Update from the Dean - Spring/Summer 2007

Dear UCSF School of Pharmacy Family and Friends:

By any measure, the School is constantly moving forward. We are continually setting new goals for ourselves and working toward them. With all of this activity, it is challenging for me to condense 6 months of news and information into this message; there is so much to share.

Fresno Program to Boost Number of Pharmacists

One of our goals is to boost the number of underrepresented minority students in our PharmD classes. I am very pleased to announce one initiative that we believe will help us achieve this goal: our newly formalized collaboration with the UCSF Fresno Latino Center for Medical Education and Research (LaCMER) in California's San Joaquin Valley. Since 1999, LaCMER's Doctors Academy at Sunnyside High School has had remarkable success in preparing students from disadvantaged backgrounds for college and for entry into the health professions. This school-within-a-school provides extended academic, personal, and career counseling as well as test preparation. Mitra Assemi, PharmD, director of our Fresno Pharmacy Education Program, has been working with the remarkable Katherine Flores, MD, LaCMER's director, to pique the interest of Doctors Academy students in pharmacy as a career option. Beginning in 2008 and each year thereafter, we will identify 2 outstanding Doctors Academy pre-pharmacy high school graduates. Our faculty will be in continuous contact with these students to offer guidance as they prepare to meet pharmacy school admissions requirements. If they are successful, we will offer them early admission by augmenting our class size. Our hope is that these pharmacists will return to the Valley to provide care to the underserved. This program, which addresses an urgent need for more diversity among pharmacists, is an example of interprofessional program planning and implementation at its best.

Graduate Program Faculty Rankings

The Chronicle of Higher Education publishes annual data on the scholarly productivity of faculty teaching in graduate programs. Results are based on performance in such areas as publications, citations, grants, honors, and awards. Compared to other large institutions with 15 or more graduate programs, UCSF ranks 3rd in the United States in overall faculty productivity. Harvard University and the California Institute of Technology are 1st and 2nd, but we rank above MIT, Yale, Princeton, and Stanford, among others.

Faculty productivity for graduate programs in chemistry and chemical biology; pharmaceutical sciences and pharmacogenomics; and biological and medical informatics ranked—respectively—4th, 3rd, and 2nd in the United States.

Top Research Universities in the 2005 Faculty Scholarly Productivity Index:

  • chemistry and chemical biology
  • pharmaceutical sciences and pharmacogenomics
  • biological and medical informatics

The graduate programs with which we most strongly affiliate continue to rank among the best in the country as measured, in this case, by the scholarly productivity of program faculty.

California Poison Control System Receives National Award

The California Poison Control System (CPCS) has won the 2007 International Award of Excellence (IN-AWE) for its multi-language consumer marketing campaign, "Don't guess. Be sure." The IN-AWE is conferred by the Medical Marketing Association and the Coalition for Healthcare Communicators and is the most prestigious award for communications and marketing in health care. The campaign increased by 25% the number of poison-related calls to the CPCS from non-English-speaking Californians.

Our Preceptors and Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiences (APPEs)

We rely on almost 700 volunteer preceptors who give their time and expertise to guide our 4th-year doctor of pharmacy students through their clinical field work. APPEs take many forms and occur in many practice sites throughout California. The success of our experiential courses greatly depends on the qualifications of our preceptors, their perceptions of our students' preparedness, and their overall satisfaction with the School. We surveyed our preceptors in May 2007. Not surprisingly, almost 90% of our preceptors have a PharmD degree, more than half completed residency or fellowship training, and more than a quarter have specialty certification. Almost 95% believe our PharmD students add value to their practice sites, and 93% feel our students are well prepared for pharmacy practice. Some 95 percent would welcome a recent UCSF pharmacy school graduate as a colleague. The survey showed we have work to do when it comes to orienting preceptors and providing them with quick feedback. I sincerely thank each of our preceptors for their individual contributions to the education of our student pharmacists.

