2015 News

Youmans elected AACP Council of Deans Secretary

Sharon Youmans, PharmD, MPH, and UCSF School of Pharmacy vice dean, is the newly elected Council of Deans Secretary, American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP). 

Ahituv, Kaiser Permanente study identifies genetic susceptibility for hernia

Research in the lab of UCSF School of Pharmacy faculty member Nadav Ahituv, PhD, in collaboration with the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research and others, has identified variations at four locations in the genome underlying risk for the most common type of abdominal hernia.

MacDougall study finds severe sepsis alert speeds drug delivery

Sepsis occurs when the body responds to an infection with a mix of tissue-damaging inflammation and anti-inflammatory responses. This biological storm can lead to acute organ dysfunction (severe sepsis) and dropping blood pressure that does not respond to intravenous fluids (septic shock).

Wells named a fellow of National Academy of Inventors

James Wells, PhD, whose pioneering innovations in protein engineering and technologies to identify small molecules to aid in drug discovery have yielded more than 60 patents, launched three companies, and created two UCSF technology centers, has been elected as a fellow to the National Academy of Inventors (NAI).

Altschuler and Wu develop new cell-screening approach to speed drug discovery

How do you discover new drugs against diseases such as cancer?

Diversity in medical research is a long way off, study shows

Despite Congressional mandates aimed at diversifying clinical research, little has changed in the last 30 years in both the numbers of studies that include minorities and the diversity of scientists being funded, according to a new analysis by researchers at UC San Francisco.

The Right Dose: How pharmacy researchers are making medicine more precise

Reprinted courtesy of UCSF Magazine.

In the pediatric bone marrow transplant clinic, pharmacist Janel Boyle’s past and present collide.

She drifts past young patients—many of them infants and toddlers—and notes their beaming smiles and balding heads. Her gaze shifts to the parents, their expressions tense but hopeful.

Study identifies eye-drop-soluble compound that could treat cataracts

Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness worldwide, the leading cause of vision loss in the United States, and cases are increasing with an aging population. Currently the condition can be treated with surgery—an expensive intervention that leaves most patients blinded in developing countries untreated.

Shoichet study sheds light on “dark” cell receptors, potential drug targets

More than a quarter of all drugs work by targeting one of a large family of proteins called G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). Hundreds of different GPCRs are embedded in cell membranes, converting stimuli from the outside world—neurotransmitters, hormones, even light—into intracellular signals that can change cell behavior.

Giacomini to lead largest study of genetic, ethnic differences in effectiveness of leading diabetes drug

In people with type 2 diabetes, the body is less able to use the hormone insulin to regulate blood sugar. The disease affects 350 million patients globally—including 29 million in the United States, where it is the leading cause of blindness, kidney failure, and non-accident-related amputations.

Update from the Dean - Fall/Winter 2015

Strategic planning; Recently received research funding: cancer, Alzheimer's, HIV, type 2 diabetes (Kroetz, Keiser, Gross, Roy); Recent faculty publications: fibrosis, biofilms, gout (DeGrado, Yang, Giacomini); Collaborations and partnerships; Patient care: SB 493, scope of practice for California pharmacists; Education: Precision Medicine Student Alliance; New PharmD curriculum development; Faculty honors: Abate, Benet, Burchard, Desai, MacDougall, Wells, Yokoyama; Alumni honors: Levin, Schweitzer; New faculty members: Clinard, Buening, Toy, Seiple; Appointments: Jacobson, Sali; New development colleagues: Clark, Dalfen; “Making History” event; Global health: Apoteko Retreat; Campus: King; Hygeia sculpture.

Major funding for The Kidney Project from NIBIB Quantum Program

The research journey toward building a fully functioning, surgically implantable artificial kidney as an alternative to kidney transplant and dialysis just took another step forward with the announcement of a $6 million grant to The Kidney Project, headquartered at the UCSF School of Pharmacy. The funding comes from the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB), one of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Yang study demonstrates simulator to study antibiotic dosing against biofilms

Nearly every human bacterial infection—including some of the most serious, life threatening, and costly to treat—can take the form of a biofilm, in which bacteria aggregate into structured communities that enclose themselves within a secreted slime.

Desai elected to the National Academy of Medicine

UCSF School of Pharmacy faculty member Tejal Desai, PhD, has been newly elected to the National Academy of Medicine (NAM), formerly known as the Institute of Medicine (IOM).

