FDA Expert in Product Quality to Give Waller Lecture

Mansoor A. Khan selected as distinguished lecturer for Feb. 12 event

 Mansoor A. Khan

Mansoor A. Khan

OXFORD, Miss. – Mansoor A. Khan, professor and vice dean at the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Pharmacy, is slated to deliver the 2016 Coy W. Waller Distinguished Lecture at the University of Mississippi.

The Feb. 12 lecture, “Pharmaceutical Product Performance after Approvals – Need for Clinical Observations and Connection,” will be presented at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts at 11 a.m.

The School of Pharmacy and its Department of Pharmaceutics and Drug Delivery are sponsoring the free event.

Khan serves as director of the Formulations and Drug Delivery Core Laboratory at Texas A&M’s College of Pharmacy. In addition, he has served the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as director of the Division of Product Quality Research Programs for more than a decade.

A registered pharmacist, Khan earned a Ph.D. in industrial pharmacy from St. John’s University. He has published more than 275 peer-reviewed manuscripts, five texts and 25 book chapters; given 200 poster presentations; and has been invited to present at more than 200 conferences and meetings worldwide.

Khan has also served in leadership positions for the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists and has received numerous achievement awards, including the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research 2015 Outstanding Abbreviated New Drug Application Reviews Award.

The Coy W. Waller Distinguished Lecture series was established in 2004 to recognize the former Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences director’s contributions to the field of pharmaceutics and to 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.

Michael A. Repka, chair of pharmaceutics and drug delivery and director of the Pii Center for Pharmaceutical Technology, is looking forward to Khan’s presentation.

“We are thrilled to host Dr. Khan as our 2016 Coy W. Waller Distinguished Lecturer,” Repka said. “He is extremely well-known in his field, and I am excited to hear more about his work during his lecture.”

UM Recognized Among Country’s Elite Research Universities

Carnegie Classification recognizes R&D investment, doctoral degrees granted and faculty achievement

Caleb Ezell (left) and Eleanor Anthony, both students in the UM Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, work with English professor Gregory Heyworth to examine a 15th century Italian manuscript for Oberlin College. The work is part of the Lazarus Project, which uses multispectral imaging technology to analyze old and/or damaged documents and recover faded or erased text. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

Caleb Ezell (left) and Eleanor Anthony, both students in the UM Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, work with English professor Gregory Heyworth to examine a 15th century Italian manuscript for Oberlin College. The work is part of the Lazarus Project, which uses multispectral imaging technology to analyze old and/or damaged documents and recover faded or erased text. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi is included in the elite group of R-1: Doctoral Universities – Highest Research Activity by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, the definitive list for the top doctoral research universities in the United States.

UM is among a distinguished group of 115 institutions including Harvard, MIT and Johns Hopkins in the “highest research,” or R-1 category. This group represents the top 2.5 percent of institutions of higher education.

The Carnegie Classification analyzes Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, or IPEDS, data from all U.S. post-secondary institutions and evaluates measures of research activity for doctoral universities in making its assessments, which are released every five years.

“As a flagship university, the University of Mississippi is determined to play a key role in the cycle of research and discovery that drives and sustains our community and world,” Chancellor Jeffrey S. Vitter said. “This ranking was achieved thanks to our outstanding faculty and their dedication to research and education.”

The Carnegie Classification’s assignment to categories of highest, higher and moderate research activity is based on research and development expenditures, science and engineering research staff including post-doctoral candidates and non-faculty staff members with doctorates, and doctoral conferrals in humanities and social sciences fields, in STEM fields and in other areas such as business, education, public policy and social work.

Dr. Wael ElShamy, director of the UMMC Cancer Institute’s Molecular Cancer Therapeutics Program, has received a patent on a method to diagnose and treat several cancer types and subtypes. The method may lead to the first targeted therapy for triple negative breast cancer and add to therapies for other cancers.

Dr. Wael ElShamy, director of the UMMC Cancer Institute’s Molecular Cancer Therapeutics Program, has received a patent on a method to diagnose and treat several cancer types and subtypes. The method may lead to the first targeted therapy for triple negative breast cancer and add to therapies for other cancers.

Alice Clark, UM vice chancellor for research and sponsored programs, applauded the university’s new classification and affirmed the vital economic role that a world-class research institution plays in the state and region.

