UM Pharmacy Students to Test Clinical Skills in National Competition

Team to compete this weekend in Las Vegas

Colleen Riley

Colleen Riley

OXFORD, Miss. ­– Two students from the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy will participate in the annual American Society of Health-System Pharmacists Clinical Skills Competition, where student pharmacists demonstrate their ability to analyze and respond to clinical pharmacy scenarios.

Colleen Riley of Kansas City, Missouri, and Cody Taylor of Booneville, both in their fourth year of the school’s professional program, are set to compete Saturday (Dec. 3) at the ASHP Midyear Clinical Meeting in Las Vegas. They were chosen based on their performance in a local, similar competition hosted by the university’s student chapter of ASHP.

Both the local and national competitions require students to analyze a patient’s case and provide a comprehensive treatment plan using their knowledge of pharmacy. To prepare for the national competition, Riley and Taylor have studied the previous year’s competition topics and spoken with former competitors.

“First, you have to be able to prioritize the correct problem,” Taylor said. “You have to pick out what the patient’s most serious issue is.

“We have to quickly recall treatment options and guideline recommendations. Knowing drug classes and how to monitor these drugs, both therapeutically and toxicity, is also very important.”

Cody Taylor

Cody Taylor

Competitors are called on to demonstrate not only technical and scientific principles they learn in the classroom but also interpersonal and leadership skills that are required of pharmacists.

“The competition requires teamwork, efficiency, communication skills, problem-solving, time management and decisiveness,” Riley said. “We must work together to make decisions about ranking problems and treating them.”

The students “have done an excellent job at preparing for the competition,” said Joshua Fleming, clinical assistant professor of pharmacy practice and a co-adviser for the ASHP student chapter.

Riley and Taylor both hope to complete a Postgraduate Year One residency upon graduating. Taylor would like to continue into a PGY2 residency in critical care or infectious diseases, and Riley hopes to become a clinical pharmacist in a hospital.

“This competition will not only help me become a more competitive residency candidate but also improve upon the skills I will need to be a good resident and pharmacist,” Riley said.

UM Student Wins Independent Pharmacies Grant

Jasmine Turner honored for second straight year

Jasmine Turner. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

Jasmine Turner. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – Jasmine Turner, a fourth-year student in the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy, has received a $1,000 grant from the 2016 EPIC Pharmacies student grant program.

EPIC Pharmacies is a national group of independent pharmacies that annually provides grants to pharmacy students who plan to practice in independent pharmacy after graduation. This is the second year in a row Turner, a native of Tippo, has received this grant.

“I feel proud to be in the midst of such an amazing, supportive and selfless group of individuals who have aimed to build stronger patient relationships and deeper communities within independent pharmacies,” Turner said.

“This scholarship recognizes the hard work that I have put into pharmacy as well as myself. It also provides me with lifelong networking opportunities with other independent pharmacists.”

Turner was chosen for the grant based on her application that detailed her pharmacy-related employment, professional service activities and honors, as well as faculty recommendations and an essay about her career goals, which include practicing in an independent, rural community pharmacy.

“Jasmine exhibits many qualities that would allow her to excel in a community pharmacy setting, including excellent leadership and teamwork skills and extensive experience working with independent pharmacies in rural areas of Mississippi,” said David Gregory, associate dean for academic affairs, who recommended Turner for the grant.

“She is truly keen about her career choice, and she looks forward to serving the profession of pharmacy in a positive manner.”

Turner said her desire to work in rural community pharmacy stems from her connection to and care for the people of her small hometown of Tippo.

“Growing up in such a small place, I want to serve those who have played a role in making me who I am today,” Turner said. “My ultimate goal is to help my patients get healthy and stay healthy not only by being their pharmacist but also by being a friend, a mentor and a leader.”

UM Pharmacy Graduate Student Wins Drug Discovery Award

Work explores compounds that may help treat Alzheimer's, Parkinson's disease and depression

Vedanjali Gogineni works on her research in a UM School of Pharmacy laboratory. Submitted photo

Vedanjali Gogineni works on her research in a UM School of Pharmacy laboratory. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – Vedanjali Gogineni, a doctoral candidate in medicinal chemistry in the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy, has been awarded a 2016 Graduate Student Research Award in Drug Discovery and Development Interface from the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists.