NAM membership is considered one of the highest honors in health and medicine. Elected by current members, the membership recognizes individuals who have made major contributions to the advancement of the medical sciences, health care, and public health.

Fischbach joins project to generate drugs from bacterial genomes

Bacteria generate small molecules to fend off their fellow microbes. They also produce molecules that affect the response of host organisms—including humans—to their presence. Such molecules have been a major source of antibiotics, immunosuppressants, anti-cancer agents, and other drugs. But their discovery has not been systematic and the products of bacteria living in our bodies have only recently drawn scientific notice.

Benet to receive ISSX North American Scientific Achievement Award

UCSF School of Pharmacy faculty member Leslie Benet, PhD, has been named the 2015 recipient of the North American Scientific Achievement Award, presented by the International Society for the Study of Xenobiotics (ISSX).

Antibody Network partners with Celgene to develop cancer therapies

A new collaboration between Celgene Corp. and the Recombinant Antibody Network (RAN) will support the development of next-generation, antibody-based cancer therapies. The RAN is a consortium comprising researchers from the UCSF School of Pharmacy (UCSF Antibiome Center), the University of Chicago, and the University of Toronto.

Roy receives JDRF funding to develop implants to treat type 1 diabetes

UCSF School of Pharmacy faculty member Shuvo Roy, PhD, has received a three-year $1 million grant to create surgically implantable capsules of donor pancreas cells to free type 1 diabetes patients from daily insulin injections and the disease’s potentially life-threatening complications. The work is being funded by JDRF, the largest charitable supporter of type 1 diabetes research.

Matt Jacobson named chair of the Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry

Renowned researcher and educator Matthew Jacobson, PhD, has been named the new chair of the UCSF School of Pharmacy’s Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry. His appointment by Dean B. Joseph Guglielmo, PharmD, will be effective January 15, 2016.

Kroetz leads new study of genetics of cancer drugs’ dose-limiting side effects

Taxanes are a class of drugs widely used to treat a variety of cancers, including breast, ovarian, lung, gastric, and head and neck. But dosages are often limited by toxic side effects—most commonly damage to the body’s peripheral nerves, causing numbness, pain, and/or hyper-sensitivity—that can require reduced or suspended treatment and which can linger for years in disease survivors.

Study discovers why leading gout medication is ineffective for many

Allopurinol, the first-choice medication for treating gout—an excruciatingly painful condition that is the most common form of inflammatory arthritis, afflicts more than eight million Americans, and is on the rise worldwide—is not fully effective in more than half of patients.

Sali named associate dean of research

Andrej Sali, PhD, has been appointed associate dean of research of the UCSF School of Pharmacy, effective July 1, 2015. The appointment is in addition to Sali’s full professorship in the School’s Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences. As he continues with his own research, Sali will advise Dean B.

Study discovers simple rules underlying complex brain development in fly

How does brain circuitry organize itself during development? In at least one case—the seemingly complex visual system of the fruit fly, which connects its 800-facet compound eyes to its brain—the answer lies in just three simple rules.

Taking a road less traveled: 2015 Distinguished Alumnus Pamela Schweitzer

The 2015 Distinguished Alumnus of the Year is Rear Admiral Pamela Schweitzer, PharmD ’87. The recognition by the Pharmacy Alumni Association is given to the School graduate who has made outstanding contributions to the profession of pharmacy, to society, and/or to UCSF.

The PharmD graduate of the future

We are rapidly moving forward to develop a doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) curriculum that will prepare pharmacists to excel in a changing health care marketplace. A recent interview with Sharon Youmans, PharmD, MPH, our vice dean, lays out our plans. What will be the impact of the new curriculum? Most importantly, how will it affect patients?

PharmD curriculum transformation

The UCSF School of Pharmacy’s top-ranked doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) curriculum is in the initial stages of its most significant transformation in two decades. Named the UCSF Bridges Pharmacy Curriculum Project, the effort is led by Vice Dean Sharon Youmans, PharmD, MPH, and is currently targeted to launch fully with students entering the program in 2017.

History event highlights School innovations in research, practice, education

Concluding a year-long celebration of the 150th anniversary of the founding of UC San Francisco, the School of Pharmacy presented its own “Making History” event in Byers Auditorium on the Mission Bay campus on May 30, 2015.