“Attaining the Carnegie ‘highest research activity’ classification is historic for our university,” Clark said. “It illustrates the value we place on scholarly inquiry and the application of our expertise to understanding and improving our world and educating future leaders. Our faculty, staff and students deserve this recognition of their efforts to create and innovate.”

Dr. LouAnn Woodward, vice chancellor for health affairs and dean of the School of Medicine at the UM Medical Center, was elated at the Carnegie distinction.

“We are very pleased and proud to be a part of a university where research and scholarly activity are highly valued,” she said. “From internationally renowned basic science research in physiology to large population studies being conducted through the MIND Center and the Jackson Heart Study, UMMC is leading the way in research on the diseases that impact Mississippians most.”

The university received more than $117 million in sponsored awards, with more than $105 million in research and development expenditures, during fiscal year 2015. Of that total, more than $77 million was in federal grants, more than $16 million was from foundations, about $11 million came from the state of Mississippi, approximately $8 million was from industry and roughly $4 million came from other sources.

UM researchers submitted 876 proposals and 546 research projects were funded in the last fiscal year.

Among the university’s most prestigious and longstanding research projects is the Jackson Heart Study. UMMC researchers are collaborating with Tougaloo College and Jackson State University on the world’s largest long-term study of cardiovascular risk factors in African-Americans.

In 2013, the university joined the American Heart Association and Boston University for “Heart Studies v2.0,” which will expand upon the landmark Framingham and Jackson studies to improve the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular ailments.

The population study has followed the health of 5,000 participants, producing data that continues to yield insights into the underlying causes of cardiovascular disease. In 2013, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, and the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities, each a part of the National Institutes of Health, announced renewed funding for the JHS.

Other long-term prestigious projects are the marijuana research project conducted by the university’s National Center for Natural Products Research, jet noise reduction studies at the National Center for Physical Acoustics, known as NCPA, and the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory collaboration through the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

Faculty and postdoctoral researchers in the physics department played major roles in the search and discovery of the Higgs boson, the subatomic particle thought to be responsible for all mass in the universe. The discovery was announced July 2012 by scientists at CERN, a multinational research center headquartered in Geneva.

Most recently, two faculty members within the physics department and NCPA received a $3 million Department of Energy grant to study nuclear fuel storage safety and stability.

Three Ole Miss professors received Faculty Early Career Development Awards from the National Science Foundation within the past eight months. Patrick Curtis, assistant professor of biology, is the seventh CAREER award recipient at the university in the last eight years. Sarah Liljegren, associate professor of biology, received the award last November and Jared Delcamp, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry, earned a similar award in June 2015. This marks the first time three UM faculty members were selected in the same academic year.

From its first class of 80 students in 1848, UM has grown to a doctoral degree-granting university with 15 academic divisions and more than 23,800 students. Located on its main campus in Oxford are the College of Liberal Arts; the schools of Accountancy, Applied Sciences, Business Administration, Education, Engineering, Journalism and New Media, Pharmacy and Law; and the Graduate School. The Medical Center in Jackson trains professionals in its schools of Medicine, Nursing, Health Related Professions, Dentistry, Pharmacy and Graduate Studies.

In all, more than 100 programs of study offer superior academic experiences that provide each graduate with the background necessary for a lifetime of scholastic, social and professional growth. Strengthening and expanding the academic experience are the acclaimed Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, Croft Institute for International Studies and Lott Leadership Institute.

For more information about research at UM, visit http://research.olemiss.edu/.

Dean Calls on Pharmacists in 100 Towns

Visits part of planned effort to engage alumni at more than 250 sites

David D. Allen (left), Vicki Berch Johns, Troy Douglas, H.C. Rose, Kathy Rose and Mike Rose

UM pharmacy Dean David D. Allen (left), visits with Vicki Berch Johns, Troy Douglas, H.C. Rose, Kathy Rose and Mike Rose in Hazlehurst.

OXFORD, Miss. – Several pharmacists greeted David D. Allen, dean of the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy, as he walked into Rose’s Super Discount Drugs in Hazlehurst. The professionals reminisced about their days in pharmacy school and smiled for a photo.

“It was great to have the opportunity to reflect on our time in Oxford,” said Mike Rose (BSPh 76), who owns the drugstore with his wife, Kathy (BSPh 76). “We have a lot of Ole Miss ties in our family. I’m thankful to the dean for stopping by.”

While not unusual to see Allen in a small-town pharmacy, the visit coincided with a special occasion. Allen, who has been visiting practicing pharmacists across the state since he became dean in 2012, visited Hazlehurst, his 100th Mississippi town, on Nov. 18, a meaningful milestone for the Kentucky native.