AAPS gives four of these awards annually to recognize graduate students who significantly influence the research in their field. The award includes a $250 prize and travel expenses to the AAPS annual meeting.

Gogineni, a native of Andhra Pradesh, India, will be recognized at the AAPS annual meeting, set for Nov. 13-17 in Denver.

“This national recognition means a lot to my career,” Gogineni said. “Any recognition is valuable, especially as a graduate student. I hope this will create opportunities for the future, especially since it is so competitive.”

Gogineni’s award-winning research is an abstract titled “Phytochemical Investigation of Secondary Metabolites in Psychoactive Medicinal Plants for the Treatment of Neurological Disorders,” which explores compounds from medicinal plants that could be used to treat neurological disorders.

This work discovered a compound that could be used to treat Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and depression. Gogineni’s overall research aims to identify and purify new natural products, some of which have an affinity with opioid or cannabinoid receptors to treat pain without addiction.

Christopher McCurdy, interim chair of the Department of BioMolecular Sciences, and former department chair Steve Cutler both advised Gogineni’s research.

“It is a significant accomplishment to be recognized by the AAPS with a graduate student research award,” McCurdy said. “These awards are highly competitive, and such recognition speaks to the quality of Veda’s research. She is a deserving awardee and serves as a great ambassador of our graduate program.”

Gogineni, who also is a member of the university’s chapter of honors and service organization Gamma Beta Phi, hopes to find a postdoctoral position after her May 2017 graduation.

Pharmacy Professor Earns Health Care Hero Award

Daniel Riche noted for leadership in pharmacy, patient management fields

Daniel Riche

Daniel Riche

OXFORD, Miss. – Daniel M. Riche, an associate professor of pharmacy practice in the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy, has been honored with Mississippi Business Journal’s 2016 Health Care Heroes award, which recognizes contributions to health and well-being.

Riche was chosen as one of 33 winners from around the state after a patient of the UM Medical Center Cardiometabolic Clinic, where Riche is coordinator, nominated him for the award. Riche does not know the patient’s identity.

“It’s nice to be noticed for what you do in health care, and especially since this is from the Mississippi Business Journal, which isn’t a pharmacy-only area,” he said. “It’s a very intriguing recognition.

“Awardees range from M.D.s to the insurance commissioner of Mississippi. This enables us get pharmacy’s name out there, outside of our discipline.”

Honey East, an endocrinology physician and a colleague of Riche’s, submitted a letter of recommendation in support of his nomination.

“Dr. Riche has always provided leadership in his representation of the profession of pharmacy,” East said. “He is highly respected by several health care disciplines, from both patient management and education fields who rely upon his contributions in their daily clinical activities.

“To this day, when I need someone to discuss cases in my private endocrinology practice, I still call Dr. Riche for advice.”

Besides this recognition, Riche became certified as a lipid specialist earlier this fall. He is one of only 53 pharmacists nationwide who are certified in the specialty.

The qualifications needed to take the certification test are stringent and extensive, yet Riche had qualified for some time before becoming certified.

“I practice in ambulatory care and cardiometabolics, and we refer to ourselves as experts in a field,” Riche said. “Yet in order to be an expert, you have to point to something that differentiates you, and one of those things is certification. Before I could actually say that I’m an expert, I wanted to be lipid specialist.”

Riche is also an associate professor of medicine at UMMC and research associate professor in both the university’s National Center for Natural Products Research and the Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Clinical Pharmacy Pioneer to Give UM Waller Lecture

John E. Murphy selected as distinguished lecturer for Nov. 4 event

John E. Murphy

John E. Murphy

OXFORD, Miss. – John E. Murphy, professor and associate dean for academic affairs at the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy, will deliver the 2016 Coy W. Waller Distinguished Lecture at the University of Mississippi.

The Nov. 4 lecture, “Pharmacy World Domination,” is set for 11 a.m. at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts. The School of Pharmacy and its Department of Pharmacy Practice are sponsoring this free event.