Drug Information Analysis Service Closes

New Program for Evidence-based Pharmaceutical Care Emerges

Based upon changing needs, we closed our Drug Information Analysis Service (DIAS) at the end of July 2007. In its place, we will develop a much-needed new unit that focuses on promoting safe, evidence-based care and on evaluating the impact of pharmaceutical care on patient outcomes within the UCSF Medical Center and beyond. For more than 4 decades, the DIAS has responded to telephone inquiries from clinicians at UCSF and affiliated sites regarding patient-specific drug therapies. However, the number of requests has diminished in recent years, in large part due to the availability of comprehensive, up-to-date drug information databases that clinicians now routinely use to support point-of-care medical decisions. At the same time, increasingly complicated and complex therapeutic regimens for patients have become the norm in the UCSF Medical Center, as they have across the United States. As a result, our department of clinical pharmacy, under the leadership of Chair Joe Guglielmo, PharmD, is developing a new unit that will expand our practice research capabilities. Our goals are to evaluate novel pharmaceutical care models for their effects on rational and safe drug therapy and to expand evidence-based care across the United States beginning at the UCSF Medical Center.

New Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experience (IPPE) Requirement

As of July 1, 2007, the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education requires that at least 5% of a PharmD curriculum, or 300 hours, be in the form of IPPEs. The purpose of IPPEs is to prepare students for their APPEs. We view the IPPE requirement as an excellent opportunity for the School to meet a long-standing desire to provide clinical experiences for students early in their training.

Articles of Interest

While our faculty publishes prolifically, I realize that I rarely share with you their scholarly publications, interviews, and citations from the lay press. Here is a very small sample.

A computer model can now give scientists clues about how different chemicals are attracted to each other and form more complicated molecules. This information could shed light on how the universe was formed and how life emerged. The model was developed by Ken Dill, PhD, department of pharmaceutical chemistry, and Justin Bradford, UCSF PhD graduate student in biophysics. The results of their work appear in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, June 4, 2007: Stochastic innovation as a mechanism by which catalysts might self-assemble into chemical reaction networks.

Our scientists, with colleagues in Texas and New York, are using molecular docking techniques, pioneered here more than 25 years ago by Professor Emeritus Tack Kuntz, PhD to discover the structure, and subsequently the function, of enzymes for which we have little related information. Knowing the structure and function of enzymes is important, since enzyme action is essential to health as well as disease. Johannes C. Hermann, PhD, the lead author of this study, is a former post-doc in the lab of the study's co-author Brian Shoichet, PhD, department of pharmaceutical chemistry. Results of this research appear in Nature, July 1, 2007: Structure-based activity prediction for an enzyme of unknown function.

Published results of drug trials sponsored by the pharmaceutical industry are more likely to favor drug over placebo than trials that are not sponsored by the industry, according to Lisa Bero, PhD and Kirby Lee, PharmD, department of clinical pharmacy, and colleagues from the UCSF School of Medicine and the University of Leiden, Netherlands. Their research results appear in PloS Medicine, June 5, 2007: [Factors Associated with Findings of Published Trials of Drug-Drug Comparisons: Why Some Statins Appear More Efficacious than Others][link defunct as of April 23, 2012].

Research on living neurons has clarified how the brain refreshes the supply of molecules it needs to make new memories. The study was conducted by Pamela England, PhD, department of pharmaceutical chemistry, with colleagues from the UCSF School of Medicine. According to Pam, the study could provide insight into how to treat memory disorders. The paper appears in the December 22, 2005 issue of Neuron: Photoinactivation of Native AMPA Receptors Reveals Their Real-Time Trafficking.

Frank Szoka, PhD, department of biopharmaceutical sciences, with Edward E. Dy from his department, and colleagues from the University of California, Berkeley, have engineered a new way to effectively deliver an antitumor drug to treat colon cancer in mice. The team conjugated a biodegradable synthetic polymer—called a dendrimer—to the drug, which in turn effectively carried the drug and released it at its target site. Read about the study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, November 7, 2006: A single dose of doxorubicin-functionalized bow-tie dendrimer cures mice bearing C-26 colon carcinomas.

Robin Corelli, PharmD, department of clinical pharmacy, was interviewed by Science online about the resurgence of community pharmacists as patient care providers. The article, Pharmacists Working in the Community, appeared in Science on June 15, 2007. Be sure to read it as well as an excellent companion article on Special Feature: Careers in Pharmacy. Also read the May 13, 2007 interview of Lisa Kroon, PharmD, department of clinical pharmacy, about her career as a pharmacist and diabetes specialist. For this Yahoo Hot Jobs article to go: [At Work With: Lisa Kroon, Associate Professor of Clinical Pharmacy][link defunct as of April 25, 2012] (PDF, 2 pages, 467 KB).