“In the beginning, we didn’t really have a strategic vision for the visits,” Allen said. “I just knew that in order to better connect with our alumni base, I needed to get out of the building. Many of our alums aren’t able to come see us, so I go to them.

“The more I traveled, I began to realize how significant this is for the School of Pharmacy. It allows me to hear firsthand about opportunities and challenges that practicing pharmacists are facing. This, of course, is invaluable for us as educators of future pharmacy professionals.”

Allen spends at least one day per month visiting alumni and other practicing pharmacists. He either travels from his office in Oxford or from his office in Jackson at the UM Medical Center. He has visited a variety of practice sites, including hospitals, chains, independent pharmacies and closed-door pharmacies.

“All practice sites and pharmacists are fair game,” Allen said. “If we go to a town, we try to visit all the pharmacies in a certain area. And if we can’t, we’ll put it on our list to come back. If you are practicing pharmacy in the state of Mississippi, you are important to our school.”

Allen has enjoyed the opportunity to meet several generations of pharmacists with unique stories to share. In Hazlehurst, he spoke with H.C. Rose (BSPh 49) about his experience playing football for the Ole Miss Rebels. After driving across town to Allred’s Pharmacy, he learned about the history of the store from owner Jackie Thompson (BSPh 74).

On his first visit in January 2012, Allen traveled to Moss Point to introduce himself to Wendy I. McKinney (BSPh 86) and John A. McKinney (BSPh 86) at Burnham Drugs. Allen said he remembers their meeting “like it was yesterday.”

The McKinneys told him the story of their efforts to provide care and medications to Gulf Coast residents during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. They did whatever they could to help patients get their medications, even when it meant resorting to filling prescriptions in the mud with a flashlight.

“Their story was heartrending,” Allen said. “It almost brought me to tears. Without hesitation, the McKinneys stepped up and did what they had to do for the community after Katrina. This is just one example of pharmacists going above and beyond the call of duty.”

Another memorable visit was with Jerry Morgan (BSPh 72) at Okolona Discount Drugs.

“Jerry gave us a tour of his pharmacy and their gift shop,” Allen said. “Jerry loves Ole Miss and the School of Pharmacy. I remember that he told me about his mentor, John Dewey Ownings (BSPh 49). John left an impression on Jerry throughout his pharmacy career and passed away in 1997. Jerry showed great passion and emotion while telling me about him, and I’m honored that he shared this with me.”

So far, Allen has visited more than 250 practice sites – and has no plans to stop.

“This is all about reaching out to the pharmacists in our great state,” he said. “I’m privileged to meet them and offer any help we can provide. With some 1,100 pharmacies in Mississippi, I have my work cut out for me, but I can’t wait to see what the journey will bring.”

To inquire about scheduling a visit with Allen, contact Erin Garrett, communications specialist, at 662-915-1015 or enparson@olemiss.edu.

Horticulturist Applies Knowledge from Farm to Garden

Ed Lowe maintains plant collection to support drug-discovery efforts

Medicinal plant garden staff members Robert Cooper (left), Lal Jayaratna and Ed Lowe pose for a photo at the garden's 50th anniversary celebration. Lowe has worked at the garden for 12 years.

Medicinal plant garden staff members Robert Cooper (left), Lal Jayaratna and Ed Lowe pose for a photo at the garden’s 50th anniversary celebration. Lowe has worked at the garden for 12 years.

OXFORD, Miss. – As a senior research and development horticulturist for the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy’s Maynard W. Quimby Medicinal Plant Garden, Ed Lowe brings years of farming knowledge to the table.

“Growing up in the Mississippi Delta, I was able to learn a lot about farming and the fundamentals of how it all works,” Lowe said. “Dr. Charles Burandt (former research botanist for the National Center for Natural Products Research) hired me in 2003 to work at the medicinal plant garden based on my 10 years of farming experience as well as my studies in farm management.”

The medicinal plant garden maintains a plant collection that supports drug-discovery efforts with the School of Pharmacy’s Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences. The garden is a vital component of the NCNPR.

Lowe conducts a variety of tasks for the garden, but his first priority is maintaining the living plant collection. The medicinal plant garden has four greenhouses, each of which is maintained by Lowe, research and development botanist Lal Jayaratna and research technician Robert Cooper.