“The Department of Pharmacy Practice is very honored to have Dr. John Murphy as this year’s Coy W. Waller lecturer,” said Seena Haines, chair of pharmacy practice. “He has made significant contributions to our profession through numerous accomplishments related to his academic career, clinical practice advancement and service to the profession.”

Murphy is a former interim dean of the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy. He is also a professor of family and community medicine at the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Tucson and an honorary professor at the University of Otago School of Pharmacy in New Zealand.

He earned his bachelor’s and Pharm.D. degrees from the University of Florida and has published more than 200 papers, 100 abstracts and five editions of the journal Clinical Pharmacokinetics. He also is co-editor of the Pharmacotherapy Self-Assessment Program.

Murphy has also served as president of the American College of Clinical Pharmacy, American Society of Health-System Pharmacists and Georgia Society of Hospital Pharmacists. Among his numerous professional and teaching recognitions are the Award for Sustained Contributions to the Literature of Pharmacy Practice from the ASHP Research and Education Foundation, the ASHP Whitney award, the ACCP Education Award and the Robert K. Chalmers Distinguished Teaching Award from the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy.

The Coy W. Waller Distinguished Lecture series was established in 2004 to recognize the former director of the Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences’ contributions to the field of pharmaceutics and the pharmacy school. Each year, a department within the school hosts the lecture, and lecturers are selected for their contributions to the host department’s discipline.

UM Pharmacy Researchers Launch Diabetes Self-Management Project

Effort supported by $214,000 grant from independent research institute

UM School of Pharmacy researchers Meagen Rosenthal (left) and Erin Holmes meet with a diabetes patient as part of their PCORI-funded diabetes study. Photo by Sydney Slotkin DuPriest

UM School of Pharmacy researchers Meagen Rosenthal (left) and Erin Holmes meet with a diabetes patient as part of their PCORI-funded diabetes study. Photo by Sydney Slotkin DuPriest

OXFORD, Miss. ­– Researchers from the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy invite diabetes patients from three north Mississippi communities to meet with physicians, pharmacists, nurses and others in a nonclinical environment to talk about where they struggle with diabetes self-management.

The effort to help patients self-manage their health is funded by a Eugene Washington Engagement Award of $214,084 from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute.

The researchers are seeking people with diabetes from Oxford, Charleston and Saltillo to meet with medical professionals. Together, they will brainstorm patient-centered research questions aimed at improving strategies for diabetes self-management.

“Traditionally, people with diabetes have been the receivers of information about how they can better manage their condition,” said Meagen Rosenthal, UM assistant professor of pharmacy administration. “This project is designed to turn people with diabetes from receivers of information to the generators of information.

“We will ask people specifically about areas where they struggle with diabetes self-management and use that information to develop research projects that specifically target those concerns.”

The project, titled “PaRTICIpate in Diabetes Self-Management Research Collaborative: A Conference Series,” will build on research that shows improvement in the health of diabetes patients when they are able to self-manage their treatment. (The “PaRTICI” in “PaRTICIpate” stands for “Patient Centered Research to Improve Community Involvement.”)

Rosenthal is leading the project, along with Erin Holmes, associate professor of pharmacy administration, and Donna West-Strum, chair of the Department of Pharmacy Administration.

The initial meetings are set for 6-8 p.m. Oct. 27 at the Stone Center in Oxford, 1-3 p.m. Nov. 1 at Saltillo Pharmacy and Solutions in Saltillo and 6-8 p.m. Nov. 3 at the James C. Kennedy Wellness Center in Charleston. Food and gift cards will be provided free for participants.

Mississippi has the second-highest rate of adults with type 2 diabetes in the nation. This prevalence is a major concern for pharmacists and one of the reasons for the study.

“Through these discussions, we hope to develop new research projects that matter to patients,” Rosenthal said. “These projects will develop evidence that is meaningful to people with diabetes, making the research more likely to be adopted and used to improve their health.”

The project is one in a portfolio of projects approved for PCORI funding to help develop a skilled community of patients and other stakeholders from across the entire health care enterprise and to involve them meaningfully in every aspect of the institute’s work.

