants. Genetic variation in these transporters are likely to affect drug resistance in cancer and penetration of drugs into the brain.

Tell me a little about yourself personally. What do you like to do for fun?

Since my graduate years in Seattle, I have had a passion for the outdoors and really enjoy hiking, biking, backpacking, skiing, and scuba diving. More recently, my free time is spent with my family—husband Jeff and two sons, Nathan, age 4, and Matthew, 20 months. Although they also love the outdoors as much as their parents, our activities are a little toned down. Nathan started skiing this year, and they love to camp, ride bikes, and hike (on mom and dad’s backs). I also enjoy traveling, reading, and cooking (something other than macaroni and cheese or hamburgers).

Pohorille receives NASA Medal for scientific achievement

Andrew Pohorille, Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, received this year’s NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal. This is a Congress-sanctioned medal for an exceptional scientific contribution toward achieving the NASA mission. The medal was presented at the NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California, in a ceremony on August 15. This medal is the highest scientific award given by NASA. Andrew received the medal for “outstanding research accomplishments in the application of high performance computing and computer science to studies of the origin and evolution of life.”

Rice reappointed to state medical board

Lorie Rice, associate dean of external affairs and assistant clinical professor, has been reappointed as a member of the Medical Board of California, Division of Medical Quality. She will serve as vice president of the Division of Medical Quality and the chair of the Alternative Medicine Committee. Lorie has been with the School of Pharmacy since 1990 and also has considerable state service experience, serving from 1983 to 1990 as the executive officer for the State Board of Pharmacy.

Opening pharmacy to the Central Valley

First pharmacy students arrive for new UCSF program in Fresno

Responding to the chronic shortage of pharmacists in the San Joaquin Valley, the School of Pharmacy officially launched a new program to boost the number of pharmacists practicing in Valley communities. The UCSF Fresno Pharmacy Education Program brings fourth-year students to spend their last student year in clinical rotations in Fresno at University Medical Center, Children’s Hospital of Central California, Kaiser Medical Center, and other institutions. The goal is to attract pharmacy students to the region who will remain in the area and serve Valley residents.

Dean Mary Anne Koda-Kimble welcomed the first six students in the program at a July 2 reception and dinner sponsored by the UCSF School of Pharmacy Alumni Association. “As a Valley native and dean of the UCSF School of Pharmacy, I am doubly pleased with this innovative program to create a much-needed pipeline of young pharmacists to serve Valley communities,” she said.

“The nationwide pharmacist shortage is hitting every part of the state, but this community has a disproportionately low number of pharmacists serving its citizens. As we age, and as medications become more numerous and complicated, the role of pharmacists in health care becomes more important than ever—and critically important here in the city of Fresno.”

Mitra Assemi, Department of Clinical Pharmacy, is the acting director of the new program. Mitra grew up in Fresno and her new position takes her back to the San Joaquin Valley.

Poster sessions and Kollman

An endearing memory of Peter Kollman is that he always attended poster sessions. To him, it was a valuable opportunity to know more about current interests and research projects and part of being a good mentor. His unparalleled level of excitement and enthusiasm often led to a fruitful exchange of ideas.

Poster sessions are an increasingly important part of scientific programs, conferences, and symposia. The poster medium affords certain strong advantages in communicating with one’s colleagues. Some advantages are: data and graphics on posters are available as long as an individual wishes and a poster attracts an audience that is really interested in similar work.

At the Molecular Simulations in Structural Biology and Drug Discovery Symposium given in Kollman’s honor last February, the two poster sessions were an integral part of the program. Specific times were set aside to allow the posters to be viewed for several hours. The posters stimulated useful information, food for thought, and lengthy discussions. Kollman’s naturally strong, booming voice was there in spirit among the presenters.

Peter Andrew Kollman, Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, died from cancer on May 25, 2001, following a short illness. He devoted his own considerable energies to building UCSF into one of the outstanding academic institutions where computational efforts were combined with crystallographic, mass spectrometric, and magnetic resonance centers to provide a new way to study complex biological problems. He was the epitome of a university professor: an exceptional teacher, dedicated mentor, and enthusiastic supporter for his many students and colleagues.