Managing the garden’s inventory is a large task in itself. The work is “very tedious and must be done correctly,” Lowe said.

“Each and every plant that enters the greenhouses is either started from seed or ordered from a nursery,” he said. “Each plant is entered into a laboratory notebook and assigned a number, genus, species, family and common name. A label is then made and put in each pot or next to each plant in the ground. This helps us keep up with the plant until it is harvested.”

Lowe also develops outdoor growing beds during the summer. The beds are where most of the garden’s samples are sourced; therefore, it is important to maintain them by daily watering, fertilizing and weeding, he said.

“Once a plant matures and flowers, we cut the flower, and the upper leaves are removed to create a voucher specimen,” he said. “This will be stored in our herbarium for future reference. The remainder of the plant can then be uprooted for harvest. The root, leaves, stem, bark and twigs are then separated for drying and grinding, then bottled for storage in our repository.”

It is undeniable that Lowe is dedicated to his work at the garden.

“The most rewarding thing about working for the medicinal plant garden is seeing the garden grow each year,” he said. “We receive several different plants from all over the world. It is an honor to be a part of an organization that is doing such important work.”

Lowe and his wife, Rebecca Owens Lowe, have been married for 19 years and have lived in Lafayette County since 1996.

West-Strum Honored for Commitment to Pharmacy Quality

Chair of pharmacy administration receives Duncan Neuhauser Award

Donna West-Strum

Donna West-Strum

OXFORD, Miss. – A University of Mississippi department chair and professor in the School of Pharmacy has been recognized for her efforts to improve pharmacy practice through medication safety and quality.

Donna West-Strum, pharmacy administration chair and professor, helped create the Educating Pharmacists in Quality program, which was selected as the 2015 Duncan Neuhauser Award winner by the Academy for Healthcare Improvement. The EPIQ program is used as a tool to improve the teaching of pharmacists, pharmacy students and other health care providers regarding measuring, reporting and improving pharmacy practice.

West-Strum created the novel training program in partnership with the Pharmacy Quality Alliance and several colleagues from across the nation.

“We are honored to receive this prestigious award,” West-Strum said. “It is nice to be recognized for our passion and dedication to improving pharmacy quality.”

West-Strum was presented the award alongside EPIQ co-authors Terri Warholak of the University of Arizona, Vibhuti Arya of St. John’s University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Ana Hincapie of the University of Cincinnati and David Holdford of Virginia Commonwealth University at AHI’s annual meeting Oct. 29.

“This award solidifies Dr. West-Strum’s reputation as a national expert in the area of quality and medication safety,” said John Bentley, professor of pharmacy administration. “It is a significant acknowledgment of her efforts on a national scale.”

The five modules in EPIQ and 26 online sessions serve as a resource for professional development and continuing education. The program has been downloaded more than 63,000 times since its launch in August 2014.

“My colleagues and I are grateful for PQA’s support and the adoption of this educational tool by so many faculty across the country,” West-Strum said. “This tool provides access to important material for learning about pharmacy quality measurement and improvement. Hopefully, pharmacists and pharmacy students are being empowered to improve the quality of pharmacy care.”

Samuel Stolpe, PQA senior director of quality strategies and business development, applauds the team members for their efforts in developing EPIQ.

“We are extremely pleased that the Pharmacy Quality Alliance EPIQ program has been selected to receive this award,” Stolpe said in a recent press release about the award. “The EPIQ program is increasingly recognized by pharmacist practitioners and educators as a valuable tool that can be adapted for a variety of audiences.”

Professor’s Research Protects, Restores Marine Ecosystems

Slattery helps students understand 'critical' nature of environmental research


UM professor Marc Slattery

OXFORD, Miss. – Marc Slattery was trained as a marine biologist, so pharmacy may have been somewhat foreign when he was hired at the University of Mississippi. Two decades later, however, his efforts have made quite a splash at the School of Pharmacy.

The professor of pharmacognosy got his start at the school under the direction of associate dean emeritus Charles Hufford.

“I wasn’t a traditional pharmacist, but I came here and found collaborations I normally wouldn’t have and applications for my work that I would have never really considered,” Slattery said.

When Slattery is not teaching medical microbiology to undergraduates and chemical ecology to graduate students, he is working in the field; more specifically, the water.

Slattery’s enthusiasm for chemical ecology and natural products has taken him all over the world – from the Bahamas to Antarctica and many places in between. Through deep reef dives, he has studied the effects of climate change on sponges and hybrid soft corals and has worked to replenish their populations.