“This project was selected for Engagement Award funding not only for its commitment to engaging patients and other stakeholders, but also for its potential to increase the usefulness and trustworthiness of the information we produce and facilitate its dissemination and uptake,” said Jean Slutsky, PCORI’s chief engagement and dissemination officer.

“We look forward to following the project’s progress and working with the UM School of Pharmacy to share the results.”

The UM School of Pharmacy project and the other projects approved for funding by the PCORI Engagement Award program were selected through a competitive review process in which applications were assessed for their ability to meet the institute’s engagement goals and program criteria.

PCORI is an independent, nonprofit organization that funds comparative effectiveness research that will provide patients, caregivers and clinicians with evidence needed to make better-informed health care decisions.

For more information or to RSVP for the initial discussion sessions, contact Rosenthal at 662-915-2475.

Faculty and Friends Remember Ron Borne as ‘Quintessential Educator’

Memorial service set for 3 p.m. Sunday at Paris-Yates Chapel

Ronald F. Borne

Ronald F. Borne

OXFORD, Miss. – University of Mississippi faculty, staff and alumni are remembering Ronald F. Borne, 77, beloved professor emeritus of medicinal chemistry, who died Tuesday (Oct. 18). He was known as a friend to all and a constant source of encouragement to his students.

A memorial service is scheduled for 3 p.m. Sunday (Oct. 23) at Paris-Yates Chapel on the UM campus. The family will receive friends in the chapel from 1 p.m. until service time. A private inurnment will follow at Oxford Memorial Cemetery.

Borne joined the School of Pharmacy faculty in 1968 and retired nearly 40 years later in 2004. He won the universitywide Outstanding Teaching Award in 1970 and the School of Pharmacy’s Outstanding Teaching Award six times from 1982 to1998. He served as chair of the Department of Medicinal Chemistry and as the university’s interim vice chancellor for research from 1998 to 2001, yet he always returned to teaching.

After retiring, he came back to the School of Pharmacy to help teach as needed, even keeping an office in the school until the time of his passing.

He won the Mississippi Professor of the Year Award from the national Council for the Advancement and Support of Education in 1992.

“I have to walk across the Grove to teach, and when I go in there, there are 115 students who are motivated and want to spend the rest of their lives helping somebody,” Borne said. “They’re bright, they’re intelligent, they’re curious. I get to interact with them for an hour, and the amazing thing is, they pay me to do this. Think of how many people would like to have this situation.”

Borne’s son, Michael Borne, remembers clearly his father’s utmost dedication to teaching and to the university.

“He loved Ole Miss,” he said. “Aside from his family, the thing I think he was most proud of was when he won the schoolwide teaching award. He got most of his validation from teaching. He always loved being a teacher.”

John Rimoldi, professor of medicinal chemistry, was mentored by Borne and remembers him as a champion of students who went out of his way to make people feel special.

“Talk about a complete faculty member. He was it,” Rimoldi said. “He was everywhere. He seemed to know everyone, past and present. It was just amazing.

“He always took the time to get to know you, and he never missed an opportunity to be generous in his compliments and encouragement. He was the quintessential educator.”

Besides his tremendous impact on students and faculty, Borne contributed to the university’s research mission. His own research focused on the effects of drugs on the central nervous system, and he conceptualized and established the Laboratory for Applied Drug Design and Synthesis. During his time as interim vice chancellor for research, he significantly increased the university’s external funding.

“I really have to think that he was instrumental in moving us towards gaining the Carnegie (R-1) research designation,” said Chris McCurdy, interim chair of the Department of BioMolecular Sciences. “He was a tremendous ambassador for not just the School of Pharmacy, but for the university and for the state of Mississippi’s pharmacy profession.”

Borne won the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy’s Robert K. Chalmers Distinguished Pharmacy Educator Award in 1996. When he won the Rho Chi Lecture Award from the American Pharmaceutical Association in 1994, he made the university one of only two schools nationally to have three recipients of the award.

He helped to found the annual medicinal chemistry and pharmacognosy meeting known as MALTO (Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas and Oklahoma). In 1988, he won a National Service Award from the National Institutes of Health, allowing him to be a visiting professor of pharmacology at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.

