Update from the Dean - Winter 2013

Dear UCSF School of Pharmacy Family and Friends:

In the pages that follow I share just a few School highlights since I wrote to you last as interim dean, choosing instead to spend the majority of this Update reporting on the School's success to date in implementing our 2007-2012 strategic plan.

Top NIH Funding

For the 33rd consecutive year, the UCSF School of Pharmacy received more research funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) than any other U.S. pharmacy school. Grants awarded to School researchers during the NIH fiscal year 2012 (October 1, 2011 to September 30, 2012) totaled $31.7 million. Researchers awarded new funding included:

  • Xiaokun Shu, PhD, Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, who received a five-year, $2.4 million NIH Director's New Innovator award to develop new technology to identify dynamic interactions between proteins in our cells. His research seeks to capture weakly binding and short-lived interactions and networks that can be difficult to detect via current techniques, but which can play vital roles in health and disease.
  • Francesca Aweeka, PharmD, Department of Clinical Pharmacy, who received her second year of funding under a five-year, $2.7 million NIH grant to research the proper dosing and interactions between drug treatments for malaria and HIV in a region of Uganda that has high rates of both infections. In particular, she is examining whether the standard dosing of antimalarial drugs, largely derived from adult studies, is appropriate and effective for young children and pregnant women, including when patients are also infected with HIV and being treated with antiretrovirals.

This past December, just after the close of the federal fiscal year, Frances Brodsky, DPhil, Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences, received a significant NIH grant. Frances has led NIH-funded research into the biochemistry and cell biology of the key protein clathrin for more than two decades, including research on how the formation and function of clathrin-coated vesicles that transport vital biological cargo in and between cells is regulated. With the new $341,000 grant Frances will investigate a newly discovered clathrin isoform CHC22, including its relationship to membrane traffic pathways that malfunction in diabetes.

Recent gifts to the Kidney Project

I am very pleased to announce that our program to develop a small, surgically implanted bioartificial kidney for the long-term treatment of end stage renal disease (ESRD) is benefitting from two recent and generous gifts from private donors. As mentioned in past issues of the Update, this is a national research effort, called The Kidney Project, and it is led by Shuvo Roy, PhD, a faculty member in the Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences.

  • The family of the late philanthropists Harry and Diana Hind donated $1 million in support of the existing Harry W. and Diana V. Hind Distinguished Professorship in Pharmaceutical Sciences II, which is held by Shuvo who uses the endowment income to accelerate the development of the bioartificial kidney. Harry Hind was a 1939 graduate of the UCSF School of Pharmacy and an inventor of products such as the solutions that revolutionized contact lens use, as well as a topical patch to treat pain from shingles.
  • The Patterson Barclay Memorial Foundation is supporting The Kidney Project with a wonderful gift of $50,000. The Foundation seeks to "blend both charity and philanthropy in a unique manner to assist those who are doing all they can for themselves, yet simply need a little extra help." This is a perfect description of the current stage of development of The Kidney Project.

The project has made tremendous strides and now needs the funds required to push forward the research to clinical trials and venture capital interest. Both gifts will go a long way toward reaching that end. We thank the Hind family and the Patterson Barclay Memorial Foundation in advance for the research accomplishments these gifts will allow.

Honors and Awards

Congratulations to Department of Clinical Pharmacy retired faculty member Robert Day, PharmD; current faculty members Sharon L. Youmans, PharmD, MPH, BCPS, Department of Clinical Pharmacy,and Leslie Benet, PhD, Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences; and alumnus Robert Schoenhaus,PharmD. They will be honored at the 2013 annual meeting of the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) in Los Angeles in March.