Slattery’s primary focus at the school is Environmental Toxicology Research Program. Some of his latest and most compelling work has been focused on Mississippi’s Gulf Coast.

With Hurricane Katrina’s 10th anniversary coming to a close, and the aftereffects of the 2010 BP oil spill revealed, Slattery has spent a lot of time using his environmental toxicology skills to collect data on coastal communities and plan for their future. While Katrina and the oil spill had different effects, they both changed the landscape of the coast’s reefs.

“It’s really interesting to look at Katrina versus the oil spill in terms of oysters,” Slattery said. “Even though Katrina was a huge disaster, it had an immediate impact. With Katrina, the population went down for a year and then came back. The oil spill impacts certainly appear to be much longer and more damaging.”

Slattery and his team have several proposals out for conservation and restoration of the coast’s oyster reefs. Slattery’s passion goes beyond his research. He said he has enjoyed giving back to the university community through teaching and outreach. To give his students as much field experience as possible, he heavily involves students in research projects.

“Giving back to my students, whether it’s teaching them, taking them to the field or providing scholarships, just makes sense for me,” Slattery said. “It’s important.”

Another aspect of Slattery’s teaching includes helping students understand the critical nature of their research and how it affects the community.

“Many places that we go into the field are somebody else’s backyard,” he said. “Many of them are not in the United States, and they are very poor. Helping my students to understand what these areas’ resources are and how to preserve them is important. I train my students to be ready for this as part of their job.”

His love for students, as well as his love for the School of Pharmacy, has driven Slattery to give back through donations to the school. He was inspired by one of his mentors and former environmental toxicology colleagues, William H. Benson, who recently had a scholarship endowed in his name.

“I wouldn’t be as successful as I am without the people in the Environmental Toxicology Research Program, my colleagues in the Department of BioMolecular Sciences, and even the administration has been really supportive of me and my research,” Slattery said. “They’ve allowed me to succeed. I don’t know that I could get that anywhere else. I’m incredibly grateful for all that the school has given me, and I feel very strongly about giving back. “

Pharmacy Alumnus Recognized for 30 Consecutive Years of Giving

Francis Cerniglia has provided scholarships for dedicated students

Francis Cerniglia

Francis Cerniglia

OXFORD, Miss. – Supporting the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy is second nature to Francis Cerniglia of Cordova, Tennessee. It is so second nature, in fact, that he didn’t realize he had been giving to the school every year for three decades.

“It doesn’t seem like it’s been that long,” said Cerniglia, who earned his bachelor’s degree from the school in 1959. “I’m gratified to know that my money is doing good things for students.”

On a recent visit to his home in Cordova, pharmacy’s development director Raina McClure asked Cerniglia about his time at pharmacy school and what he remembers most about his early career.

“One of my favorite memories of pharmacy school is going on a trip to the Eli Lilly laboratory,” Cerniglia said. “I remember Dean Hammond well, and other faculty members.”

A Greenwood native, Cerniglia’s first experience in pharmacy was during a summer internship at Chaney’s Pharmacy in his hometown. Earnings were quite different back then – Cerniglia made $50 a week in his early days at the store and said he was very satisfied with it.

“That was a new experience for me as I hadn’t had much experience filling prescriptions yet,” he said. “I had to quickly apply what I learned in the classroom.”

After graduating from pharmacy school, Cerniglia went to work for Morgan’s Pharmacy in Yazoo City. It was an “old-timey” pharmacy where the “smell of medicine would knock you out,” he said.

In time, Cerniglia landed a position with Walgreens in the Vicksburg area. Although it was a different experience, Cerniglia realized that working for a chain pharmacy suited him well. He worked there for eight years before it was time to relocate.

“I could have gone to New Orleans,” he said. “Though I love it there, I decided to work in Memphis.”

Cerniglia worked for Walgreens in Memphis for 32 years. He retired in 1992. He has spent much of his retirement attending Ole Miss football games and being active in the Rebel Club of Memphis.

The most rewarding part of giving back is hearing from the students themselves, Cerniglia said.

“I really appreciated getting thank-you letters from the students who have received scholarships,” he said. “The ones who wrote to me are really doing great things.”

David D. Allen, the pharmacy school’s dean, is thankful for Cerniglia’s support.

