UM Pharmacy Faculty Elected as State Organization Officers

Ole Miss professors hold all four executive positions

The UM School of Pharmacy. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy is well-represented within the Mississippi College of Clinical Pharmacy, as four UM faculty members have been elected as officers of the state chapter of American College of Clinical Pharmacy.

Seena Haines, Katie Barber, Jamie Wagner and Melissa Reilly, all with faculty appointments in the school’s Department of Pharmacy Practice, will serve as MCCP officers during 2018.

Haines, chair of the pharmacy practice department, is the organization’s president. Barber, assistant professor, is president-elect, while Wagner and Reilly, both clinical assistant professors, were named treasurer and secretary, respectively.

“I hope to provide members of MCCP an association home where they can network with colleagues and draw upon similar interests to help advance clinical practice in our state,” Haines said. “Our programming efforts will target our students, residents and the diverse practice experiences of our members.”

In an effort to fulfill ACCP’s and MCCP’s joint mission of promoting patient care that optimizes medication therapy and promotes health, wellness and disease prevention, Haines hopes to provide MCCP members with timely and relevant content that can support their work with patients and diverse learners.

“It’s an exciting time to be leading this organization,” Haines said. “We will be examining the evolving health care needs of the citizens of Mississippi and direct patient-care opportunities through comprehensive, cost effective and high-quality care.”

“The School of Pharmacy is fortunate to benefit from the expertise of these committed faculty members, and I know they will serve MCCP well,” said David D. Allen, Ole Miss pharmacy dean. “They are improving health care in our state from a multifaceted and experienced point of view.”

Pharmacy Administration Professor Named APhA Fellow

Erin Holmes honored for service and accomplishments within profession

Erin Holmes

OXFORD, Miss. – Erin Holmes, associate professor of pharmacy administration at the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy, will be inducted as a fellow of the American Pharmacists Association at the organization’s annual meeting March 16-19 in Nashville, Tennessee.

“When I think of those who are current APhA fellows and those who are being inducted in my cohort, I am absolutely humbled,” Holmes said. “This is an incredible honor, and I am grateful to those who nominated and supported me.”

APhA is the largest association of pharmacists in the country and has a mission of “empower(ing) its members to improve medication use and advance patient care.” Fellows of the association must display a history of exemplary service and achievement in the pharmacy profession for at least 10 years.

Holmes first attended one of the association’s annual meetings as a student pharmacist in 2001. She later found mentors and served as an officer within the organization.

“I hope that being a fellow will provide an outlet for me to mentor pharmacy and graduate students to help them grow in their profession,” Holmes said. “Through APhA, I have learned the value of networking and collaborating with others, and I want to pass those values on to students as well. I am indebted to the mentors who helped shaped my career.”

John Bentley, chair of the Department of Pharmacy Administration and one of Holmes’ nominators for the award, called her record of professional service and caliber of research and teaching “simply outstanding.”

“Dr. Holmes provides countless hours of her time helping others, including assisting and advising student organizations and mentoring pharmacy students and graduate students,” Bentley said. “Her dedication to students and their welfare is indeed admirable.”

Another of Holmes’ nominations for the award, written by pharmacy administration professor Alicia Bouldin, spoke to Holmes’ “can-do” attitude that encourages those around her.

“Whatever is asked of her, she freely and cheerfully puts her back, heart and mind into accomplishing in good time and in excellent order,” Bouldin said.

Holmes has also won the School of Pharmacy’s Faculty Service Award and twice won its Distinguished Teaching Scholar award.

“This is a tremendous and very well-deserved honor for Erin,” said David D. Allen, Ole Miss pharmacy dean. “Her accomplishments in the school and the profession demonstrate a deep dedication to the well-being of students and patients.”

Former Pharmacy Chair Remembered for Integrity, Leadership

Frank Gilmore called 'the conscience of the school'

Frank Gilmore

OXFORD, Miss. – Frank Gilmore, former chair and professor emeritus in the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy’s Department of BioMolecular Sciences, died Feb. 14 after a lengthy battle with lymphoma.

A visitation for Gilmore is scheduled for 9:30-11 a.m. Saturday (Feb. 24) at Coleman Funeral Home of Oxford, where a celebration of his life will immediately follow.

Gilmore is remembered as a pragmatic and honest leader, known for his integrity and willingness to help others. He came to the School of Pharmacy as an assistant professor of pharmaceutical chemistry in 1967 and became the chair of the Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, later renamed to medicinal chemistry, only two years later. He served the department as chair from 1969 to 1979 and again in 1988-1993.