Biocomputing, visualization, and informatics center receives funding

Tom Ferrin, Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, recently received a five-year, $5,055,518 grant from the NIH National Center for Research Resources for continuing support of his Resource for Biocomputing, Visualization and Informatics (RBVI), housed in the UCSF Computer Graphics Laboratory (CGL). The program is an NIH Biomedical Technology Research Center for the integrated analysis of biological sequence, structure, and functional information.

The RBVI creates innovative computational and visualization methods and professional-quality, easy-to-use software tools, and applies these methods and tools for solving a wide range of genomic and molecular recognition problems within the complex sequence-structure-function triad. The Resource also provides access for scientists to state-of-the-art computer hardware and software in support of research projects in these areas. The RBVI is funded by NIH’s National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) and was originally founded in 1980 by Robert Langridge at Princeton University. The Resource moved to the UCSF School of Pharmacy in 1976.

Employee of the Month program begins

Special Assistant to the Dean Deborah Petrie introduces the next section:

I am pleased to announce that the Dean has offered to fund an employee of the month program in each department of the School. This will be an opportunity for managers to recognize employees.

This program will be managed by the MSOs in each department and may have different mechanisms—but the overall goal is important to remember—the School of Pharmacy wants to recognize good staff for all their hard work. Without such a strong staff, the School would not have been able to accomplish as much as it has. For more information about the program in your area, contact your MSO. The following excerpts are from letters the MSOs wrote recommending the first recipients of the award for the month of July.

Kim Bivens, Dean’s Office

I am pleased to recognize Kim Bivens as the Employee of the Month. Kim has long assisted the school in many aspects…particularly the one for which she is most noted—the obtaining of signatures on grants and contracts with deadline dates. She always does this with a minimum of fanfare and maximum of tact. We are lucky to have Kim with us!

Nancy Mutnick, Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry

…You are being acknowledged…for your conscientious effort in organizing Peter Kollman’s memorial… You took great care to contact Peter’s family, colleagues, and friends in a heartfelt manner, collecting information and photos for a scrapbook that you distributed to many. You also did an excellent job of helping to run the Kollman Memorial Symposium. You [also] collected an entire set of Peter’s reprints. I know this was no simple task.

Susan Mailhot, Department of Biopharmaceutical Sciences

…Susan is the division administrator, clinical pharmacology and experimental therapeutics. She has worked hard to coordinate the FAMRI (Flight Attendant Medical Research Institute) grant…As the key administrator, Susan manages to meet the competing demands of a very busy unit. When things are working well, others are often not aware of the high degree of coordination, planning, and/or organizational skills that are required to realize that outcome…I want to take this opportunity to express how much her hard work and efficiency are appreciated.

Susan Heath, Department of Clinical Pharmacy

…Susan, editor of the School of Pharmacy News…was hospitalized in May and June and even though she was seriously compromised physically and required surgery, she continued to think about the School and department. From her hospital bed she thought about the publications and worked on them. She went beyond the call of duty…


  • Michael Baldwin, Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, was appointed Chair of the UCSF Chemical Safety Committee.
  • Kathryn Phillips, Department of Clinical Pharmacy, served as co-host for a meeting in late June with Sequenom, a genomics firm, to discuss academic-industry collaborations. She was also invited to join the Scientific Advisory Board for Xdxinc, a biotech start-up company that is working on gene expression analysis.
  • Karen Hudmon, Robin Corelli, and Lisa Kroon, Department of Clinical Pharmacy, recently received the following grants:
    • Disseminating a Tobacco Curriculum for Pharmacy Schools: $787,267 funded by the National Cancer Institute.
    • Healthcare Team Approach to Smoking Cessation: $4,033,507 ($481,599 anticipated subcontract to UCSF), funded by the National Cancer Institute.

School of Pharmacy fact

The caliber of the School’s research faculty and its work is exceptional. The School has been number one in research funding from the National Institutes of Health for the past 22 years compared to pharmacy schools nationwide. When evaluated on criteria such as percent of faculty members who publish, number of publications per faculty member, and citations per faculty member, the School’s graduate program in chemistry ranks third in the nation based upon a 1994 study by the National Research Council.