Since golf was his foremost hobby, Borne made the most of his time in Scotland. He also initiated a golf tournament at the School of Pharmacy, and the Mississippi Pharmacists Association named its annual golf tournament after him.

An avid fan of Ole Miss athletics, Borne served as a faculty representative on the university’s Athletics Committee in 1978-84. He helped found the Ernie LaBarge Bullpen Club and attended every Ole Miss baseball game for many years, keeping his own scorebook.

As a younger faculty member, Borne played on basketball, baseball and football teams within the School of Pharmacy, along with Dewey Garner, professor emeritus of pharmacy administration.

“For about 10 years, we had a softball team, a football team and a basketball team, and we all played together up until we were older,” Garner said. “We had a really strong team. One year we played on a slow-break basketball team sponsored by McDonald’s, and we had matching yellow uniforms.”

Borne once explained his philosophy of teaching in a university article: “A coach teaches his players the techniques and the fundamentals and then motivates them to succeed. That’s basically what good teaching is. You provide your students with the basic skills and concepts and then you motivate them to do their best. I don’t care if they can name every tree in the forest, but I want them to understand the beauty of the relationship between chemistry and the pharmacological sciences.”

Such turns of phrase made Borne an exceptional writer. He authored many professional articles, as well as “Troutmouth: The Two Careers of Hugh Clegg,” a book about the namesake of Clegg Field at University-Oxford Airport. His writing style produced profound observations told in clear, steady prose that revealed an appreciation for recording special moments and turning them into memories.

In 2005, one year after his retirement, the School of Pharmacy honored his living legacy with an annual lectureship in his name, featuring speakers from the field of medicinal chemistry. David D. Allen, the school’s dean and a longtime friend, remembered Borne as a frequent attendee at school lectures.

“Dr. Borne had an immensely positive influence on not only the School of Pharmacy but also the entire university,” Allen said. “This lecture was the perfect way for the School of Pharmacy and the Department of Medicinal Chemistry to recognize all he had done.”

Borne received his undergraduate degree in chemistry from Loyola University, his master’s degree in organic chemistry from Tulane University and his doctorate in medicinal chemistry from the University of Kansas. He also was a fan of the Kansas Jayhawks.

Along with his parents, he was preceded in death by his sister, Carolyn Hartdegen. He is survived by his cherished companion, Deborah Freeland of Oxford, daughter Debra Price and her husband, Greg, of Jackson, son Michael Borne and his wife, Ashley, of Jackson, daughter MerriBeth Catalano and her husband, James, of St. Charles, Missouri, two brothers and nine grandchildren.

Memorial contributions in Borne’s memory can be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105.

For more information or to sign an online guestbook, visit http://www.wallerfuneralhome.com or call 662-234-7971.

UM Pharmacy Professor Honored for Service

Stuart Haines receives award from the American College of Clinical Pharmacy

Stuart Haines

Stuart Haines

OXFORD, Miss. – Stuart Haines, director of the Division of Pharmacy Professional Development and professor of pharmacy practice in the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy, is being honored with the Robert M. Elenbaas Service Award from the American College of Clinical Pharmacy.

The award, named for the founding executive director of ACCP, is given to someone who has devoted exceptional time and energy to the organization, which works to advance clinical pharmacy. Haines was president of ACCP in 2006-07 and has served continuously in some capacity over the past two decades.

“It’s truly an honor to be recognized by ACCP,” Haines said. “I’ve long admired Dr. Elenbaas. Not only was he an extraordinary practitioner and educator, but he was truly committed to advancing pharmacy as a clinical discipline. To receive an award named after him means a great deal to me.”

Besides his work at the university and with ACCP, Haines is editor-in-chief of iForumRX.org, an online journal for ambulatory care pharmacy specialists, as well as a scientific editor for the journal Pharmacotherapy and for the textbook “Pharmacotherapy: A Pathophysiologic Approach.”

“Stuart is an incredible example of the power of professional service,” said David D. Allen, dean of the School of Pharmacy. “His dedication is not only an asset to the profession, but it demonstrates the value of service for our student pharmacists as well.”