  • Robert (Day) is the 2013 recipient of the prestigious Hugo H. Schaefer Award given for "outstanding voluntary contributions to society as well as to the profession of pharmacy and APhA." For more than five decades Bob taught and mentored pharmacy students and spoke out on issues important to the profession.
  • For her "exemplary service and achievement" Sharon has been named an APhA Academy of Pharmacy Practice and Management Fellow. Sharon serves as the clinical pharmacist at Glide Health Services, a primary care clinic for homeless and underinsured citizens of San Francisco. Her clinical focus is medication management and adherence strategies. She teaches PharmD students on topics of public health, communication, and cultural competency. Her research takes her to Malawi and Tanzania. Sharon is also our associate dean of diversity, and in this role she shows us the power and potential of inclusion.
  • Les is the 2013 recipient of the APhA Academy of Pharmaceutical Research and Science Ebert Prize. The award recognizes the author(s) of the best report of original investigation of a medicinal substance published in the Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences in the past year. The paper, co-authored with Maribel Reyes, PhD, examined "Effects of Uremic Toxins on Transport and Metabolism of Different Biopharmaceutics Drug Disposition Classification System Xenobiotics." Established in 1873, the Ebert Prize is the oldest pharmacy award in the United States.
  • Robert (Schoenhaus) was chosen by the Pharmacy Leadership & Education Institute to receive the 2013 Albert B. Prescott Leadership Award, given at the APhA annual meeting to a young pharmacist with exemplary leadership qualities "indicative of someone likely to emerge as a major leader in pharmacy over the course of his or her career." He is currently the director of Pharmacy Benefits Administration at Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group, an affiliate of Sharp Healthcare, the largest integrated health care delivery system in San Diego.

New Pharmacy Care Model

We are partnering with Safeway Inc. to implement and study a new model of pharmacy care to help Safeway customers quit smoking. Safeway pharmacists—ultimately in stores across the United States—will learn proven smoking-cessation counseling techniques using a streamlined version of Rx for Change. This is a tobacco-cessation training program developed by faculty members in our Department of Clinical Pharmacy. The participating stores also will locate non-prescription, nicotine-replacement therapies near store pharmacy areas, giving customers convenient access to a pharmacist to answer questions. In strong collaboration with Safeway, this project is a terrific opportunity to expand the role of the community pharmacist while helping curtail a major preventable health problem associated with substantial disease, death, and expenditure of billions of health care dollars.

John Craig Remembered

We came together on October 29 on the UCSF campus to celebrate our friend and Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry leader and scientist John C. Craig, PhD, who died just weeks before at the age of 92. John joined our faculty in 1960, was department chair from 1963 to 1971 and then served as the School's associate dean of research until 1992. John is an example to us all of a life lived fully. We remember him as dedicated teacher and an accomplished, award-winning organic and medicinal chemist who produced more than 250 publications on topics ranging from the synthesis of Vitamin A to the development of stable isotope tracer technology, as a replacement for radioactive tracers, for tests to diagnose genetic diseases in infants and newborns. John's life outside of academia was just as full as his research and teaching agendas. He was an amateur ham radio operator and an expert in and collector of antiquarian English cookery books. As we were reminded during John's memorial celebration, the earliest cookery books were full of medicinal cures. We were fortunate to have had John as a colleague and friend for so many years.

Mary Anne Koda-Kimble celebrated

Our former dean, School of Pharmacy alumna, and friend Mary Anne Koda-Kimble,PharmD, will receive the UCSF Medal at the 2012 Founders Day banquet on April 4 in San Francisco. The medal is awarded to those who have made outstanding contributions related to UCSF's mission of advancing health worldwide through innovative health sciences education, discovery, and patient care. There is no more deserving health care leader for this honor than Mary Anne. During the evolution of her career, she became an international icon of leadership in pharmacy education and practice. The therapeutics textbook she co-founded with Lloyd Young, PharmD—the first of its kind—is now the international standard. Her dedication to professional progress is legend. The impact she has had on class after class of pharmacy students is unsurpassed. During her last professional position, as dean of the UCSF School of Pharmacy for 14 years, she championed the basic sciences and united the School's departments through two strategic plans, the first such plans at UCSF.

Congratulations, Mary Anne, from the entire School of Pharmacy family. Joining Mary Anne as medal recipients will be:

  • Brian J. Druker, MD, director of the Oregon Health & Science University Knight Cancer Institute
  • Anthony S. Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health
  • Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Achieving our vision: 2007-2012

Planning and implementation of our current strategic plan—pressing ahead in new directions, Strategic Course 2007-2012—moved forward under the leadership of former dean Mary Anne Koda-Kimble, PharmD, until she retired at the end of June 2012. Since that time the School's leadership and faculty have continued to accomplish our goals. I wrote in the last Update that we have extended the strategic plan by one year (through December 2013 rather than December 2012) to allow the next dean time to set the School's next course with the faculty. I share now a small sample of our major accomplishments within the original timeframe. The full report of our strategic plan milestones is on our website at Milestones [link defunct].