Upcoming events

  • The War on Cancer: Where are We? is a mini-symposium on cancer sponsored by the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics and the Hillblom Center for the Biology of Aging. December 7, place to be announced.
  • SOP Staff Service Awards Luncheon: October 7, Laurel Heights, 12–2 p.m.
  • White Coat Ceremony: October 18, Cole Hall, 4:00 p.m.
  • Homecoming 2002: By now all alumni should have received their invitations to the School’s Homecoming 2002: All Roads Lead to Rome—or is that Home?

What you like to do for fun

Singing, acting, flying trapeze, rollersoccer, and a travelin’ man

We received the following replies to our e-mail question asking what you like to do for fun and fulfillment besides work. Thank you for the great response!

  • Barbara Paschke, graduate program administrator, Department of Biopharmaceutical Sciences. “I sing with the San Francisco Bach Choir and have for at least 10 years. I translate literature from Spanish to English—poetry, short stories, and essays for numerous books and journals.”
  • Nicole Takesono, department assistant, Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry. “Working in pharmaceutical chemistry is a part time job for me. The other part of the time I sing opera! I will be playing Hansel in Golden Gate Opera’s fall production of Hansel and Gretel and will also be singing in the chorus for a third season at Opera San Jose.”
  • Larry Schweitzer, Dill Group systems administrator, Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry. “I exercise regularly at a 24-Hour Fitness club and enjoy going backpacking in Yosemite. I’ve been taking night classes and received a second bachelor’s degree in computer science from San Francisco State University just last May.”
  • Julie Schwenka, hematology/oncology pharmacist, Department of Pharmaceutical Services. “I enjoy many things including scuba diving, snowboarding, and tennis. I just went on a five-week trip to Europe on a motorcycle. My oddest hobby is playing rollersoccer—soccer played on roller skates. We play in various recreational centers, particularly North Beach playground. Sometimes we will kick a ball around in Golden Gate Park on Sundays when the streets are closed. It is organized in that you pay dues and are part of the group, but it is not organized as a league. Whoever joins the group, we just all play against each other. It’s great fun and a great workout. These are the things I do for fun, mostly because they are things that I can also do with my 12-year-old son.”
  • Joyce August, residency coordinator, Department of Clinical Pharmacy. “I am an active fan of both the San Francisco Giants and 49ers. For many years I have been a member of the Museum Societies in San Francisco and have been involved with the theatre most of my life. I performed both on stage and in a local television program several years ago… one much like Saturday Night Live. I have also been extremely active in the American Conservatory Theatre for many years and served on the Friends executive committee. Presently, I also foster and socialize kittens and cats for adoption.”
  • Steve Echaves, faculty member, Department of Clinical Pharmacy. “My hobby is flying trapeze. I fly and I also catch. Every quarter, I invite the SFGH students to participate on a Sunday. They learn a knee-hang trick and get caught by Andy Leeds or me. The gym I practice at is called “Trapeze Arts.” [Editor’s note: This is not a UC function. Students participate on their own.]
  • Lisa Tong, clinical pharmacist, Department of Pharmaceutical Services. “Aside from PT/INRs, aPTTs, platelets, antiXa levels, etc…I enjoy playing a friendly game of volleyball, softball, or basketball, dancing, singing, and going to musicals.”
  • Ron Finley, faculty member, Department of Clinical Pharmacy. Ron traveled to Bhutan this last spring and writes, “To reach this land requires traveling to either Kathmandu, Nepal, or Bangkok. Skimming ridges lined with prayer flags, with a glimpse of the Tigers Lair monastery perched some 10,200 feet above the valley floor, we landed in Paro Bhutan. After three days of day hikes up to and over 10,000 feet, we were ready for our eleven-day trek. Twenty-three pack animals, five guides, and 12 trekkers arrived at our Jomolhari (24,000+ feet) base camp. A cold drizzle descended and the mountain retreated into the mist, with only the sound of an occasional chunk of ice breaking off from the glacier.” Ron completed his mountain trek, sometimes at altitudes above 16,000 feet, and wrote on his return, “I left Bhutan with great admiration for the people and their culture. I plan to revisit Bhutan in two years to see how they are doing, to touch bases with ‘my’ mountain and to share the experience with my son.”


School of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences, Department of Clinical Pharmacy, PharmD Degree Program, Dean's Office

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.