“When visiting with Mr. Cerniglia, you can see that he has a great love for all things Ole Miss, especially the School of Pharmacy,” Allen said. “I know I speak on behalf of everyone at the school when I say that we are extremely thankful and humbled by his support over the years.”

McClure said that consecutive gifts are critical to the development mission of the school.

“It is heartwarming to see alumni like Mr. Cerniglia that have had a successful pharmacy career give back over their lifetime to their alma mater,” she said. “It is my hope that other pharmacy alumni will follow Mr. Cerniglia’s example of loyal giving.”

For more information about supporting the UM School of Pharmacy, contact McClure at rmcclure@olemiss.edu.

Hapten Sciences to Begin Clinical Trials for Poison Ivy Vaccine

Compound based on UM, ElSohly Laboratories research could prevent itchy rash from forming

Poison ivy

Poison ivy

MEMPHIS, Tenn. and OXFORD, Miss. – Hapten Sciences Inc., a privately held biotechnology company, will soon conduct a Phase I clinical trial of its lead product candidate, a compound based on research conducted at the University of Mississippi and ElSohly Laboratories that could prevent contact dermatitis due to exposure to poison ivy, oak and sumac.

The company obtained a worldwide, exclusive license for the technology from UM, submitted an Investigational New Drug application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and is able to initiate dosing of the compound, PDC-APB, in healthy volunteers.

“Since company inception, Hapten Sciences has pursued an aggressive and efficient development timeline,” said Raymond J. Hage Jr., Hapten Sciences chief executive officer. “We are enthusiastic that we are able to begin clinical development of a first-in-class compound that can potentially prevent contact dermatitis, associated medical treatments and lost time at work.”

Mahmoud ElSohly, research professor in the UM School of Pharmacy‘s Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences and professor of pharmaceutics, Khalid Ashfaq, principal research scientist II at the School of Pharmacy, and Waseem Gul, associate director of research at ElSohly Laboratories, initially developed the technology and provided support during preclinical development.

“This is a very exciting development in the potential prevention of a very serious allergic reaction,” ElSohly said. “My colleagues and I are thrilled to be a part of this groundbreaking clinical trial.”

The trial will be a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of single ascending doses and is intended to determine the safety and tolerability of PDC-APB. Hapten Sciences is also planning a multiple ascending dose study in individuals who are sensitive to poison ivy. The studies are slated for 2016.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, allergic contact dermatitis is the single most common plant dermatitis in North America. Individuals at greatest risk for significant morbidity include those who face significant job related exposure (e.g., foresters, firefighters and farmers) and children who often become sensitized in early childhood.

“The studies will provide key data on safety and tolerability after one and multiple doses,” Hage said. “In addition, the company will collect information on biological activity in preventing contact dermatitis. We would like to thank Mahmoud ElSohly, his colleagues at UM and the ElSohly Laboratories team for their work.”

Hapten Sciences is a privately held biotechnology company based in Memphis, Tennessee, that is pioneering a unique approach to the prevention of contact dermatitis using a small-molecule vaccine known as a hapten. Hapten Sciences is also reviewing other applications related to this approach for other dermatology conditions. Hapten’s lead investor is MB Venture Partners.

ElSohly Laboratories Inc. is a small business Mississippi corporation founded in 1985 and specializes in analytical and product development activities with 21 employees.

Vanderbilt Researcher to Deliver Borne Lecture

Nov. 2 talk by Lawrence Marnett to focus on mechanism of NSAID action



OXFORD, Miss. – Lawrence J. Marnett, a cancer researcher and administrator at Vanderbilt University, is set to deliver the 11th annual Ronald F. Borne Distinguished Lecture, coming up Nov. 2 at the University of Mississippi.

Marnett is director of the A.B. Hancock Jr. Memorial Laboratory for Cancer Research, senior associate dean for biomedical sciences, associate vice chancellor for research, professor of cancer research and professor of biochemistry, chemistry and pharmacology at Vanderbilt.

Hosted by the Department of BioMolecular Sciences in the university’s School of Pharmacy, the lecture is free and open to the public. It is slated for 11:30 a.m. in Room 1044 of the Thad Cochran Research Center. Marnett plans to discuss “Endocannabinoids Provide Critical Insights into the Action of Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs on Cyclooxygenase 2.”

“My lecture will focus on the mechanism of action of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs,” Marnett said. “These are the oldest and most-used drugs in the world. I hope the audience will come away with an understanding of the molecular mechanism of NSAID action and an appreciation for how much new there is to learn even about systems that we think we understand pretty well.”