I am pleased to announce that 2 members of our department of pharmaceutical chemistry faculty were awarded tenure—Matt Jacobson, PhD and Pamela England, PhD. Pam investigates the ability of the central nervous system to learn and remember. Matt applies methods based in physics to study proteins. Tenure is a tremendous accomplishment. Congratulations to them both!


Three retirement parties marked the Summer of 2007. It is difficult to imagine a UCSF School of Pharmacy without the likes of Betty-ann Hoener, PhD, department of biopharmaceutical sciences; Joanne Whitney, PhD, PharmD, and Mike Winter, PharmD, both from the department of clinical pharmacy.

  • Betty-ann Hoener, PhD, beloved instructor of pharmacokinetics and associate dean for teaching and learning, retires after 33 years on the faculty. Teachers do not come any better than Betty, as demonstrated by the fact that she has won a Long Foundation Award for Excellence in Teaching an extraordinary 10 times over the course of her career. She is a recipient of the UCSF Campus Distinction in Teaching Award and is the only person in its history to have received it twice. Moreover, Betty is a teacher of teachers who has devoted much of her career to mentoring beginning or struggling instructors and to seeking recognition for successful faculty. Countless faculty members in our School have excelled as teachers under her exceptional guidance.
  • Joanne Whitney, PhD, PharmD, retires after 17 years of service to the School. I smile when I think of Joanne as a researcher and teacher of pharmaceutical chemistry before she was accepted as a student herself in our PharmD program. After completing a residency at the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center and practicing in the home care environment, Joanne returned to UCSF as the director of our Drug Product Services Laboratory (DPSL). This is the School's bulk compounding laboratory, which supplies high-quality, extemporaneously compounded products, not available commercially, to UCSF and other research and clinical facilities in California. DPSL researches and produces novel drug dosage forms and acts as a resource of technical information for investigators. Joanne brought scientific thought and rigor to the laboratory and an unstinting passion for excellence, which she has instilled in our students.
  • Every school of pharmacy in the nation has dedicated professors who have positively affected students and faculty. But only a handful of pharmacy schools can boast a professor who has left a permanent mark on pharmacy education internationally. Fewer yet can claim a faculty member who has altered the practice of pharmacy, thereby affecting the care people receive from thousands of pharmacists around the world. For the past 37 years, those of us on the UCSF School of Pharmacy faculty have been fortunate to have such a colleague among us. Michael Winter, PharmD, a gifted teacher and mentor, almost single-handedly added "clinical pharmacokinetics" as a new dimension to pharmacy education and practice. It took a role model he established, a book he wrote, and a lot of enthusiastic teaching over a period of years to achieve this feat, but he succeeded. Mike can be counted among the pioneers who defined clinical pharmacy and shaped a new, innovative curriculum that is emulated worldwide.

Fortunately for our students, both Betty and Mike have agreed to return part time as teachers and mentors. Betty also will continue in her role as associate dean for teaching and learning.

New Members of the Board of Advisors

I am pleased to welcome 4 new members to the Dean's Board of Advisors:

  • Gordon Dow, PharmD, founder and chief technical officer, Dow Pharmaceutical Sciences, Inc.
  • Kevin Rodondi, PharmD, vice president and general manager, Oncology Services, McKesson Specialty
  • Rita Shane, PharmD, FASHP, director, Pharmacy Services, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
  • Nancy Stalker, PharmD, vice president, Pharmacy Services, Blue Shield of California.

This board of external advisors is exceptional in their experience and in their candor when it comes to advising me on School plans. They bring fresh perspectives from outside of academia, as well as connections and suggestions for next steps in accomplishing our goals.

Honors and Awards

I note here 2 awards received by Jim Wells, PhD, department of pharmaceutical chemistry. I neglected to note in last year's letter that Jim was honored in 2005 with the Windsor C. Cutting Memorial Award Lecture at Stanford University. The lecture features prominent scientists in the field of pharmacology and therapeutics. In 2006, Jim received the Paul Janssen Prize in Advanced Biotechnology and Medicine from the Rutgers University Center for Advanced Biotechnology and Medicine.