We succeeded in exceeding our own expectations.

Sampler: UCSF School of Pharmacy strategic plan milestones

Goal 1: Create a new framework for drug discovery and development

In brief, we recruited new scientists to expand our expertise, opened new areas of research, and developed new research centers and tools.

  • Recruited and hired nine new basic and translational science faculty members, many of them early in their careers. These scientists gave us and the campus additional strength in physics, chemistry, the physical sciences, computational genomics, bioengineering, and pharmacometrics.
  • Supported the exploration of promising new research areas, including: high-throughput biology using microfluidics, advanced light microscopy, pharmacometrics, de novo protein design, design of genetically engineered encoded probes for multicolor whole-body imaging, computational genomics, design of cellular networks, application of microelectromechanical systems to the development of therapeutics, enzymatic features responsible for the development of antibiotic resistance, and polypharmacology.
  • Created the Small Molecule Discovery Center to assist University of California researchers in the identification of small molecules that modulate biochemical or cellular processes and have the potential to alter disease states; selected to lead a UCSF research collaboration under the National Cancer Institute to use small molecules to "search" the surfaces of cells for possible new "druggable" sites.
  • Began building the UCSF Antibiome Center to "industrialize" a process to produce renewable, standardized, high-quality, and efficient open-source antibodies to all human proteins, thus enabling unprecedented studies of protein function and greatly advancing research in all fields of modern biology, including cancer and infectious diseases.
  • Launched the Center for Quantitative Pharmacology to accelerate predictive drug development.
  • Celebrated The Kidney Project, which was selected as one of three renal device projects to pilot a new regulatory approval process by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), called Innovative Pathway 2.0. The process is designed to improve the projects' overall chances of success, while reducing the time and cost of FDA review and maintaining safety.
  • Expanded our bioengineering expertise and services through the newly created Therapeutic Micro and Nanotechnology Laboratory and the Biomedical Microdevices Laboratory. Co-led the cross-disciplinary Pediatric Device Consortium to guide the invention of new medical devices for children.
  • Created a suite of computational tools that can be licensed (or are freely available) and used in drug discovery programs.
  • Acquired and began applying a Thermo-Fisher LTQ Orbitrap Velos mass spectrometer to monitoring and measuring the molecular kaleidoscope of the human proteome.
  • Led the formation of the Quantitative Biosciences Consortium to facilitate PhD training in the quantitative biosciences at UCSF.

Goal 2: Ensure that more patients get the best results from their medications

In brief, we expanded our clinical patient care, clinical research, and health policy research bases. We focused attention on the development of new pharmacy practice models, and we made significant discoveries in translational research.

  • Created a Medication Outcomes Center to assess the value of medication-related health care interventions at UCSF Medical Center and improve patient outcomes within the Medical Center and its affiliated institutions.
  • Established research-based, innovative pharmacy care models in ambulatory and community practice settings in the areas of HIV, chronic diseases (such as diabetes and asthma), pediatric oncology, and for elderly patients as they transition out of the hospital.
  • Led a California statewide research program to assist uninsured and underinsured patients with obtaining medications the Medicare Part D program.
  • Partnered with the UCSF Medical Center in its successful designation as an NIH Center of Excellence in Pain Education. School faculty pharmacists will educate health professional students about pain to achieve newly developed pain education competencies.
  • Joined faculty colleagues campuswide in supporting the launch of the UCSF Center for Healthcare Value (CHV) and continued to participate actively in the center's many initiatives. CHV seeks to establish a new framework for delivering evidence-based, high-quality healthcare at lower cost and to develop a national model for the role of academic medicine in increasing healthcare value.
  • Received the first major grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to launch a research center on health policy issues related to personalized medicine and pharmacogenomics, specifically related to the wider use of medical tests and treatments based on individual genetics. The NCI grant, along with foundation grants, forms the nexus of our Center for Translational and Policy Research on Personalized Medicine.
  • Created pharmacist-based medication therapy management services for patients at a variety of settings and locations in San Francisco and the California Central Valley.
  • Identified genetic variants that are important determinants of paclitaxel toxicity in women with breast cancer, genetic variants that associate with reduced response to anti-diabetes drugs and toxicities in anti-cancer drugs, and ethnic-specific alleles that modify response to anti-asthmatic drugs.