Haines’ other accolades include an education award from ACCP, teaching awards from the University of Maryland and the University of Texas, and recognition as a fellow and distinguished practitioner of the National Academies of Practice.

“At this point in my career, I hope that I can help talented student pharmacists become engaged in professional associations.” Haines said. “I’ve witnessed what we can accomplish collectively through professional association work.”

Haines will be recognized at the ACCP annual meeting Oct. 23 in Hollywood, Florida.

Author Returns to Oxford for School Reunion, Book Signing

Robert Magarian learned to think like a detective for his latest thriller

UM alumnus and author Robert Magarian will sign copies of his latest book, 'You'll Never See Me Again, A Crime to Remember,' at 7 p.m. Saturday (Oct. 8) at the Summit Lodge Bar in Oxford.

UM alumnus and author Robert Magarian will sign copies of his latest book, ‘You’ll Never See Me Again, A Crime to Remember,’ at 7 p.m. Saturday (Oct. 8) at the Summit Lodge Bar in Oxford.

OXFORD, Miss. – An alumnus of the University of Mississippi pharmacy school who has built a flourishing career as a crime novelist will sign copies of his latest thriller Saturday evening (Oct 8) in Oxford.

Robert Magarian will sign copies of “You’ll Never See Me Again, A Crime to Remember” at 7 p.m. at the Summit Lodge Bar (formerly the Burgundy Room) on the Oxford Square.

The author will be in town for the 50th reunion of School of Pharmacy graduate students from 1960 to 1969. He earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from UM in 1956, a bachelor’s in pharmacy in 1960 and his doctorate in 1966.

“You’ll Never See Me Again” is Magarian’s third biological crime thriller, and he is working on a fourth. His latest book pulls from his background in medicinal chemistry to tell the story of a seemingly unsolvable forensics investigation.

Magarian spoke with Sydney Slotkin DuPriest, communications specialist for the UM School of Pharmacy, about the book and his career.

youll-never-see-me-again-book-coverQ: Tell us about your journey from the Ole Miss School of Pharmacy to writing novels.

A: There is a huge gap from the time I graduated from the School of Pharmacy in January 1960 to when I became a writer in 1995. In the interim, I worked in a pharmacy for 18 months and returned to Ole Miss to graduate school in medicinal chemistry under Dr. Lewis Nobles in fall of 1961. I received my Ph.D. in July 1966.

Then so much happened: postdoc at Kansas University, teaching at St. Louis College of Pharmacy and finally joining the faculty at the University of Oklahoma College of Pharmacy in 1970.

I didn’t start writing until 1995. Ideas started to come to me. At first, I didn’t know what to do with them. I realized I wanted to write a story, but I didn’t know how to begin. I took courses in fiction writing and attended conferences and joined a writers group; I wrote and I wrote.

I started out writing what I felt comfortable with: medical thrillers for my first two novels, “The Watchman” and “72 Hours.” With 30 years of laboratory experience and being involved in breast cancer research, I pulled from my background to write those first two. I must say that in attempting to write my first novel, I must have written what amounted to three novels until I got “The Watchman” the way I wanted it. This was due to a lack of experience. The more I wrote, the better I felt and, hopefully, the better I became.

Some pundits say you have to write a million words before you become comfortable writing. I believe that to be true, at least for me.

Q: What drew you to write mystery thrillers?

A: I always loved reading mystery novels, particularly the mystery/thriller detective novels. After I finished my second novel, “72 Hours,” I wanted to change genre. I didn’t want to become another Robin Cook.

I felt it was time to write about things I didn’t know about. That way, I could research new areas. I get my ideas from magazines, newspapers, the TV, overhearing conversations in restaurants and the internet. I was inspired to write “You’ll Never See Me Again, A Crime to Remember” based on the evidence of a true crime story that happened in Atlanta.

Q: Your books deal with molecular biology, microbes and cures for cancers. Can you talk about how your background in pharmacy influenced your writing?