“I think what most distinguished my father was his honesty, his hard work and his generosity,” said Gilmore’s son, Paul. “He truly enjoyed his time at the School of Pharmacy. He was always ready to share any accomplishments with others and he truly put his students above all else.

“I think the impact he had was due to the pleasure he took in helping others, whether in the lab, helping with a building project or cutting firewood for someone. If anything, he was generous with his time and energy to a fault.”

Gilmore’s life began in the Lauderdale County community of Bailey, where he was born in 1935. His son credits his father’s upbringing in the Depression-era South with imparting in him a sense of determination and work ethic.

He graduated from Virginia Military Institute in 1957 and earned a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1961. Following his doctorate, he served in the U.S. Army, where he met and married his wife, Ann.

After finishing his military service as a captain, he completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Florida State University and worked at Midwest Research Institute in Kansas City before coming to the School of Pharmacy in 1967. During his time at the school, he won its Teacher of the Year award twice.

John Williamson, professor emeritus of medicinal chemistry and former colleague of Gilmore, remembers him as “the conscience of the school.”

“No one would disagree that he had the highest level of integrity of all of us,” Williamson said. “Frank was always the one to point out right from wrong, regardless of internal politics. I am blessed to have been his friend and to have seen what the man with the most integrity is actually like.”

As a scientist, he pioneered explorations in peptidomimetics – a term that Williamson credits Gilmore with coining – as that study was just beginning to emerge, and conducted research in phosphorus chemistry and immunology.

Gilmore went on to become vice president for academic affairs at West Virginia University Institute of Technology before finishing his career as chancellor of Montana Tech at the University of Montana from 1998 to 2011. After retirement, Gilmore and his wife remained part-time residents of Oxford, spending the rest of their time at their home in Montana.

“Dr. Gilmore was a remarkable mentor and colleague who had a great impact on our school and those lucky enough to know him,” said David D. Allen, dean of the School of Pharmacy. “He will be sincerely missed.”

He is survived by his wife, Ann; children Kristin Newman and Paul Gilmore; three grandchildren; and his loving, extended family. 

Natural Products Center Director Wins Lifetime Achievement Award

Ikhlas Khan honored for work to develop standards for dietary supplements

Ikhlas Khan

OXFORD, Miss. – Ikhlas Khan, director of the National Center for Natural Products Research at the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy, is the winner of AOAC International’s 2018 Harvey W. Wiley Award, which recognizes lifetime scientific achievement.

AOAC International develops global quality standards for microbiological and chemical materials, ranging from food to pharmaceuticals in an effort to ensure public health. Khan, who has been with the university since 1992 and directed the natural products center since 2017, has spent much of his career developing standards for dietary supplements.

“I’m very pleased to receive this award,” Khan said. “AOAC is the top organization for chemical standards, and I appreciate this recognition of my work in this area.”

As part of the honor, Khan will deliver the Wiley Award address and chair the Wiley Award Symposium at AOAC’s annual meeting in August in Toronto.

The Harvey W. Wiley Award has been given to one person a year since 1957, with past recipients including scientists from government, industry and academic institutions from around the world.

Pharmacy Faculty Create Podcast to Inspire Pharmacists

'PharmacyForward' features interviews with profession's leaders

Laurie Fleming (left), Josh Fleming and Stuart Haines record an installment of the ‘PharmacyForward’ podcast series the School of Pharmacy’s space at the UM Medical Center in Jackson. Photo courtesy Stuart Haines

OXFORD, Miss. – In the first few weeks of 2018, a small group of faculty from the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy launched “PharmacyForward,” a podcast featuring interviews with experts and leaders about pharmacy practice, patient care and health care delivery in every setting.

The podcast, which has a tagline of “Transforming Knowledge into Action,” is dedicated to engaging and motivating pharmacists. The school’s Division of Pharmacy Professional Development produces the episodes, which are geared toward veterans and newcomers in the field.

The idea emerged from a statewide focus group of pharmacists who were looking for new ways to address professional development needs and unique educational programming, said Stuart T. Haines, professor of pharmacy practice and the division’s director.

“What emerged was a need to cover topics on practice management, how to advance our practices and how to interact with people,” Haines said. “Pharmacists have a lot of knowledge about diseases, but they don’t always know how to put that knowledge into practice.