Pharmacist interventions, formulary conversion tools, and warfarin discharge education take top honors at annual seminar

Studies of pharmacist interventions during comprehensive medication reviews, the impact of new tools to aid drug selection from a hospital formulary, and a project ensuring that hospital patients receiving anti-clotting drugs are properly educated upon discharge took top honors at the Department of Clinical Pharmacy 17th Annual Spring Research Seminar.

UCSF School of Pharmacy celebrates commencement 2015

The UCSF School of Pharmacy held its 2015 commencement ceremony on May 8 at Louise Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco, conferring doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) degrees on a 125-member graduating class.

Honoring student achievements

The annual UCSF School of Pharmacy Student Awards and Recognition Dinner, hosted by Dean B. Joseph Guglielmo, PharmD, and sponsored by Ralph’s Inc., was held on Friday, May 1, 2015, at UCSF’s Mission Bay campus.

The event honored dozens of students whose excellence and leadership were recognized at the campus, state, and national levels with scholarships and awards. The following is a brief selection from the evening’s presentations.

Wells elected member of American Academy of Arts and Sciences

James Wells, PhD, chair of the School’s Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, has been elected as a member of the 2015 class of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Burchard named to expert panel for Obama’s precision medicine plan

School faculty member Esteban Burchard, MD, MPH, has been appointed to an expert panel advising the National Institutes of Health (NIH) on how to develop President Barack Obama’s Precision Medicine Initiative.

Update from the Dean - Spring/Summer 2015

Strategic planning; Top NIH funding; Recently received research funding (Craik, Gartner, Abate, Cole, Aweeka); Recent faculty publications (DeGrado, Ahituv, Cutler, Pon, Branch, Chuang, Huynh); Education (Youmans): UCSF Bridges Pharmacy Curriculum Project, DRIVE Team; new staff (Nguyen, Miller); Honors (Corelli, Dong, Craik, DeGrado, Ferrone, Shin, Jacobson, Yokoyama); New faculty member (Wang); Web launch; Alumni Weekend: Making History event, Distinguished Alumnus of the Year (Schweitzer); Recent gifts: Prien estate, MacWilliam estate, Rogers Family Foundation; Koda-Kimble Seed Awards (England, Fraser, Johnson, Riel-Mehan); Campus news: hospitals at Mission Bay, Feeny gift; New executive vice chancellor (Lowenstein); New senior advisor on innovation and entrepreneurship (Kelly).

Ferrone named CPhA Innovative Pharmacist of the Year

Marcus Ferrone, PharmD, JD, a faculty member in the Department of Clinical Pharmacy, has been named the California Pharmacists Association (CPhA) 2015 Innovative Pharmacist of the Year.

The award, from the largest state association representing pharmacists, recognizes a member pharmacist for achievements such as significantly improving patient care, adding to the scope of practice, and inventing a new chemical composition.

Aweeka co-leads new study of drugs to prevent malaria in young children, pregnant women

Francesca Aweeka, PharmD, a faculty member in the School’s Department of Clinical Pharmacy, will co-lead a new five-year, $3.4 million study funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to address one of the world’s most vexing health problems—preventing malaria, especially in the most vulnerable populations, pregnant women and young children in Africa.

UCSF School of Pharmacy leads in NIH funding for 35th year in a row

For the 35th consecutive year, the UCSF School of Pharmacy has received more funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) than any other pharmacy school in the United States.

School researchers were awarded $31.8 million during the 2014 fiscal year, from October 1, 2013 to September 30, 2014.

Robert Gibson: alumnus, educator, advocate

School of Pharmacy alumnus Robert Gibson, PharmD '58, has been a tireless advocate for equality in education and in the profession of pharmacy, and is still active as a board member of the California Pharmacists Association Education Foundation.

DeGrado receives Protein Society’s Stein and Moore Award

William DeGrado, PhD, faculty member in the School’s Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, has been named the 2015 recipient of The Protein Society’s Stein and Moore Award.

The award is given annually by the international society “to recognize eminent leaders in protein science who have made sustained high-impact research contributions to the field.”

Innovation in Education Awards go to Shin, Jacobson, Ferrone

The inaugural presentation of the Dean’s Innovation in Education Awards took place during the School of Pharmacy faculty meeting at Mission Hall on the Mission Bay campus on January 6, 2015.