Last January, I joined Joe Guglielmo in Sacramento to present a special Apple Teaching Award for long-term, outstanding teaching over the course of a career. The deserving recipient was Jeff King, PharmD, clinical coordinator of pharmacy services at the University of California, Davis Health System. The award inscription says it well:

Countless trainees and patients have been touched by your passion for excellence, compassion, generosity of spirit, optimism, and good humor. Each of them carries a bit of you with them as they, in turn, care for patients. We at the UCSF School of Pharmacy could not have hoped for more in a teacher, role model, and mentor for our future pharmacists. Thank you, Jeff.

Frances Brodsky, DPhil, department of biopharmaceutical sciences, has been named the recipient of the 2007 WICB Senior Career Recognition Award by the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB) Women in Cell Biology (WICB) Committee. Frances is recognized for her research accomplishments, her long-standing record of support for women in science, and scientific mentorship of both men and women.

Frank Szoka, PhD, department of biopharmaceutical sciences received the Outstanding Faculty Mentorship Award at this year's Graduate Division commencement ceremony. The award is presented by the Graduate Student Association and the Graduate Division Alumni Association. Of the dozen letters from students nominating Frank for this award, all mentioned his attentiveness, creativity, and his "ever-encouraging and optimistic" attitude. One student wrote, "He is committed to our success…. (He) believes above all we should choose career goals that are most true to ourselves."

Leslie Benet, PhD, is the 2007 UCSF Academic Senate Distinguished Clinical Research Lecturer in recognition of his outstanding clinical research achievements. Nominations for this prestigious award are made by UCSF faculty members to the Academic Senate Committee on Research, which selects the awardees. Les is the first member of the School of Pharmacy to receive this award.

David Agard, PhD, joint faculty member in the departments of pharmaceutical chemistry and biochemistry and biophysics, was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2006. Dave, whose lab pioneered the development of new methods for determining structure at both the cellular and molecular levels, joins 31 academy members from UCSF.

For his leadership and foresight in the biological sciences, Robert Stroud, PhD, joint faculty member in the departments of pharmaceutical chemistry and biochemistry and biophysics, was elected as a 2007 fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Among the fellows in the class of 2007 are former Vice President Albert Gore, Jr. and former Supreme Court Associate Justice Sandra Day. Bob is an expert in cell signaling and molecular mechanisms.

As a 4th-year student pharmacist, Kenyu Tan was awarded best scientific poster in 2007 at the International Health Project Competition, 5th Annual UCSF Global Health Symposium. Kenyu presented his pharmaceutical sciences pathway research project, Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) for Pancreatic Cancer Treatment. The poster summarizes Kenyu's work with Stephen Kahl, PhD, department of pharmaceutical chemistry, which resulted in the synthesis of 2 new compounds with the potential to be used as adjuvant therapy in the treatment of pancreatic cancer.

Campus Strategic Plan

After an inclusive and comprehensive process that began in 2005, UCSF has its first strategic plan, which was unveiled to the campus July 2007. Kudos to Executive Vice Chancellor Gene Washington, MD, for driving this rigorous process. Be sure to read the plan, Advancing Health Worldwide. The plan presents 7 directives for UCSF:

  1. Translate discoveries into improved health
  2. Educate future leaders
  3. Provide highest-quality care
  4. Foster innovation and collaboration
  5. Nurture diversity
  6. Promote a supportive work environment
  7. Serve our community

Behind each of these directives are exhaustive goals and 42 specific strategies. To realize the plan, we will need to prioritize our strategies, assign people to lead change, and track progress. Those of us who report directly to Chancellor Bishop are working on these next steps. In the meantime, our School of Pharmacy plan is nearing its final form. I slowed our planning process to ensure that our plan would be aligned with the campus plan.

I close now to begin a list of things to report to you in my next Dean's Update. I look forward to your comments and feedback.

Yours sincerely,

Mary Anne Koda-Kimble, PharmD
Professor and Dean
Thomas J. Long Chair in Community Pharmacy Practice


School of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences, Department of Clinical Pharmacy, PharmD Degree Program, Dean's Office, Chemistry and Chemical Biology Graduate Program (CCB), UCSF - UC Berkeley Joint Graduate Group in Bioengineering, Biophysics Graduate Program (BP), Bioinformatics (Biological and Medical Informatics Graduate Program), Pharmaceutical Sciences and Pharmacogenomics Graduate Program (PSPG), CCB, Biophysics, PSPG, Bioinformatics, BMI

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.