“We want to tap into the insights from the movers and shakers in pharmacy today. With a podcast, we can reach any pharmacist in the world who wants to listen.”

In its debut series, three “PharmacyForward” episodes focus on relationship-building in different settings. Featured guests have created advanced practices in different regions of the country and have held leadership positions in organizations such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists and American Pharmacists Association.

Featuring a variety of guests, one of the podcast’s main goals is to build a community of pharmacists that can work together and share their successes and struggles, said Josh Fleming, a clinical assistant professor of pharmacy practice. 

“Listeners can expect to gain knowledge about many crucial pharmacy topics that will help them move ideas from thoughts into practice,” Fleming said. “Our hope is that listeners will pick up on tools, tips and suggestions from other pharmacists on how to advance their practice, no matter what stage of their career they’re in.”

Faculty won’t be the only ones working on the podcast. Second-year ambulatory care pharmacy residents and student pharmacists are also part of “PharmacyForward.”

“I hope that students and residents alike will benefit from hearing about real-world experiences from a variety of pharmacists with different specializations,” said Laurie Fleming, clinical associate professor of pharmacy practice. “I believe that many of the topics will be helpful to them as they enter new practice settings, and I hope they’ll take the opportunity to discuss the podcasts with their preceptors.”

“PharmacyForward” sets its sights on giving listeners what they need to build advanced pharmacy practice areas, and Meagan Brown, clinical associate professor of pharmacy practice, sees the main goal in the podcast’s name.

“Our mission is to spread knowledge and ideas about people and places that are doing great work,” Brown said. “I hope listeners will be motivated to make improvements that continue to move the profession forward.”

Podcast episodes will be published once a month and are available at http://pharmacyfoward.podbean.com.

Community Health the Focus of 2018 Waller Lecture

Baltimore community advocate DeJuan Patterson joins lecturer Daniel Mullins for UM presentation

DeJuan Patterson

OXFORD, Miss. – C. Daniel Mullins, professor and chair of the Pharmaceutical Health Services Research Department at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, will deliver the 2018 Coy W. Waller Distinguished Lecture at the University of Mississippi.

The lecture, “Patient-Centered Discovery,” at 11 a.m. Friday (Feb. 9) at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts, will focus on ways in which scientific and medical knowledge are translated into workable health solutions for patients. The School of Pharmacy and its Department of Pharmacy Administration are hosting the event, which is free and open to the public.

Mullins is director of the PATIENTS Program at the University of Maryland pharmacy school, which works to turn scientific research discoveries into practical information for health care providers to pass on to patients.

“Part of the program’s goals is to learn and teach about community health care, as well as about the health care system,” Mullins said. “This requires that we listen to patients and stakeholders, such as community leaders, who can help co-develop research and translate it into meaningful health care practice.”

This need for community leaders led Mullins to DeJuan Patterson, a community advocate in Baltimore and executive director of community development consulting firm The BeMore Group. Patterson’s work with underserved and minority populations focuses on ensuring that organizations working with members of a community engage them in socially responsible ways.

Patterson will co-present with Mullins at the lecture.

“DeJuan is an advocate for helping people live safe, healthy and holistic lives,” Mullins said. “He also understands how to engage people across generational and digital divides.”

Patterson was “intrigued and interested” in helping the PATIENTS Program with its meaningful involvement of patients, caregivers, clinicians and other health care stakeholders throughout the research process.

“It’s important today, more than ever before, that people of color are actively involved in research and clinical trials,” Patterson said. “As the country grows more diverse, the issues that impact people of color are going to be paramount.”

Patterson’s role in the program is to help provide authentic community engagement and assessment, and to expand the program’s exposure. His experience has benefited the PATIENTS Program by changing the way the University of Maryland conducts research in communities, as well as the way communities perceive the university.

“I learned through my partnership with the PATIENTS Program that anyone involved in community-based work has to be involved in ensuring community cohesion,” Patterson said. “It’s imperative that community members understand and be a part of their own health care.”

C. Daniel Mullins

Another goal of the PATIENTS Program is to provide opportunities for students and pharmacy practitioners to be more involved in patient-centered research so they can actively contribute to an evolving body of knowledge Mullins said.

“Science alone doesn’t cure disease or improve quality of life,” he said. “We need to adopt and adapt evidence-based approaches to health care, which is best achieved with authentic patient and stakeholder engagement.”

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 School of Pharmacy. Each year, a department within the school hosts a lecturer selected for their contributions to the host department’s discipline.

“We are honored to have Daniel Mullins deliver the Waller Lecture,” said John Bentley, chair of the pharmacy administration department. “He’s made significant contributions to our discipline with his pharmacoeconomics research and work on understanding how to engage patients and other stakeholders in the research process.

“We’re also excited to have DeJuan Patterson join Dr. Mullins. Mr. Patterson’s commitment to his community is evident and his passion is inspiring.”

University Wins NSF Award for Electron Microscope

State-of-the-art instrument will be among the nation's most advanced

Members of several UM departments collaborated to secure a new field-emission scanning electron microscope that will benefit multiple disciplines. The team includes (from left) Vijayasankar Raman, Brenda Hutton-Prager, Soumyajit Majumdar, Jennifer Gifford and Kevin Lewellyn. UM photo by Sydney Slotkin DuPriest

OXFORD, Miss. – A collaborative effort by researchers from multiple schools and departments earned the University of Mississippi a $346,641 Major Research Instrumentation award from the National Science Foundation for the acquisition of a new field-emission scanning electron microscope.

The state-of-the-art microscope will enhance research capabilities for the School of Pharmacy, the School of Engineering and the College of Liberal Arts. Expected to arrive in October, the instrument will be housed in the School of Pharmacy, a convenient location for many of the departments involved.

“It was a great accomplishment by the whole group,” said Soumyajit Majumdar, principal investigator for the award, professor in the Department of Pharmaceutics and Drug Delivery and the School of Pharmacy’s associate dean for research and graduate programs. “Getting extramural funding is a challenge, and this is even more exciting because it is a universitywide achievement.

“The microscope is going to exponentially improve the capabilities and visibility of the university, and will positively impact the training and education of our graduate and undergraduate students.”

Scanning electron microscopes focus beams of electrons onto an object’s surface to create images with high magnification and resolution. The instruments can be used to assemble microchips, conduct genetic testing and test new medicines.

This will be the most advanced electron microscope at Ole Miss, replacing the existing device that has supported research programs over the past 17 years.

Vijayasankar Raman, a research scientist in the National Center for Natural Products Research, serves as a co-principal investigator for the grant along with Brenda Hutton-Prager, assistant professor of chemical engineering, Jennifer Gifford, assistant professor of geology and geological engineering, and Amala Dass, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry. Raman has overseen UM’s existing scanning electron microscope facility since 2011.

“This award will be a game changer in the research outcomes and publications from UM,” Raman said. “The acquisition of a modern SEM puts UM on par with top-notch universities in the U.S. and around the world.”

Traditional researchers won’t be the only ones to enjoy the microscope. With 10 UM departments involved in its proposal, at least 14 existing undergraduate and graduate courses will use the instrument, allowing more than 500 students to access the microscope for their own research purposes.

The university also plans to involve neighboring institutions, high school and community college students, and K-12 students and teachers through outreach programs.

Funds for the microscope are provided by grant number 1726880 from the National Science Foundation.

Alumnus Makes Forbes ‘30 Under 30’ List of Leaders

Sylvester Lee co-founder of revolutionary augmented reality technology

Sylvester ‘Sly’ Lee shares valuable insights about augmented reality technology. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – As technological advances continue to rapidly turn yesterday’s fiction into today’s facts, a University of Mississippi alumnus finds himself at the forefront of the burgeoning virtual and augmented reality revolution.

Sylvester “Sly” Lee, co-founder of Emerge Inc., an independent technology company in Los Angeles, recently made Forbes magazine’s annual “30 Under 30” list of rising entrepreneurs in manufacturing and industry.

The 28-year-old Oxford native and his two co-founders have invented a hardware and software device that enables users to feel virtual objects in augmented reality without the need for wearables, controllers or gloves. It uses a proprietary technology to create precise force fields mid-air, allowing users to feel shapes, volumes and even textures.

“The Forbes honor came as a huge surprise to me,” said Lee, who earned a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy in 2010 and a master’s degree in environmental toxicology in 2012, both from UM. “My co-founders, Isaac Castro of Spain and Mauricio Teran of Ecuador, and the rest of our team celebrate this recognition together.”

Lee’s career trajectory from pharmacist to marine scientist to serial entrepreneur began while at Ole Miss. He credits professors Marc Slattery and Deborah Gochfeld with inspiring critical thinking through his involvement in their underwater drug discovery research.

Slattery remembers Lee being an exceptional student who was interested in the bigger picture.

“It was immediately clear that research was his passion,” said Slattery, a professor of biomolecular sciences. “Sly came aboard as we started into our climate change research and comparative environmental physiology. He was a great help in lab and field work, and always happy to discuss recent papers and/or data.”

As part of their ongoing search for pharmaceutical compounds from the ocean, Lee went on a trip to the coral reefs of the Bahamas.

“My job was to scuba dive, study and use cutting-edge technologies to gain insights and knowledge into one of the least-understood ecosystems in the world,” he said. “That experience made a deep impression upon me and set me on my future career path.”

In the environmental toxicology graduate program, Lee’s excitement and enthusiasm were contagious, to the extent that his younger brother also came to do research in the lab as an undergraduate.

“Sly entirely immersed himself in his passion for the sea,” said Gochfeld, principal scientist in UM’s National Center for Natural Products Research. “He was a teaching assistant and through his passion for understanding and conserving the ocean, he served as a great role model for students and our lab in general.

“He was an important contributor to several of our NSF- and NOAA-funded research projects on climate change and marine diseases.”

Before co-founding his company, Lee was part of a 3-D mapping project at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, the first project in the world to combine photogrammetry, lidar – a system that uses laser pulses to measure distances – and sonar to produce a 3-D map of the U.S.S. Arizona, the famed battleship that sank during the Japanese attack that drew the United States into World War II.

Following his work in Hawaii, Lee traveled around the world expanding what he learned in that project to coral reef ecosystems. He eventually started The Hydrous, a nonprofit that pioneered a method to 3-D capture coral reefs in high resolution using photogrammetry. The group’s methods have been adopted by more than 20 academic institutions and more than 10 nongovernmental organizations around the world.

The Hydrous’ work has been featured in WIRED Magazine, TED and Fast Company. It is supported by Lenovo, the Smithsonian Institution and Google Expeditions. For more visit https://www.thehydro.us/.

In 2015 Lee attended Singularity University’s Global Solutions Program, which convenes a talented group of scientists, technologists, designers, entrepreneurs and others with potential to tackle global grand challenges.

Founded in 2008 in Silicon Valley, Singularity University is a California think tank that offers educational programs and a business incubator. Its stated aim is to “educate, inspire and empower leaders to apply exponential technologies to address humanity’s grand challenges.”

“That program profoundly changed me,” Lee said. “I learned five years’ worth of material in those 10 weeks. That’s also where I met my co-founders who shared my same passion for technology and creating the next level of human communication.”

Compiled by Forbes since 2011, “30 Under 30” is published annually to recognize creative and visionary business leaders across 20 different industries. In 2016, Patrick Woodyard, a 2010 UM graduate, was included on the prestigious list.

To view Lee’s profile in Forbes magazine, visit https://www.forbes.com/30-under-30/2018/.

Pharmacy Alumni Match Medications with Need at Dispensary of Hope

Work benefits thousands of needy patients nationally each year

Dispensary of Hope employees sort medicines at Integral Care Pharmacy. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy alumni Hillary Blackburn and Edward Woo know that everyone needs a little help now and then. That’s why they work with Dispensary of Hope to provide necessary medications to patients who may not be able otherwise to afford them.

Based in Nashville, Dispensary of Hope is a charitable medication distributor that connects supplies of unused medications to pharmacies and clinics serving low-income and uninsured patients across the nation. Blackburn and Woo both found their staff roles after volunteering with the company and are among the 24 team members working directly for Dispensary of Hope.

“Working in community pharmacy for nearly 10 years, I have seen many patients that were in need of medications due to chronic or acute medical conditions, but unable to afford them,” Woo said.

Woo, who earned his Pharm.D. in 2007, added that providing patients with necessary medications regardless of income is an ongoing concern.

“I wanted to help solve this issue by ensuring that the uninsured population had better access to medications,” Woo said. “Once I saw the unique way Dispensary of Hope met this population’s needs, I knew it was the place for me.”

Blackburn, a 2011 Pharm.D. graduate, shares Woo’s sentiments. Her time as an intern with the pharmacy department of the Health Resources and Services Administration in Washington, D.C., gave her insight into the importance of medication access for the uninsured.