A: I pulled from everything I learned at Ole Miss. In my pre-med B.A. degree from Ole Miss in 1956, I took courses in biology, embryology, comparative anatomy and other biological courses besides my major in chemistry. In pharmacy, I had anatomy and physiology and all the important courses, which added to my repertoire of scientific courses. In graduate school, besides the additional courses in biology and chemistry, I increased my skills in the laboratory. My research project dealt with hormonal therapy, which is the reason I moved into the breast cancer area after joining the faculty at Oklahoma.

I pulled on this knowledge to write the first two novels. What I didn’t know, I researched. Even though authors write fiction, they still have to do research and try to be accurate when necessary. Because of my training, I enjoy doing research for my novels.

Q: Talk about “You’ll Never See Me Again, A Crime to Remember” and the experience of writing it.

A: I was inspired to write this novel while I surfed the internet, looking for ideas in the mystery/thriller genre. I came across the Mary Shotwell Little case reported in several articles in Atlanta Journal-Constitution as the “Missing Bride” case. Six weeks after Mary is married, she leaves work one evening and vanishes. She doesn’t show up for work the next morning, yet her car mysteriously appears in its parking spot at noon with items of women’s underwear neatly folded on the front seat and smears of blood on the steering wheel. This took place in 1965. It has been opened several times as a cold case, but she’s never been found.

Reading these articles about this pleasant-faced, warm-hearted, loyal, punctual and well-liked young brunette touched me so that I knew I had to write this story in a fictional way to keep her memory alive. While some events in the novel are similar to those reported in the Mary Shotwell Little case, I remind the reader that this is strictly a work of fiction and in no way am I suggesting the events in “You’ll Never See Me Again, A Crime to Remember” solve the “Missing Bride” case.

Writing this novel was a challenge, but an enjoyable one. I paged through the evidence in the case and began putting the evidence together and worked to solve the crime. I read James Frey’s book “How to Write a Damn Good Mystery” to get in the swing of things. One important thing I learned from his book is that the villain is the most important character in a mystery novel. I thought it was the detective.

Being a novice in this genre, I worked six months developing my characters and three months plotting this novel before I wrote one word. I learned one important lesson from James Patterson, who taught me to keep an eye on the story and not to worry about the sentence when plotting. It was refreshing to learn that he, too, spends three months plotting his novels.

I had to research forensics and sought the help of two detectives who became my guides in presenting step-by-step law enforcement that occurs when a major crime is committed. They taught me about handguns, police work and how detectives think and interact with each other, officers and witnesses. Thinking like a detective is something I had to work on.

Q: Your next novel will be a sequel to “You’ll Never See Me Again.” Where will you take these characters?

A: The setting is still Atlanta. The detectives, cowboy detective Noah McGraw and his partner, Holly Roark, are the best in the city, if not in the East. I am putting them through a severe test to challenge their investigative skills.

They’ll be matching wits with a forensic supervisor in the Atlanta Scientific Investigative Division lab who is a psychopathic killer. He’s in charge of receiving all collected evidence coming into the lab from Atlanta PD crime scenes, including his own, before he distributes the evidence to his staff for analysis. The odds are stacked against McGraw and Roark.

Q: How do you feel about coming back to Oxford for a book signing and your graduate school reunion?

A: I’m overjoyed about returning for my book signing and to see old friends from my graduate school days. Our time together will be very rewarding. I’m looking forward to it.

I feel honored to book sign in Oxford, with its history of great writers. I met William Faulkner once when walking the Square one evening.

I had a book signing at Square Books in 2006 for my first novel, “The Watchman.” I am pleased that Jim Bulian is allowing me to sign my third novel in his Summit Lodge. I visited there over a year ago when it was still the Burgundy Room.

I love Oxford and Ole Miss. Since I left in 1966, I’ve made a special effort to get back on campus about every two years. Oxford is our second home. Our family lived there for 10 years, and we have close friends in Oxford. Two of our children were born here. I’ve witnessed many changes in the town since I first got to know it in 1954. Love the place.

Pharmacy Professor Wins UM Faculty Achievement Award

John Bentley honored for teaching, contributions to school and dedication to profession

John Bentley

John Bentley

OXFORD, Miss. – John P. Bentley, professor of pharmacy administration, has been named the recipient of the 2016 University of Mississippi Faculty Achievement Award.

