UM Scientists Work Toward Natural Remedy for Bed Bugs

NCNPR researchers look for safer solution in pest management

Bed bugs are tiny when they hatch, but each insect can grow to one-fourth of an inch in size as it matures.
UM photo by Don F. Stanford

OXFORD, Miss. – It’s a fear for children that monsters reside under the bed. But those monsters could be living on the mattress or in the sheets. They’re called bed bugs.

However, scientists with the National Center for Natural Products Research at the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy are searching for a natural remedy to stop the insect from not only biting, but growing in rapid numbers.

“In the past few years, the number of bed bug infestations has risen, potentially impacting the hospitality industry” said Amar Chittiboyina, NCNPR assistant director. “The resources at the NCNPR make it an ideal research center for the discovery of a natural chemical as an insecticide.”

Funded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Defense, the Insect Management Program looks for a natural compound for management of pests affecting soldiers and the public. Finding that solution is easier said than done, as bed bugs are tough to control, much less eradicate.

Junaid Rehman, research scientist in the NCNPR, works closely with two strains of bed bugs: those that are resistant to insecticides and those that haven’t been exposed to insecticides. Rehman is tasked with the challenge of sorting the tiny bed bugs, which grow to less than one-fourth of an inch in size, by age and making sure each gets its weekly fill of rabbit blood to help maintain the colonies.

Researchers use three delivery methods to test the effectiveness of natural compounds on the bed bugs, Rehman said.

The easiest ones to perform are fumigation and residual methods. In fumigation, the bugs are exposed to the vapor form for 24 hours, while the residual method has the treatment placed on filter paper and the insects are released over it.

The toughest is a topical method, which involves Rehman knocking the insects unconscious with carbon dioxide before applying a drop of test article on each adult’s back. This process can take up to five hours with 50-60 bed bugs in each treatment for statistical significance.

“In most cases of severe infestation, the only option to eradicate the insects is to discard the furniture,” Rehman said. “To avoid such an expensive operation, we are probing several methods for effective delivery of potential insecticides.

“At the end of the day, we are looking for natural compounds that are easy to apply in a laboratory setting and in the field. The hardest part is finding a natural compound that will safely and effectively eradicate or control the growth of bed bugs.”

Junaid Rehman, a research scientist in the UM National Center for Natural Products Research, works to separate bed bugs to prepare for testing of potential control agents in the lab. UM photo by Don F. Stanford

Researchers work in a biosafety lab at the Thad Cochran Research Center where special precautions are taken to prevent the escape of any bugs. Though bed bugs are easily contained in the lab, that’s not the case in public areas. Bed bugs hiding in dark corners and crevices of hotel rooms or other spaces can survive as long as three months without food.

The insect is not known to transfer diseases, but when an infestation is severe, the bites can cause health concerns. Finding a solution for this problem is at the forefront of the NCNPR’s goals.

“We have such unique resources at the NCNPR that we can optimize and convert the knowledge we have into finding a safer solution, as there is currently no easy way to get rid of these bed bugs,” said Ikhlas Khan, NCNPR director. “Having this funding from the USDA helps us to work toward our overall goals.”

As Bed Bug Awareness Week (June 3-9) rolls on and as many people prepare to travel for summer vacations, Khan acknowledged that public awareness and preemptive measures help in bed bug cases. NCNPR researchers will continue working to make bed bug nightmares a thing of the past.

“If we can come up with a natural compound that inhibits the bed bugs’ growth or alters its life cycle, and the natural compound has a safety profile needed for approval by the EPA as an insecticide, then we achieved our goals,” Chittiboyina said.

This work is supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, under agreement no. 58-6066-6-043. Any opinions, findings, conclusion or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Pharmacy Administration Graduate Student Receives Fellowship

Ashley Crumby will continue her dissertation research on mentor relationships

Ashley Crumby

OXFORD, Miss. – Ashley Crumby, a graduate student in the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy, was named a recipient of the Pre-Doctoral Fellowship in Pharmaceutical Sciences given by the American Foundation for Pharmaceutical Education.

Crumby will use her fellowship to continue research for her dissertation on “Valuation of mentorship in pharmacy education and the impact of perceived involvement,” as she measures the value student pharmacists place on mentorship.

“This opportunity will help support the importance of mentorship research,” Crumby said. “I would love to continue this type of research in my future career and apply it to a position in which I could potentially develop and implement mentorship programs at schools.”

A native of Chapel Hill, Tennessee, Crumby earned her Pharm.D. from Ole Miss in 2009. No stranger to mentorship in her own career, Crumby said she has been blessed with many great advisers, including Alicia Bouldin, associate dean of outcomes assessment and learning advancement at the School of Pharmacy.

“I am so thankful that AFPE is rewarding Ashley’s commitment in this area,” Bouldin said. “She truly has a passion for mentoring in pharmacy education and is excited about the chance to deploy her research talents to explore this area.

“I have no doubt that many will benefit from any further understanding she is able to glean on this topic, which is becoming increasingly important in the changing health care landscape.”

In 2013, American Pharmacists Association recognized Crumby for her work with pediatric infectious diseases and commitment to student mentorships by naming her a Distinguished New Practitioner. Her dedication to improving the pharmacy profession and lives of others shows why John Bentley, chair and professor of pharmacy administration, calls Crumby a well-rounded graduate student and individual.

“Two of the most significant factors that determine success in graduate school are motivation and perseverance,” Bentley said. “There is no shortage of either when it comes to Ashley. She typically goes above and beyond the call of duty in all of her endeavors.

“She has high levels of motivation to succeed, but more importantly, she has an extraordinary motivation to learn.”

Pharmacy Graduate Student Earns Student Exchange Award

Ann Fairly Barnett will research pollution effects on oysters in Ocean Springs

Ann Fairly Barnett presents her research on the effects of pollution on Mississippi oysters at the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry’s Young Environmental Scientists meeting in March. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – Ann Fairly Barnett, a University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy graduate student, has received the Student Training Exchange Opportunity award from the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry.

The award will allow Barnett to conduct research in the Shoemaker Toxicology Laboratory at the University of Southern Mississippi’s Gulf Coast Research Laboratory in Ocean Springs this summer. She will work under the guidance of Joe Griffitt, chair of the USM Division of Coastal Sciences and associate director of its School of Ocean Science and Technology.

Her research examines the effects of ocean acidification and tributyltin, a compound formerly found in painted boat hulls, on the Eastern oyster, as well as how to restore Mississippi Gulf Coast oyster reefs in future climate change scenarios.

Barnett, who earned her Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology from USM in 2016, is working toward her master’s in environmental toxicology at the School of Pharmacy. The Jackson native is a graduate research assistant for Deborah Gochfeld, principal scientist in the National Center for Natural Products Research and research professor of environmental toxicology in the Department of BioMolecular Sciences.

Ann Fairly Barnett dives off Grand Cayman Island as part of her research on marine sponges. Submitted photo

“Since childhood, I have been deeply interested in the ocean and all it has to offer us,” Barnett said. “A friend told me about the opportunity at the University of Mississippi to work on a project involving oyster reef restoration on the Mississippi Gulf Coast under Dr. Gochfeld’s advisement.

“I was very interested and excited for the opportunity to conduct research aimed at working toward a healthier coastline in my home state, while also learning the ropes of environmental toxicology.”

Barnett was working on a project in the Cayman Islands involving marine sponges while preparing her application materials, which she said was akin to writing a small grant proposal.

“Ann Fairly is an enthusiastic young scientist who has jumped in and taken the initiative to learn as much for her research on oysters as possible,” Gochfeld said. “This training exchange award will enable her to make use of the recently-built, state-of-the-art environmental toxicology facility at the GCRL to jump-start her master’s thesis research.”

Pharmacy Professor Selected for Nelson Order

Scott Malinowski was one of 20 inductees chosen for the UMMC honor

Scott Malinowski (left), clinical assistant professor of pharmacy practice, is welcomed into the Nelson Order by Rob Rockhold, deputy chief academic officer at the UM Medical Center, during ceremonies at the medical center. Photo by Joe Ellis/UMMC Photography

JACKSON, Miss. – Scott Malinowski, clinical assistant professor of pharmacy practice at the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy, has been inducted into the Norman C. Nelson Order of Teaching Excellence at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson.

Named for Norman C. Nelson, who served as UMMC’s vice chancellor for health affairs for 21 years, the award honors faculty members from each of UMMC’s six schools. Awardees are selected based on their dedication to students through innovative teaching, engagement, mentorship and setting expectations for professional behavior.

 “This is truly a great honor,” Malinowski said. “It is very special to be selected by students and colleagues in recognition of my teaching contributions.

“The existence of the Nelson Order shows just how committed the Medical Center is to teaching excellence. I am proud to be considered one of its members.”

Nominees for the Nelson Order were inducted at a luncheon where each received a stole from LouAnn Woodward, UM vice chancellor for health affairs, that they will wear Friday (May 25) during the Medical Center’s commencement ceremony.

“This is a significant achievement and well-deserved recognition of Dr. Malinowski’s many contributions to education on the UMMC campus,” said Seena Haines, chair of the Department of Pharmacy Practice. “He has demonstrated commitment to excellence in teaching and engaging students and residents in their clinical and professional growth.”

Leigh Ann Ross, associate dean for clinical affairs at the pharmacy school’s UMMC campus, said she is “thrilled” about Malinowski’s induction.

“In all practice environments, he has precepted pharmacy students and served as a role model,” Ross said. “Scott provides quality educational opportunities for our students by leading courses and serving as a facilitator in our problem-based learning curriculum.”

Ross went on to say that Malinowski’s long-term involvement in heart failure management in the ambulatory clinic, providing nutrition support in the inpatient setting and participating in the Community-Based Research Program shows his desire for student success.

“I am passionate about teaching because I enjoy helping students realize that they can successfully learn this vast amount of material that they are confronted with and use it to help others,” Malinowski said. “It is amazing to watch them grow into confident health care professionals.”

UM Pharmacy Places First in Formulations Competition

Ole Miss team places sixth overall in national Student Pharmacist Compounding Competition

Emily Lewis (left), Mary O’Keefe and Alexandria Gochenauer, all third-year student pharmacists at UM, placed first in the formulations portion of the eighth annual National Student Pharmacist Compounding Competition and sixth overall. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – A team of three students from the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy placed first in the formulations portion of the eighth annual National Student Pharmacist Compounding Competition and sixth overall, in what was Ole Miss’ first-ever appearance in the competition in Aventura, Florida.

The team consisted of third-year student pharmacists Alexandria Gochenauer, of Republic, Missouri; Mary O’Keefe, of Edwardsville, Illinois; and Emily Lewis, of Valley Park, Missouri.

“This is outstanding, especially for our first competition,” said David D. Allen, UM pharmacy dean. “I’m very proud of these students’ drive to excel in compounding, which is such a vital part of pharmacy.”

For the formulating part of the contest, the team came up with a recipe to create two prescriptions selected for them by the competition. The three students determined the appropriate amounts of each ingredient, wrote out the process for combining them and provided information about the chemicals they were using.

Gochenauer organized a regional competition beforehand to engage other students in learning more about compounding. Even with that experience, the team acknowledged that they didn’t have much of an idea of what to expect from the national competition.

“Having never done it before, and having no previous pharmacy students to ask, our team tried to prepare as best we could by looking at how the regional competition went and ways we could have improved there,” O’Keefe said.

As part of the national competition, the team also came up with an innovative pharmacy idea and answered pharmacy-related questions in a game show-like challenge, all of which contributed to the team’s sixth-place finish out of 17 teams.

“This competition opened my eyes to the impact a pharmacist can make in the world of compounding,” Lewis said. “It definitely increased my ability to think creatively on my feet and confirmed my passion for compounding.”

Each student agreed that they appreciated the opportunity to network with other students and faculty members, as well as work in a state-of-the-art compounding lab.

“I believe this competition gave me a revitalized view of how compounding can be integrated into the practice of pharmacy and produce patient-specific, and sometimes hard-to-find, medications,” O’Keefe said.

Erin Holmes, an associate professor of pharmacy administration, helped the team prepare for the competition, but said the students took the lead on every aspect of planning and practicing.

“I was impressed by the initiative and interest they took in the competition, as well as how dedicated they were to the time and travel involved during a busy semester,” Holmes said. “I am so proud, but not at all surprised, to see how well they placed in the national competition.”

Pharmacy Students Earn Pharmacists Mutual Scholarships

Alex Gochenauer and Erin Hoevelmann plan to practice pharmacy in community settings

Alex Gochenauer

OXFORD, Miss. – Two University of Mississippi pharmacy students have been named recipients of the exclusive Pharmacists Mutual Community Pharmacy Scholarship.

Alex Gochenauer and Erin Hoevelmann were selected based on their interest in practicing pharmacy in an independent setting, a community setting or in an underserved community. The scholarship is given to just 20 recipients nationwide each year.

“Offering clinical services in the community setting is of particular interest to me, as this gives pharmacists the opportunity to be more involved in providing health care to patients,” Hoevelmann said.

In her second professional year, Hoevelmann has gained insight into community pharmacy through research and volunteering. The St. Louis native recently presented her thesis for the UM Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College on pharmacists’ willingness to offer rapid diagnostic testing as a research poster at the American Pharmacists Association annual meeting.

Hoevelmann also is active in the community through service projects with the pharmacy student group Prescription for Service and nonprofit organization More than a Meal.

Third-year student Gochenauer hopes to one day work in an independent compounding pharmacy that focuses on veterinary pharmacy practice.

Erin Hoevelmann

Originally from Republic, Missouri, Gochenauer has served in leadership roles in the student chapters of the American College of Veterinary Pharmacists and National Community Pharmacists Association. She also recently earned scholarships from NCPA and American College of Apothecaries.

“During my first year in pharmacy school, we had an assembly from the Professional Compounding Centers of America, which prompted my interest in compounding and led to my taking compounding courses,” Gochenauer said.

David D. Allen, dean of the School of Pharmacy, said the school is “very proud” of Hoevelmann and Gochenauer.

“Erin and Alex are two of our consistently high-performing and service-minded student pharmacists,” Allen said. “They demonstrate the drive to learn and the compassion for patients that every great pharmacist possesses.”

Pharmacy Student Going ‘Over the Edge’ for Fundraiser

Meghan Wagner will rappel down a building to raise money for Batson Children's Hospital

Meghan Wagner

JACKSON, Miss. – Meghan Wagner isn’t taking the traditional route to raise money for Friends of Children’s Hospital. The University of Mississippi third-year student pharmacist is rappelling down a 14-story building instead.

Wagner, from Grenada, will rappel down the Trustmark corporate office building in downtown Jackson on April 21 as part of the Over the Edge event, for which she has raised over $1,000. Friends of Children’s Hospital is hosting the event to support Batson Children’s Hospital, and the organization is aiming to raise $200,000.

“I’ve never been particularly afraid of heights, but as a small human being, 14 stories seems a bit daunting,” Wagner said. “I think excitement will win out, though, because it gives me courage to think about how brave all of the kids, families and staff at Batson are while trying to make the world a little bit brighter.

“When you compare it to what they conquer every day, I think I can take the plunge.”

Wagner plans to descend the 14 stories as a representative of the pharmacy student group PediaRebs, which focuses on pediatric pharmacy. She knows the group’s success stems from its mission to help kids in all stages of health.

“I have worked with kids for many years and have always been incredibly inspired by their unwavering confidence that they have the ability to make their dreams and goals come true,” Wagner said. “I hope to work as a pediatric pharmacist one day so I can be a part of the health care team that helps these kids achieve their goals, because without obstacles like illnesses or uncontrolled conditions, kids are unstoppable.”

“It’s great to see Meghan and PediaRebs support such a great cause,” said David D. Allen, dean of the School of Pharmacy. “Their passion for helping children will continue to impact pediatric health care in our state, and I’m excited to see the chapter continue to thrive in Oxford and Jackson.”

For more information about Over the Edge, visit http://overtheedgeglobal.com/. Wagner is accepting fundraising donations at https://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/meghan-wagner-2/overtheedgewithfriends

Former Arkansas Senator Named UM Pharmacy Alumnus of the Year

Consumer advocate and children's rights champion Percy Malone wins honor

Percy Malone (center), who founded AllCare Pharmacy in 1972, is the UM School of Pharmacy’s 2018 Alumnus of the Year. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – State senator, state representative, pharmacist and University of Mississippi alumnus – of all Percy Malone’s titles, the one which he is proudest of is advocate.

The former Arkansas state senator and 1965 pharmacy graduate is the School of Pharmacy‘s 2018 Alumnus of the Year. He has spent his career fighting to represent the interests of those who may be otherwise overlooked: namely, children, sick or incapacitated people and those living below the poverty line.

Originally from the small Mississippi Delta town of Rosedale, Malone’s parents had little education, but a strong work ethic.

“I came from a meager background,” Malone said. “My mother told me, ‘The way out of poverty is through education.'”

As a sixth-grader, Malone began working as a soda jerk in his local pharmacy, Lewis Drug Store. It was there he decided he wanted to become a pharmacist. After graduating from Rosedale High School, he completed his pre-pharmacy requirements at Delta State University before coming to the School of Pharmacy.

“I had people tell me that I would never get into Ole Miss, and if I did, I would never get out,” Malone said. “I didn’t spend my energy trying to prove them wrong. I spent my energy on telling myself I could do it.”

Malone recalls that he was not prepared for college, but that his professors at Delta State and Ole Miss spent extra time with him. His sister, who worked at a factory, gave him a credit card to buy gas for his old car. When he left Ole Miss on weekends to work at Lewis Drug Store, his mother sent him back with enough food to eat for the next week.

“It wasn’t easy, but I had a lot of people helping me, and I credit that for being able to get a good education,” Malone said. “I’m not a self-made man.”

After graduating, Malone found himself in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, one Sunday afternoon, speaking with I.B. Fuller, owner of a local drugstore, about a job. Fuller was looking to pass down the business, and Malone was looking to set down roots. Soon thereafter, Malone had stock in his first pharmacy.

“I worked very hard for many years to say yes to patients who needed me,” Malone said. “If they called me on Thanksgiving or Sunday or at night needing medicine, I wouldn’t tell them I was busy. I would go.”

From there, Malone went on to become one of the state’s top pharmacy innovators. He founded AllCare Pharmacy in 1972, which has grown to more than 17 community pharmacy locations across Arkansas.

He had one of the first pharmacy computer systems in Arkansas and expanded his business to fill prescriptions for long-term care facilities, assisted living facilities and correctional facilities, as well as specialty prescriptions for complex diseases.

As a pharmacist and businessperson, he focused on finding ways to be more efficient and patient-oriented. Malone’s concern for the consumer stemmed from the understanding his background had given him of not being able to afford medicine.

In an effort to do more for patients, he ran for state government, and in 1995, began his first of three terms as an Arkansas state representative.

“As a representative, Percy worked to bring generic drugs into Arkansas pharmacies, and the traditional pharmacists did not like that,” said Donna Malone, Percy’s wife. “But he fought and he prevailed, and now every drugstore in America has generic drugs available. He passed his savings on to the consumer.”

Percy Malone served three terms as an Arkansas state representative and five terms as an Arkansas state senator. Submitted photo

As one of the only people in the Arkansas Legislature at the time with a health care background, he also advocated to allow pharmacists to administer immunizations and worked to pass evidence-based medicine in the state.

Besides health care advocacy, Malone stumbled upon what would become his other focus while in the Legislature. On his first day as a state representative, Malone read a news article he couldn’t forget about an abused and neglected child. From then on, he made it his mission to introduce at least one measure per legislative session aimed at protecting children.

Along with his wife, he helped expand the Children’s Advocacy Centers of Arkansas, where children could go to report abuse. Because of this, as well as the numerous child protection laws he initiated, the Children’s Advocacy Centers of Arkansas honored him with the first Senator Percy Malone Child Protection Award in 2010, which is given to someone in Arkansas each year.

He spent 18 years in the Legislature, eventually becoming a senator for five terms, befriending then-future President Bill Clinton and continuing to fight for the vulnerable. He also has been lauded for his work pioneering innovative health care solutions that benefit assisted and long-term care facilities and their residents.

“Being in the Legislature, I was able to speak the words of the people who couldn’t speak for themselves,” Malone said. “There are a lot of people that deserve a hand up and not a handout.”

Malone’s generous spirit and care for those in need is well-known throughout the state.

Misty Huerkamp, staff pharmacist at AllCare Pharmacy, is an Ole Miss pharmacy alumna and Arkansas native who grew up hearing about Malone.

“He pretty much goes by the name Percy, and everyone knows who you’re talking about,” Huerkamp said. “He has done so much for the profession of pharmacy and so much to serve those around him, giving to those who need help or a little encouragement.”

Another Ole Miss pharmacy grad, Lauren Lyles, met Malone in 2014 during her second year of pharmacy school at the National Community Pharmacists Association annual meeting, after which Malone became a mentor to her.

“Percy values more than anything doing what is right instead of doing what is convenient,” Lyles said. “He has given back to broken communities that have suffered from generational poverty, domestic violence and limited access to health care through his businesses, philanthropic efforts and legislative work.”

Malone credits his Ole Miss education and the people he’s encountered for helping him to reach a place where he can freely give back.

“Ole Miss gave me the opportunity to fail, and no one wants to fail,” Malone said. “It’s been a marvelous life, and I’m very fortunate to be able to give. My upbringing taught me that once you’re on top of the ladder, you don’t pull the ladder up behind you.”

Malone will be honored Saturday (April 21) with the Alumnus of the Year Award at the School of Pharmacy’s awards banquet and reunion dinner at The Inn at Ole Miss.

“The School of Pharmacy is humbled and honored to call Percy an alumnus,” said David D. Allen, the school’s dean. “He is beyond deserving of this award, not only for his contributions to our profession, but for the way he embodies the Ole Miss spirit.

“He earned his influence by being a champion for vulnerable and forgotten people and has continued to use his time and resources for their benefit.”

Pharmacy School Introduces Application Option for Rising Sophomores

Advanced Standing Program offers qualified students seat in professional program

Ole Miss pharmacy students work in a skills lab on the Oxford campus. UM photo by Sydney Slotkin DuPriest

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy is providing university freshmen a new way to secure their spot in its professional pharmacy program with the Sophomore Advanced Standing Program.

The program allows qualified UM freshmen to earn a guaranteed seat in the School of Pharmacy’s professional program, thereby avoiding the competitive selection process for regular entry admission that normally occurs during a pre-pharmacy major’s junior year. Upon completion of three years of pre-pharmacy courses and one year of professional courses, students also will receive a Bachelor of Science in Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Upon earning the B.S.P.S., student pharmacists then complete three additional years of the professional program before earning a Doctor of Pharmacy, or Pharm.D., and sitting for the national licensure exam to practice pharmacy.

Chelsea Bennett, the school’s assistant dean for student services in Oxford, said that the Sophomore Advanced Standing Program is an excellent opportunity for Ole Miss freshmen to enter the professional program and take advantage of other benefits the school offers.

“We have some exciting plans in place for our new Sophomore Advanced Standing students,” Bennett said. “They’ll have opportunities to take part in site visits, shadow pharmacists and be involved in our pharmacy student body events and professional organizations.”

This program is ideal for freshmen interested in pharmacy who did not enroll in the Early Entry program before they began their first year at Ole Miss.

“We are thrilled to offer another opportunity for aspiring pharmacists to join our program,” said David D. Allen, dean of the School of Pharmacy. “These high-achieving students will benefit from our amazing faculty and facilities as they prepare for this diverse profession.”

The deadline to apply is May 1.

Eligible UM freshmen must be enrolled in a minimum of 14 hours per semester during their freshman year, have completed freshman science courses for the B.S.P.S. degree requirements by the end of July and hold a 3.25 GPA or better in their attempted courses. A minimum composite ACT of 25 is also preferred.

To apply or for more information, visit http://pharmacy.olemiss.edu/sas/.

Natural Products Center Scientist Honored for Cannabis Research

Suman Chandra wins Outstanding Scientist Award

Suman Chandra received a plaque for his Outstanding Scientist Award, presented by the Society of Tropical Agriculture. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – Suman Chandra, a senior research scientist at the University of Mississippi’s National Center for Natural Products Research, was honored with an Outstanding Scientist Award at the International Conference on Recent Advances in Agriculture and Horticulture Sciences in New Delhi.

The Society of Tropical Agriculture gives the annual award to a scientist who has contributed to the study of agriculture and horticulture. Chandra works with the natural products center’s Marijuana Project, housed within the UM School of Pharmacy, studying the propagation of cannabis intended for research purposes.

“I was very pleased to receive this award and am grateful to the Society of Tropical Agriculture for recognizing my contributions to the field,” Chandra said.

As part of the award, Chandra presented a paper at the conference about growing cannabis for the purpose of producing cannabinoids.

During Chandra’s 18 years working with NCNPR’s marijuana facility, he has screened and selected many cannabis varieties, as well as monitored the cultivation, harvest and processing of standardized cannabis biomass for research. He also participates in developing biotechnological tools and procedures for preserving genetic materials.

“Suman is an excellent scientist who has helped us make incredible strides in the study of cannabis propagation and the production of standardized cannabis preparations for research,” said Mahmoud ElSohly, director of the Marijuana Project.

Chandra has contributed to more than 50 publications, including “Cannabis sativa L.: Botany and Biotechnology,” a new book he wrote with ElSohly.

“I am grateful to Dr. ElSohly for giving me the opportunity to work under his guidance and for his constant support and encouragement throughout the years,” Chandra said.

For more information on natural products research at Ole Miss, go to http://pharmacy.olemiss.edu/ncnpr/.