Goal 3: Shape the future of pharmacy science, policy, education, and patient care by working in fresh and collaborative ways

In brief, we transformed how we work to include new directions, new partners, and new venues both here and abroad. Likewise, to see the PharmD program in a new light, we have initiated a holistic review to consider much-needed educational changes. We reaffirmed our commitment to diversity and began to see success.

  • Created the UCSF Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences, which focuses on speeding the innovation of medicines and medical devices to "intelligent" therapeutics. This move expanded the scope of our work from medications to therapeutics, including medications, medical devices, and diagnostic tests.
  • Assumed leadership of the National Institutes of Health (NIH)-led Global Alliance in Pharmacogenomics, Japan.
  • Assumed leadership roles in the development of the Center for Translational Science Institute (CTSI).
  • Recruited and hired clinical scientists who can compete for federal research funding and serve as clinical research mentors to Doctor of Pharmacy students.
  • Brought together a venture capital company and several faculty members—a collaboration that led to the founding of the startup company Global Blood Therapeutics, which completed Series A financing (the first round of financing for a new business venture after seed capital) and is sponsoring research at UCSF.
  • Led, through the appointment of two consecutive directors, the California Institute of Quantitative Biosciences at UCSF, which aims to apply the quantitative sciences to a better, integrated understanding of biological systems at all levels of complexity.
  • Increased involvement in the World Health Organization through appointments of a faculty member on the World Health Assembly and the Collaborating Center for Pharmaceutical Research and Science Policy.
  • Increased student participation in global health activities through the development of a structured and coordinated process for international experiences within the Doctor of Pharmacy curriculum.
  • Established agreements for cooperative education and research between the School and universities in Guatemala, the Philippines, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and the People's Republic of China.
  • Collaborated with the UCSF School of Medicine and the UC Berkeley Department of Bioengineering in the launch of a Master of Translational Medicine degree program.
  • Launched a two-year postgraduate course offered in both Washington, DC, and San Francisco, CA, to give U.S. industry leaders, regulatory authorities, and universities the scope of knowledge needed to influence significant, broad-reaching improvements in the ways drugs and medical products are developed.
  • Collaborated in the launch of a course in China that ultimately aims to contribute to the improved quality and broader acceptance of Chinese pharmaceuticals and pharmaceutical exports.
  • Advanced the School's ability to coordinate, administer, and deliver the Doctor of Pharmacy degree program through the use of educational technologies and assessment planning.
  • Implemented a holistic admissions review to ensure the consideration of applicants to the Doctor of Pharmacy degree program includes the sum of their academic strengths, life experience, and potential for leadership in the profession and within underserved communities.
  • Reaffirmed among the faculty a shared commitment to diversity, added a statement that captures this commitment to the School's mission statement, and worked aggressively to achieve a higher level of diversity.
  • Improved underrepresented minority enrollment in the Doctor of Pharmacy degree program, from 11 percent in 2008 to 22 percent in 2012.
  • Initiated a post-baccalaureate program to provide academic and professional preparation for individuals from diverse backgrounds to support their successful applications to professional schools.
  • Created the Early Conditional Admissions Program (ECAP) to encourage eligible high school students from the California Central Valley to pursue pharmacy careers.
  • Began working aggressively to promote interprofessional education.

As always, stay tuned.

Yours sincerely,

Guglielmo's signature

B. Joseph Guglielmo, PharmD
Professor and Interim Dean
UCSF School of Pharmacy

P.S. I look forward to seeing many of you at UCSF's Alumni Weekend, April 25-27. Information for this campuswide event is at UCSF Alumni.


School of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences, Department of Clinical Pharmacy, PharmD Degree Program, CCB, PSPG, Bioinformatics, Biophysics, 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.