At the Aug. 26 fall faculty meeting, Provost Morris Stocks called Bentley one of the university’s finest.

“His pharmacy research helps the world understand the roles that pharmacists play in medication therapy and how the medication consumption experience affects patients,” Stocks said. “His biostatistics research and proficiency have a direct benefit to our students, faculty and research scientists here at the University of Mississippi.”

Selection for the award is based on achievement in teaching, research, service and involvement in the classroom.

Bentley came to UM in 1993 as a graduate student and teaching assistant in the School of Pharmacy, becoming an assistant professor in 1998. Since then, he has received multiple awards for his service, teaching and research.

“I could think of no more deserving person for this award than John Bentley,” said David D. Allen, UM pharmacy dean. “His contributions have had a tremendous impact on our school, from creating an engaging and supportive environment for students to consistently enhancing health and patient care with his research. I am incredibly thrilled to call him a co-worker and a friend.”

Although Bentley is primarily a pharmacy administration professor, he holds a joint appointment in the School of Business Administration. He is actively involved in multiple university and pharmacy school committees.

Bentley has a passion for advising graduate students, which earned him the Excellence in Graduate Teaching and Mentoring Award from the university’s Graduate School in 2014. He has served on more than 100 thesis and dissertation committees, and routinely serves on committees outside his department.

“He has been a mentor who has helped me find my passions and be my own independent researcher,” said pharmacy doctoral candidate Sujith Ramachandran. “Several times during these past few years, it felt like he understood me better than I did myself.”

In letters of recommendation, Bentley’s colleagues, both past and present, praised his aptitude for teaching, his contributions to the school and his dedication to the profession.

Many anecdotes focused on Bentley’s pursuance of a second doctorate in biostatistics from the University of Alabama at Birmingham while teaching full time at the University of Mississippi, a commitment that required commuting between Birmingham and Oxford, as well as occasionally living in a dorm room.

“Nothing defines one’s thirst for knowledge quite as much as what he or she is willing to give up to obtain it, and this stood out to me,” said John Young, associate professor in clinical psychology.

“I believe that John viewed this much like he views the process of science more generally, which was simply a logical step in a progression toward a goal. The difficulty of that step was irrelevant to him in the context of determining it needed to be taken.”

Ole Miss pharmacy students also detailed his dedication to their studies and educational experience. He is the faculty adviser for two pharmacy student organizations and serves as an adviser for one of the school’s Professional Development Advising Teams.

“In the classroom, Dr. Bentley is an engaging and effective teacher,” said Jesse Bowen, Pharmacy Student Body secretary. “He challenges students, but he always gives them the tools necessary to succeed.”

The Pharmacy Student Body honored Bentley with the Friend of the Student Award in both 2011 and 2014.

“From serving as the emcee at a philanthropic social event to assisting students with service projects to donating his time and food to make events successful, Dr. Bentley never disappoints,” pharmacy student Lauren Daigle said.

Dean David D. Allen (right) presents Bentley with the 2015 School of Pharmacy Faculty Service Award.

Dean David D. Allen (right) presents Bentley with the 2015 School of Pharmacy Faculty Service Award.

Since the Faculty Achievement Award was established in 1986, 10 of the 34 annual awardees have had full or joint appointments in the School of Pharmacy.

“So many outstanding individuals from across the university, including the School of Pharmacy, have received this award,” Bentley said. “It is truly an honor, and quite humbling, to be recognized in this way.”

Bentley credited the university, the School of Pharmacy and the Department of Pharmacy Administration for creating an atmosphere of commitment, passion and excellence that has inspired his own work.

“I am fortunate to work with truly outstanding students, collaborators and colleagues,” Bentley said. “These individuals are from my home department, the School of Pharmacy and also other departments across campus. They are intellectually curious, driven, creative, persistent, highly capable people with high integrity, leaders, and they also share with me a love of learning.

“I already receive so many intrinsic benefits from what I do, and to be recognized for work that one really enjoys doing is quite meaningful and very special.”