Stephen J. Cutler, chair of the Department of BioMolecular Sciences, said he is looking forward to the lecture.

“Dr. Marnett is an exceedingly accomplished scientist and we are excited that he will be this year’s Ronald F. Borne Distinguished Lecturer,” Cutler said.

Marnett received a Ph.D. in chemistry from Duke University and completed postdoctoral work at the Karolinska Institute and Wayne State University. He began his academic career at Wayne State University and moved to Vanderbilt in 1989, serving as associate director of basic research for the Vanderbilt Ingram Cancer Center from 1993 to 2002.

The author of more than 500 research publications and 14 patents, Marnett’s research program focuses on the mechanism of action of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, known as NSAIDs, and the role of chronic inflammation in cancer. Marnett has been the recipient of an American Cancer Society Faculty Research Award, the Sigma Xi Research Award and a National Cancer Institute Outstanding Investigator Award, among other awards.

Marnett is looking forward to his return to Oxford.

“I have visited Ole Miss several times and have a number of friends who I am looking forward to seeing,” he said. “Also, my wife and I like Oxford very much and are excited to sample its charms once more.”

The lecture was established in 2004 as a way of recognizing Ronald F. Borne, a longtime medicinal chemistry professor, and his contributions to the department and the university. Borne was a classroom favorite of students for many years and has been recognized on numerous occasions for his teaching and research excellence. He received the university’s 1972 Elsie M. Hood Teacher of the Year Award and 1996 Faculty Achievement Award. He was also named by the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education as the Mississippi Professor of the Year in 1992.

Borne served as department chair from 1979 to 1988, acting associate vice chancellor for research and acting dean of the Graduate School in 1985-86, interim associate vice chancellor for research in 1997-98 and vice chancellor for research in 1998-2001. He retired from the university in 2004.

For more information on the lecture or for assistance related to a disability, contact Danielle Noonan at dnoonan@olemiss.edu or 662-915-7026.

More than Just Counting Pills

Pharmacists provide vital link in health care system

Marisa Pasquale

Marisa Pasquale

“Pharmacy school? Why would you want to count pills for the rest of your life?” my mother asked incredulously. This was her initial reaction to me saying I wanted to pursue a career in pharmacy.

You see, I was not the traditional type of student that changed majors multiple times before deciding on a career path. My path was decided for me my junior year of high school, when I visited a pharmacy for my school’s allied health program and shadowed a pharmacist. Some would call it luck, some would call it divine intervention – I would consider it a calling.

I am in my second year of pharmacy school at the University of Mississippi. Although the calling has not changed, I have learned more about the field of pharmacy and perceptions that the general population holds. Most of it is positive (pharmacists are among the most trusted professionals!), yet it is hard to shake negative stereotypes of pharmacy like my mother’s initial reaction to my career choice.

Here’s the thing about pharmacy: pharmacists have and continue to be an essential part of the health care team. We are, after all, the medication experts! Even in my second year, we are learning to assess patients’ symptoms, determine which treatments are appropriate and inappropriate for certain patient types, and monitor the medications that are selected – definitely much more than counting pills. By the end of my first year, I was able to calculate dosing for certain medications for patients with renal and liver problems, numbers that could mean life and death for patients. I have a comprehensive understanding of disease states and their causes, and I still have two more years left of school to learn even more!

As students, we are taught that medications are not to be taken lightly. Each has its own way of working, with intricate mechanisms and balances that coincide beautifully with specific physiological pathways that reflect years of research and testing. With this beauty, however, comes danger. As easily as beneficial pathways are activated, negative and toxic effects are quickly reached. Multiple medications compete for the same pathways in the body and can lead to harmful effects. Who is responsible for keeping this straight? You guessed it – pharmacists!

October is American Pharmacists Month, and I would like to ask you to take a minute the next time you are at the hospital, clinic or community pharmacy and remember that you aren’t just getting pills. You are receiving a medication that was researched, approved for and given specifically for you and your health.

There is a reason why pharmacists are among the most trusted professionals, and I believe that is rooted in the relationship between pharmacists and patients. Please do not hesitate to ask us questions; I can guarantee that your pharmacist would be happy to answer questions about how your medication works and address any concerns that you as a patient might have. Remember that we don’t go to school for seven years to just count pills – we are changing your life and your health!

Marisa Pasquale of Evans, Georgia, is a second-year professional student at the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy.