Pharmacy Ph.D. Graduate Wins Scholarship for Drug Discovery Research

Mohamed Albadry honored for work on natural products

Mohammed Albadry, a doctoral graduate of the School of Pharmacy, shows off his 2018 Harvey W. Wiley Scholarship plaque from AOAC International. Photo by Sydney Slotkin DuPriest/UM School of Pharmacy

OXFORD, Miss. – Mohamed A. Albadry, a recent Ph.D. graduate from the Department of BioMolecular Sciences in the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy, has won the 2018 Harvey W. Wiley Scholarship from AOAC International.

AOAC International develops global quality standards for microbiological and chemical materials, ranging from food to pharmaceuticals, in an effort to ensure public health.

Each year, the winner of AOAC’s Harvey W. Wiley Award chooses the corresponding scholarship recipient from an institution of their choice. The winner of the 2018 award was Ikhlas Khan, director of the UM National Center for Natural Products Research.

Khan, who was Albadry’s graduate adviser, chose Albadry for the scholarship based on his work on synthesizing powerful but rare natural products that could provide the basis for new and helpful drugs.

“Mohamed is a very dedicated student who is hard-working and cultivates within himself a broad knowledge of many subjects,” Khan said. “I am pleased to select him as the winner.”

Albadry received $1,000 and travel funds to the Aug. 26-29 AOAC meeting in Toronto.

“This scholarship is a great recognition for both Mohamed and the School of Pharmacy,” said David D. Allen, UM pharmacy dean. “We applaud his and Ikhlas’ work in natural products research that led to this honor.”

Albadry, a native of Egypt, said he was “honored and happy” to receive the scholarship, and that he hoped it would help him advance his career goals of working in academia and in the dietary supplement sector of natural products research.

Early Entry Pharmacy Class Earns Nearly $2 Million in Scholarships

First-year students among the most accomplished in school's history

A group of UM freshman Early Entry pre-pharmacy students tour the Ole Miss football facilities before the first week of school. Photo courtesy Lindsey Cooper

OXFORD, Miss. – The Early Entry program at the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy has brought the best and brightest students to Oxford for more than 20 years.

The makeup of the 2018 freshman pre-pharmacy class is no different. The well-rounded group of nearly 100 scholars and leaders earned nearly $2 million in scholarships to cover their next four years of undergraduate studies.

The Early Entry program offers high school seniors early acceptance into the professional pharmacy program, allowing them to avoid the competitive pharmacy school application process that normally occurs during a pre-pharmacy major’s junior year of college. Acceptance into the program calls for exceptional academic ability along with service and leadership in their community.

“Our Early Entry students are extremely talented and intellectually accomplished,” said David D. Allen, UM pharmacy dean. “The School of Pharmacy is incredibly proud of the caliber of students in the program, and it’s an honor to work with and teach them.”

UM freshman Early Entry pre-pharmacy student Cameron Hammers (center), celebrates with his parents after winning a $10,000 Allstate Sugar Bowl Scholarship. Photo courtesy Lindsey Cooper

Students in the Early Entry class of 2025 received honors such as National Merit Scholarships and the university’s prestigious Robert M. Carrier Scholarship. Two of the seven UM freshmen awarded 2018 Stamps Foundation Scholarships are in the Early Entry program: Valerie Quach, of Austin, Texas; and Shahbaz Gul, of Oxford.

Cameron Hammers, a native of Slidell, Louisiana, won a $10,000 Allstate Sugar Bowl Scholarship from the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame while Britney Ngo, originally from Ridgeland, was among four recipients of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College’s McDonnell-Barksdale Scholarship.

In addition, many freshman Early Entry students are part of the Provost Scholars program, Honors College, Ole Miss Band, UM choral programs, Rebelette dance team and more.

Before coming to Ole Miss, many of these students were student body and class officers, valedictorians, salutatorians and multisport athletes. The class also includes two Eagle Scouts.

“These high-achieving students and the Early Entry classes that came before them are a huge part of the reason we have one of the nation’s premier pharmacy programs,” said Lindsey Cooper, admissions counselor for the Early Entry program.

“Combining their work ethic with the programs we offer Early Entry students, such as exclusive classes, a strong mentoring program and the opportunity to live alongside fellow Early Entry freshmen, is our recipe for success.”

For more information about the Early Entry program, go to http://pharmacy.olemiss.edu/earlyentry/ or contact Cooper at lindsey@olemiss.edu.

University Endowment Builds to All-time High of $715 Million

Strong investment returns, generosity of alumni and friends spurs growth

The University of Mississippi’s permanent endowment grew in its latest fiscal year to an all-time high, thanks to generous support from private donors. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi’s permanent endowment grew in its latest fiscal year to an all-time high of $715 million, thanks in part to the seventh consecutive year of new gifts of $100 million or more.

Private support totaled more than $115.8 million from 30,332 donors, giving the university essential resources to continue providing exceptional experiences for students, faculty, researchers, health care patients and providers, citizens served by outreach efforts, and visitors to all its campuses.

“Private investments are essential to fuel the work of our flagship university,” Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter said.

“The generosity of our alumni and friends ensures the university has resources needed to sustain and expand nationally prominent programs, and it enables us to deliver on our Flagship Forward strategic plan to improve learning, health and the quality of life in Mississippi. We remain grateful and inspired by their support.”

Total private giving to the Oxford campus grew by 6.5 percent over the previous year. Private support for academics increased more than 10 percent. 

Eighty-seven percent of the private giving will provide current funding for donor-directed areas or directly affect those areas, while the remaining 13 percent was added to the university’s endowment, which also grew through returns on its investment strategies.

State support as a percentage of total revenues available for the university’s operations was 12.4 percent, making private support all the more crucial.

“Ole Miss alumni and friends are making major investments that transform students’ lives and continually enhance the quality of our programs,” said Charlotte Parks, vice chancellor for development. “Gifts to higher education also have a far-reaching impact on the economy of Mississippi and beyond, and the resources ultimately improve the quality of life for everyone.”

Healthy growth of the university’s endowment reflected the increase in funds invested and managed for the university, said Wendell Weakley, president and CEO of the UM Foundation. The endowment benefited from a 10 percent return on its investments.

Private giving helps UM maintain margins of excellence in a range of fields across all its campuses. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

“The endowment has now reached the historic high of $715 million, and we are on our way to realizing our long-range goal of a $1 billion endowment,” Weakley said. “We are extremely grateful to our donors who provide this permanent stable funding that can be counted on year after year and will advance the university’s mission for generations to come.”

Some of the largest gifts included: $5 million for the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College; $4.25 million for several programs including Bridge STEM, Catalyzing Entrepreneurship and Economic Development Initiative, College Ready Literacy, Center for Mathematics and Science Education, First Generation Scholars, Principal Corps, Upstart in the School of Dentistry and more; $4 million for new endowed chairs in geriatrics and palliative care at the Medical Center; $2 million for the College of Liberal Arts‘ departments of mathematics and sciences; $2 million for professorships in surgery and pulmonology at the Medical Center; $1.5 million for expansion of pediatric care at the Medical Center; and gifts of $1 million or more for a faculty chair in the Patterson School of Accountancy, the Flagship Constellations, Southern Foodways Alliance and the Forward Together campaign for Ole Miss athletics.

Likewise, the Medical Center’s Campaign for Children’s Hospital campaign enjoyed a third successful year with $10 million raised, which brings the total giving in the campaign to more than $66 million toward its ambitious $100 million goal. This campaign supports the construction and renovation of facilities and recruitment of 30-40 doctors and researchers.

Work has begun on a new seven-story, 340,000-square-foot tower adjacent to Batson Children’s Hospital that will also house the Children’s Heart Center.

Gifts to the campaign represent “an outpouring of love and support that runs deep and wide across all of Mississippi,” said Dr. LouAnn Woodward, vice chancellor for health affairs and dean of the School of Medicine. “We have outstanding physicians and the best staff, and they have a passion for caring for patients. What we need now are the facilities to match that quality of care.”

Financial resources provided by alumni and friends of the university ensure students will have the tools necessary to be successful. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

Ole Miss athletics also enjoyed a successful FY 2018 both on the field and in investments made by alumni and friends. Cash gifts exceeded $30 million for the fourth consecutive year. The Forward Together campaign stands at $176 million, with plans to complete this $200 million campaign in FY 2019.

“Rebel Nation represents one of the most loyal fan bases in college sports,” said Keith Carter, deputy athletics director for development and resource acquisition. “The support shown year in and year out allows us to enhance our facilities to help our student-athletes compete at the highest level, while also providing a high-quality experience for our fans.

“We express our thanks to loyal donors and fans, and we look forward to the upcoming year as we close out the Forward Together campaign and begin new endeavors.”

To make gifts to the university, go to https://www.umfoundation.com/makeagift/ for academics, https://www.umc.edu/givenow/ for the UM Medical Center or http://givetoathletics.com/forward-together/ for Ole Miss athletics.

Pharmacy School Remembers Anne Marie Liles as ‘Shining Star’ Teacher

School's director of experiential affairs passed away late last week

Anne Marie Liles (third from left) attends a musical performance with colleagues from the School of Pharmacy. Photo courtesy of Scott Malinowski

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy family is mourning the loss of Anne Marie Liles, director of experiential affairs and clinical associate professor of pharmacy practice, who died Thursday (Aug. 23).

Liles was beloved by students and colleagues. Student pharmacists, faculty and staff have expressed how much Liles meant to them as a mentor, friend and pharmacist, many of them noting her constant practice of going above and beyond in every aspect of her work.

“I could never have imagined the impact that Dr. Liles would have on my life,” said Dominique Dairion, a second-year student pharmacist. “Dr. Liles became my role model and one of my greatest supporters. She truly encouraged me to be my best and to get out of my comfort zone.”

Liles was a friend and supporter to all she met, never hesitating to reach out to students to make sure they were doing well, said Mikhayla Harris, a third-year student pharmacist.

“If she hadn’t heard from me in a little bit, she would check on me and see how I was doing,” Harris said. “She always made me feel like the school believed in me and wanted me to succeed.”

In July, Liles accepted the position of director of experiential affairs, a position for which Seena Haines, chair of the Department of Pharmacy Practice, said she was “very well-qualified.”

“Anne Marie shared an intention to advance experiential programs that would maximize our strengths and harness the possibilities of practice experiences, preceptor development and interprofessional education,” Haines said. “Her long history as an academician and her involvement with curriculum assessment aligned very well with the experiential director role.”

Since transitioning into the position, Liles was working to improve program advancement and quality assurance.

“She had a great vision for academia in general, but especially experiential education,” said David D. Allen, UM pharmacy dean. “She did a great job of bringing together the academic and experiential aspects of the curriculum, and that was an important part of the goals she was hoping to achieve in the experiential education program.

“Anne Marie was a delightful person whom I’m going to miss a great deal.”

Anne Marie Liles

Liles was recognized by peers as a national leader in pharmacy practice and had recently been selected to chair the Pharmacy Practice Section of American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy. The American College of Clinical Pharmacy announced earlier this month that Liles would be named a fellow of the organization at its October meeting, recognizing the excellence she demonstrated in clinical pharmacy practice.

She was also nationally known for her medication expertise in renal disease and had worked with the Indian government to advance its pharmacy practice in that area.

“She was passionate about everything pharmacy-related and extremely dedicated to her work,” said Kris Harrell, associate dean for academic affairs. “She was always willing to mentor some of the other more junior faculty members.”

After earning her Doctor of Pharmacy from Auburn University’s Harrison School of Pharmacy, Liles completed her residency training at the UM Medical Center in Jackson, working with clinical associate professor of pharmacy practice Lauren Bloodworth, as well as then-faculty members Harrell and Leigh Ann Ross, associate dean for clinical affairs.

“As a resident, Anne Marie was one of the very best,” Bloodworth said. “I was thrilled to have the opportunity several years later to serve with her as a faculty member at Ole Miss. Throughout her career, she excelled in all things, and I am grateful to have worked with her so closely.”

Liles had a heart for community service and was the adviser for the student group Prescription for Service, helping student pharmacists serve patients in the community and ensure they received quality medical care. A Type 1 diabetic herself, Liles had a special interest in helping diabetes patients manage their condition.

In her role as clinical director of pharmacy health services, she counseled patients with diabetes, hypertension and other chronic diseases at the Ole Miss Student Health Center. She was instrumental in adding clinical pharmacy services to the health center, including working with a Cough and Cold Clinic that counseled and provided prescriptions to students with minor health concerns, leading wellness efforts and working with the annual immunizations.

“I learned a great deal from Anne Marie as a fellow pharmacy educator, but also from a personal perspective,” said Ross, who oversaw the health center’s clinical pharmacy services when Liles worked there. “She always thought of others, cared for others and supported others – whether it was a student, a patient, a friend or her family.

“How fortunate for our students to have such an outstanding role model.”

Victoria Miller, third-year student pharmacist, credits Liles with inspiring a research project that Miller presented at the American Pharmacists Association meeting earlier this year on evaluating college students’ knowledge of medication.

“I was immediately interested in this topic for my research because of the passion that Dr. Liles showed for helping students in Student and Employee Pharmacy Health Services,” Miller said. “She wanted to do anything she could to make students comfortable and knowledgeable about managing their health.”

Above all, Liles was dedicated to teaching the next generation of pharmacists and advancing pharmacy clinical services.

“She was an advocate for learning and she always encouraged students to understand why and how we treat patients with the pharmacotherapy that is available today,” fourth-year student pharmacist Dylan Ware said. “I will never forget the impact Dr. Liles made on me as student and future pharmacist by asking the questions of why and how.”

“Even when things felt overwhelming, she always reminded me that the patients were the reason for the hard work,” Harris said. “She always had an encouraging word to say to make you feel better. She made it her mission to do whatever she could to help you succeed.”

Outside of work, Liles enjoyed musicals and theater, often organizing groups of faculty and staff to see shows at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts and when traveling to national pharmacy meetings.

“She and I bonded instantly because of her warm and welcoming nature,” said Dawn Bradley, the school’s operations coordinator who became close with Liles when they shared an office suite. “She was always positive in every aspect. I could talk for days about Anne Marie.”

Services for Liles were held Monday (Aug. 27) in Birmingham, Alabama. The School of Pharmacy is planning memorial services for later in the fall semester on both the school’s Oxford and Jackson campuses to celebrate Liles’ life and impact on the school.

“Anne Marie was dedicated, passionate, creative, balanced and selfless,” Haines said. “The loss of her presence on both campuses will be missed immensely.

“She is a true shining star and I will be forever grateful to have known and worked with her.”

Pharmacy Postdoctoral Fellow Honored for Poster Presentation

Pankaj Pandey earns Borne Award, named for late professor emeritus of medicinal chemistry

John Rimoldi (right), UM professor of medicinal chemistry and environmental toxicology and president of MALTO, presents the Ronald F. Borne Outstanding Postdoctoral Poster Presentation Award to Pankaj Pandey, a postdoctoral research associate at the School of Pharmacy. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – Pankaj Pandey, a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy, won the Ronald F. Borne Outstanding Postdoctoral Poster Presentation Award at the 45th Annual MALTO Medicinal Chemistry-Pharmacognosy Meeting in College Station, Texas.

The MALTO conference, for medicinal and natural product chemists from Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, Tennessee, Texas and Oklahoma, gives the Borne Award to one postdoctoral fellow at the conference each year based on their interview and research poster.

“I was pleasantly surprised when they announced my name,” Pandey said, who is from India. “I was very excited because this award is such an honor to receive.”

The Borne Award was created in honor of the late Ronald F. Borne, professor emeritus of medicinal chemistry at the UM School of Pharmacy.

Borne joined the 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 to 1998.

He served as chair of the Department of Medicinal Chemistry and as the university’s interim vice chancellor for research from 1998 to 2001.

“I traveled with Dr. Borne to this conference a few years ago and I would see him around when he worked at Ole Miss before his passing,” Pandey said. “Everyone talks so highly of him, and he was just great at what he did. I was so happy to receive this award because it made me think of him.”

Pandey studies under the guidance of Robert Doerksen, associate dean of the UM Graduate School and associate professor of medicinal chemistry. Their research investigates the potential of natural products as a source of molecules that might interact with proteins to help treat obesity and diabetes.

“Pankaj is very enthusiastic about his research and talented at explaining it in a way that others can understand,” Doerksen said. “He plans and executes the challenging and groundbreaking research we do with a combination of inspiration and sheer hard work.”

Student Success Helps Pharmaceutics and Drug Delivery Program Flourish

Course work and research prepares graduates for industry jobs or doctoral education

Graduate students Anggrida Saragih (left), Gauri Shadambikar and Anh Vo work with state-of-the-art laboratory equipment in the Department of Pharmaceutics and Drug Delivery. Photo by Sydney Slotkin DuPriest/UM School of Pharmacy

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi Department of Pharmaceutics and Drug Delivery is making a strong commitment to students’ futures. Whether a student goes into the pharmaceutical job market or wants to further his or her education, students of the master’s program are prepared when graduation arrives.

The success of the program is evident in its numbers, as the department had its largest graduating class of 17 students hooded at the 2018 Commencement ceremony.

“At Ole Miss, I had the opportunity to work with best in the field of pharmaceutical research,” said Gauri Shadambikar, one of seven incoming Ph.D. students to the Ole Miss program this fall. “I could interact with people on a global level and meet representatives from the pharmaceutical industry. Overall, the research environment is very nurturing and it helps you be independent and productive.”

The pharmaceutical industry has a need for scientists and engineers with formulation development, regulatory affairs and manufacturing expertise. To prepare for these jobs, students work directly in the labs with more senior graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, gaining experience in advanced pharmaceutical technologies such as hot melt extrusion and nanotechnology.

Students also participate in the school’s Hands-On Course in Tablet Technology and are encouraged to present a poster at the annual meeting of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists.

“We really want to get our students involved and prepared for challenging positions in academia, government and industry,” said Mike Repka, chair of the department and director of the Pii Center for Pharmaceutical Technology. “What they are involved in beyond the classroom with the tablet course and conferences will help them network with UM alumni and friends, as well as seek future job opportunities.”

With the knowledge gained from the program, students are competitive in the job market or for acceptance into doctoral programs. Recent graduate Sagar Sawant said the coursework made him think critically and understand the importance of his hard work, lessons he will use while working in the pharmaceutical industry.

“I expected the program to give me a practical understanding of formulation development,” Sawant said. “I wanted to get global exposure of how the pharmaceutical industry works and certainly got it.”

The addition of a non-thesis industrial pharmacy master’s degree track this fall will continue the success of the program by providing opportunities for students who wish to obtain broader, applied skills in formulation development, regulatory affairs and pharmaceutical manufacturing.

The new program will provide more team-based assignments to mimic industry jobs, said Walt Chambliss, interim associate vice chancellor for research and sponsored programs and professor of pharmaceutics.

“These students will complete small practical projects that will enhance their problem-solving skills and expose them to the type of research they will be conducting when they obtain a position in the pharmaceutical industry,” Chambliss said.

Along with the new program, the department will look for ways to expand its continued success. A collaboration with an external advisory committee consisting of scientists and engineers will help provide an overall direction. Their industry expertise will allow some members to lecture in courses and help identify potential internships opportunities in their companies.

The department’s commitment is helping students find opportunities that reflect their interests and goals. It’s also helping students grow personally through education and research, a quality 2018 graduate Rahul Lalge saw in the program.

“The program required both theoretical understanding of formulation development accompanied by quality research work, which turned out to be a great learning experience,” said Lagle, who enters the University of Minnesota’s doctoral program this fall. “It was a lot of hard work, but looking back, I realize that pushing my boundaries definitely helped me to acquire the skill set that will help me in my future career.”

Pharmacy First-Years Receive White Coats

Student pharmacists wear coats to indicate professionalism

First-year student pharmacists prepare to recite the Pledge of Professionalism at the White Coat Ceremony. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

OXFORD, Miss. – Some 105 first-year student pharmacists received their white coats Friday (Aug. 17), at a ceremony conducted by the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy.

The white coat is a symbol of professionalism, and this ceremony marks the beginning of their professional journey toward becoming a pharmacist. 

David D. Allen, UM pharmacy dean, charged the Doctor of Pharmacy class of 2022 with helping those around them improve and maintain health and quality of life.

“The white coat is a symbol of professionalism, and professionalism should never be taken lightly,” Allen said. “It is a constant commitment. It is who you are as a person at all times, not just at work when you interact with your patients.”

Ole Miss student pharmacists wear their white coats to all school-related activities to demonstrate their commitment to upholding the values of the pharmacy profession.

The first-year student pharmacists also recited the Pledge of Professionalism that binds them to the responsibilities of a pharmacist, and asks in part that they “dedicate their life and practice towards excellence.”

Founded in 1908, the UM School of Pharmacy is ranked among the top 25 pharmacy schools in the nation and houses the internationally-renowned National Center for Natural Products Research. Through its education, research and service missions, the school aims to improve the health of citizens of Mississippi, the nation and the world.

For more information, visit http://pharmacy.olemiss.edu.

Pharmaceutics Graduate Student Honored for 3D Printing Research

Jiaxiang Zhang awarded Best Oral Presentation at annual pharmaceutical meeting

Jiaxiang Zhang

OXFORD, Miss. – Jiaxiang Zhang, a University of Mississippi graduate student in the School of Pharmacy’s Department of Pharmaceutics and Drug Delivery, was awarded Best Oral Presentation at the annual meeting of the Controlled Release Society in New York City last month.

Zhang’s presentation focused on combining 3D printing with hot-melt extrusion, a process that melts and mixes polymers and drugs into rod-like shapes. Once formed, the rods can be delivered immediately into a 3D printer to create personalized drug dosages in the forms of tablets, capsules and films.

“Without Ole Miss, I wouldn’t have gotten this award,” Zhang said. “I’m thankful that the university has the facility and equipment for these projects and for the unprecedented freedom to explore new ideas, materials and designs.

“This award is not only for me, but also to encourage young scientists who want to help improve the lives of others through this field.”

Mike Repka, Zhang’s adviser and chair of the Department of Pharmaceutics and Drug Delivery, has worked with Zhang for four years on his 3D printing research.

“Jiaxiang delivered an animated, yet clear, presentation that showed his interest in the topic and that he was deserving of this recognition,” said Repka, who is also director of the Pii Center for Pharmaceutical Technology. “His novel ideas have been great for our discussions and presentations at various conferences.”

After earning his pharmaceutical engineering degree from Northwest University in his home country of China, Zhang continues to grow his expertise. He hopes that this award, along with the resources within the School of Pharmacy, will help him solve problems facing the pharmaceutical industry.

“I was excited when I found out I got the award,” Zhang said. “The first thing I thought about was to inform Dr. Repka that our work was being recognized.

“He supported my research and inspired me throughout my study, from the big concepts to every single detail in the research. This affirms our academic efforts.”

Forensic Chemist Named 2018 Joseph Sam Distinguished Alumnus

Randall Clark earned his doctorate in medicinal chemistry from the School of Pharmacy

Randall Clark

OXFORD, Miss. – Randall Clark, a 1973 University of Mississippi graduate with a doctoral degree in medicinal chemistry, has been named the School of Pharmacy Department of BioMolecular Sciences’ 2018 Joseph Sam Distinguished Alumnus Award honoree.

Clark earned degrees in both biology and chemistry from Berry College in Mt. Berry, Georgia, before completing his Ph.D. under the direction of late Ole Miss professor Ronald F. Borne. He has spent his 45-year academic career at Auburn University, where he is a professor of medicinal chemistry, mentoring more than 50 master’s and doctoral students.

“It is truly an honor to be selected for this award,” Clark said. “Just receiving consideration for an award of this magnitude is a significant achievement.

“The previous recipients are all very successful individuals, and many, many very productive and talented people have passed through the Ole Miss School of Pharmacy.”

Clark will deliver the Joseph Sam Distinguished Alumnus Lecture at 11 a.m. Friday (Aug. 17) in Room 2066 of the Thad Cochran Research Center. His presentation is titled “Forensic Chemistry of New Psychoactive Substances: Regioisomer Differentiation in Cannabinoid, Cathinone and N-BOMe Drugs.”

“It’s a great privilege for our department to be able to recognize our alumni leaders in pharmaceutical sciences with the Joe Sam Distinguished Alumnus Endowment,” said Kristie Willett, chair of the Department of BioMolecular Sciences. “Having Dr. Clark back on campus provides our students and current faculty with a unique opportunity to expand their professional network and learn about cutting edge research in medicinal chemistry.”

With a research interest in forensic drug chemistry, Clark has received more than $2.5 million in research funding over the last 10 years from the National Institute of Justice, the research, development and evaluation agency of the U.S. Department of Justice. He has authored or co-authored more than 250 scientific publications.

Clark has served as the faculty chair of Auburn athletics’ drug testing oversight committee for the last 20 years. His research group has contributed more than 1,000 mass spectra of new druglike substances to the National Institute of Standards and Technology mass spectra database.

He is the recipient of Auburn’s Alumni Professorship, Distinguished Graduate Faculty Lectureship and the Sandra Kent Gilliland and David Louie Gilliland Endowed Professorship in recognition of outstanding research and teaching accomplishments. In 2012, he was awarded a New Zealand Government International Fellowship to present a series of workshops and lectures on forensic drug science.

John Rimoldi, professor of medicinal chemistry and environmental toxicology at the UM School of Pharmacy, served on the award’s selection committee and knew Clark was a perfect fit for the accolade.

“Dr. Clark is most deserving of this award,” Rimoldi said. “He has built a distinguished career at Auburn University and is a leading authority in forensic drug chemistry and analysis. 

“His commitment to student mentoring and graduate education in medicinal chemistry is remarkable and inspiring.”

The award’s namesake, Joseph Sam, was an influential part in educating future scientists in the field of drug development and discovery. He served as one of the first chairs of the Department of Medicinal Chemistry, as well as dean of the university’s Graduate School and vice chancellor of research. In honor of his spirit and inspiration, the Joseph Sam Distinguished Alumnus Award was created in 2009.

“Dr. Sam was a constant figure in the labs and other pharmacy facilities,” Clark said. “He took a personal interest in all the graduate students in the program and provided encouragement to everyone. He and the members of the pharmacy family at Ole Miss made my four years in graduate school a most enjoyable experience.”

Two UM Pharmacy Faculty to Lead Mississippi Pharmacists Association

Lauren Bloodworth and Phil Ayers working to promote profession across state

Lauren Bloodworth

OXFORD, Miss. – The Mississippi Pharmacists Association has welcomed two faculty members from the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy into leadership positions for the organization.

Lauren Bloodworth, clinical associate professor of pharmacy practice, will serve as the organization’s president for the 2018-19 term, and Phil Ayers, also a clinical associate professor of pharmacy practice, is MPhA’s interim executive director.

“For years, I have been proud to serve alongside our tremendous pharmacy family, and I am honored by the opportunity to serve as the next president of the Mississippi Pharmacists Association,” Bloodworth said.

Phil Ayers

MPhA connects pharmacists from all areas of the profession to one other and with other health care professions to promote pharmacy and patient welfare across the state.

Both Ayers and Bloodworth are graduates of the Ole Miss pharmacy school. Ayers joined the faculty in 1997 after graduating in 1996. Bloodworth graduated in 2000 and joined the school’s faculty in 2008.

David D. Allen, dean of the School of Pharmacy and ex officio member of MPhA’s executive committee, said the School of Pharmacy is “very proud” to have Ayers and Bloodworth lead the organization.

“Lauren and Phil are both extremely dedicated to bolstering Mississippi’s pharmacy landscape and are natural fits for these positions,” Allen said.