Hillary Blackburn

“My visits to the clinics and hospitals that utilize Dispensary of Hope give me a glimpse into the lives of those positively affected by the service,” Blackburn said. “Seeing their faces and hearing their stories show me I chose the right profession because it allows me to serve others and to help make a difference.”

As director of Dispensary of Hope’s pharmaceutical services since November 2015, Blackburn provides expertise to clinical pharmacists and consults with pharmacy leaders across the nation about affordable medication access. She helps Dispensary of Hope partner with safety net clinics, charitable pharmacies and many of the nation’s health care systems.

The network continues to grow through word-of-mouth, conference attendance and email introductions. The distributor has more than 145 access sites across 28 states.

Woo leads the charge on data analytics for organizational operations as director of pharmaceutical operations. This role utilizes both Woo’s pharmacy degree and his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering, also from Ole Miss.

“My dual degrees are a perfect combination for this role,” Woo said. “I use my analytical and problem-solving skills that I learned in electrical engineering for data analytics and technical implementation of software within Dispensary of Hope.

“With my pharmacy degree, I can understand medications, their uses and be able to help make decisions on formulary medications for medication dispensaries.”

With Blackburn and Woo’s help, Dispensary of Hope serves more than 40,000 patients each quarter. It filled 744,731 monthlong prescriptions in fiscal year 2017 and has no plans to slow down.

Edward Woo

“We hope to make a meaningful impact on the health and lives of the most vulnerable through access to medication,” Blackburn said. “With a goal of 260 sites by 2020 and over 1,000 sites in the next decade, our vision is to serve over a million of the sickest Americans who lack coverage with a consistent supply of medication.”

 

This work not only benefits those who need medications but has allowed Blackburn and Woo to learn more about themselves, their leadership abilities and the work it takes to help others.

“Before Dispensary of Hope, I did not realize that the need for medications for the uninsured was so great in our nation,” Woo said. “Through this work, I’ve learned that the health of our nation depends on getting the processes right. This may take time, but it can’t be rushed.”

Pharmacy School Begins Cooperation with University of Chile

Agreement focuses on student exchange and collaborative research

David Allen (left), UM pharmacy dean, meets with Pablo Caviedes, director of the Center for Clinical Research and Studies at the University of Chile’s Faculty of Medicine. UM photo by Sydney Slotkin DuPriest

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi has signed a memorandum of understanding with the University of Chile’s Faculty of Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences to collaborate on graduate education and research.

Although details of the collaborations are yet to be finalized, the agreement will initially focus on research collaborations and graduate and post-doctoral student exchanges between the School of Pharmacy and the University of Chile’s Santiago campus.

Potential collaborations could include training on the School of Pharmacy’s state-of-the-art nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy instruments, sharing of the synthetic facilities and natural product resources, and select graduate level courses offered through the departments of BioMolecular Sciences and Pharmacy Administration, said Soumyajit Majumdar, associate dean for research and graduate programs at Ole Miss.

“This collaboration will tremendously benefit graduate students, research scientists and faculty from both institutions by exposing them to different technologies, culture and ways of thinking,” Majumdar said.

Since the formal agreement includes the entire university, other schools could benefit as well.

“This agreement will open up exciting opportunities for students and for faculty research,” said Blair McElroy, the university’s interim senior international officer and director of study abroad. “We anticipate hosting Chilean students in labs on campus, fostering intercultural exchange in the teaching and learning environment at UM and helping to expand the horizons of UM students who study in Chile.”

Pablo Caviedes, director of the Center for Clinical Research and Studies at the University of Chile’s Faculty of Medicine, was instrumental in establishing the partnership. He hopes the agreememt will set a foundation for a long-term cooperation between the two institutions, including a dual degree program and a robust cooperation between his university and the National Center for Natural Products Research.

“NCNPR has enormous expertise and infrastructure in the study of new molecules derived from natural sources,” Caviedes said. “Chile, due mainly to its geographical isolation, possesses a vast and unique flora, which represents a source for a largely unexplored number of novel compounds.”

David D. Allen, dean of the School of Pharmacy, hopes the agreement will allow members of each institution to learn from each other.

“This kind of agreement not only contributes to the depth of our research, but promotes a better relationship with our scientific partners around the world,” Allen said.

“Science is the main tool available to humanity in the search for the truth and the advancement of knowledge for the better of mankind,” Caviedes said. “Such an undertaking necessitates the joint efforts of researchers around the globe. We hope our efforts under this new program will further this goal.”