NCNPR Signs Collaboration Agreement with Australian University

Research center has partnerships on all inhabited continents

Researchers work in a lab at the UM National Center for Natural Products Research, which has signed a collaboration agreement with the National Institute of Complementary Medicine in Australia. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – The National Center for Natural Products Research at the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy has signed a memorandum of understanding with the National Institute of Complementary Medicine in Australia, making the NCNPR part of research collaborations on every inhabited continent.

The agreement will allow the two entities to work together on research and other scholarly activities. The Ole Miss center’s similar partnerships around the world range from numerous research alliances in North America and Asia to collaborations in Brazil and South Africa.

The NICM, which is housed within Western Sydney University, focuses on researching natural products to create new drugs, as the NCNPR does. The centers’ joint endeavors may include co-authoring publications, sharing samples for study and jointly presenting research findings.

“We are pleased to work with another institute that cares about the safety and quality of natural products,” said Ikhlas Khan, NCNPR director. “We’re hoping this global collaboration will produce more research on new products that will be at the forefront of new medicines.”

This agreement will make sharing scientific resources and ideas for solving global health issues faster and easier. Both centers will benefit from each other’s expertise as part of the cooperation; Khan cited the NICM’s focus on clinical research and the NCNPR’s expertise in chemistry and biology as complementary disciplines.

The agreement supports the Australian government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda and Global Innovation Strategy, which advance international science and research collaboration, said Alan Bensoussan, director of the NICM.

“This is an exciting opportunity for sharing our capabilities and supporting each other’s research with interlab validations, development of intellectual property and clinical testing of products,” Bensoussan said. “We look forward to future exchanges.”

Since 2000, more than 200 visiting scientists from around the world have come to the NCNPR as part of these research exchanges.

“These partnerships the NCNPR fosters not only help to spread the benefits of research, but they promote international goodwill and collaboration,” said David D. Allen, dean of the UM School of Pharmacy.

Pharmacy School and Diabetes Patients Collaborate on Research

Researchers invite people with condition to contribute to ongoing project

Participants discuss issues important to them in treating and managing diabetes during the recent conference in Oxford. Photo by David Allen III

OXFORD, Miss. – Capping off nearly a year of discussions with people who have diabetes and diabetes stakeholders across the state, researchers from the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy invited them all to a meeting in Oxford to generate diabetes research questions as part of a research initiative.

Researchers involved in the project, called “PaRTICIpate in Diabetes Self-Management Research Collaborative: A Conference Series,” invited people with diabetes to a series of meetings throughout northern Mississippi to ask how they manage their symptoms and to help them manage their condition. All participants were invited to the culminating meeting in late June.

“The synergy of having people from all these different communities talking to one another meant that they came up with totally new and novel ideas for diabetes care,” said Meagen Rosenthal, assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacy Administration and co-lead investigator for the project.

The patients’ discussions also underscored ways in which different communities approach diabetes prevention and management. When a participant discovered that some health resources in her community were not available in another, she and others began brainstorming ways to share the resources.

At the end of the meeting, the researchers and graduate students assisting them had more than enough data and suggestions to begin narrowing down their list of research questions.

“Now that we have these questions, the next step is to figure out how we will keep the patients engaged,” said Erin Holmes, associate professor of pharmacy administration and co-lead investigator. “We want their input on what is important to them and how we can potentially work together to move these solutions forward.”

Once the questions are finalized, the researchers will present their information to clinicians and stakeholders in several Mississippi communities in hopes of partnering to leverage the research into something greater. They also will ask patients to weigh in on which questions they are most eager to see answered.

“We want the patients to be involved, start to finish, as much as they want to be,” Rosenthal said.

As part of the researchers’ objective to ensure patients benefited from the experience, a dietician and a pharmacist attended the meeting to offer advice about how to manage diabetes symptoms, as well as to dispel myths about the disease.

“We wanted to make sure that we were not just taking from communities, but that we were giving back,” Rosenthal said. “What patients said they needed was more knowledge and more health resources.”

The feedback was tremendous, and patients are eager to remain engaged with the project, Holmes said.

“I think they feel like they learned a lot and they contributed a lot,” she said. “They played the most important role in this, and my impression is that they felt like they made a difference.”

This project was funded through a Eugene Washington PCORI Engagement Award, No. 3335, from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute.

Pharmacy Professor Honored with Educational Innovation Award

Jamie Wagner praised for effort to improve focus and understanding in classroom settings

Jamie Wagner

OXFORD, Miss. – A University of Mississippi pharmacy professor received the 2017 Innovations in Continuing Pharmacy Education Award from the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy at its annual meeting Sunday (July 16) in Nashville.

Jamie Wagner, a clinical assistant professor of pharmacy practice, was awarded for a continuing education activity she created that uses polling technology to help an audience retain information and remain engaged. The award honors an individual who develops and demonstrates an original technique to promote pharmacy-related learning.

Wagner’s activity, called “Use of audience response technology to improve participation, understanding and comprehension of content within a HIV pharmacotherapy CPE activity,” was selected by the AACP’s Section of Continuing Professional Development.

“This award helped give me confidence to continue striving for more innovative techniques in my teaching and presentations,” Wagner said.

The awards committee called the technique “a truly an innovative program with creative use of audience response software.”

“Dr. Wagner put forth great effort and care in the design and implementation of therapeutic content to meet the programmatic targets and intended audience,” said Seena Haines, chair of the Department of Pharmacy Practice at the UM School of Pharmacy. “This is a well-deserved honor.”

UM and Jackson State Partner to Further Pharmacy Education

Preferred Admission Program offers JSU students spots in professional program

The UM School of Pharmacy is partnering with Jackson State University to offer qualified JSU students admission to the pharmacy school. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. ­­­– In an effort to provide more opportunities for aspiring pharmacists, the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy and Jackson State University have collaborated to create the Preferred Admission Program, which offers qualified JSU students admission to the UM pharmacy school.

“We saw a need to allow students around the state to complete their pre-pharmacy requirements closer to home, and in some cases, at a lower cost,” said David Gregory, associate dean for academic affairs at the School of Pharmacy. “Additionally, we are both hoping to enhance the number of students in our applicant pool.”

As per the agreement, JSU students who perform well in pre-pharmacy coursework and are involved in service activities may be admitted to the School of Pharmacy after the first semester of their freshman year. The program is set to begin this fall, with the first JSU applicants coming to the Ole Miss campus in 2019 to begin work on their Pharm.D.

Pre-health professions students from Jackson State University visit the UM School of Pharmacy earlier this year for a tour of campus and to work on a compounding activity. Photo by Chelsea Bennett

“We are elated that our bright and dedicated students have an opportunity to engage in such a prestigious program,” said Richard A. Aló, dean of the JSU College of Science, Engineering and Technology. “We look forward to witnessing the impact this partnership will have on their lives and the field of public health.”

Students admitted via the Preferred Admission Program will be on the School of Pharmacy’s standard graduation track and will be held to the pharmacy school’s academic and service expectations. The school will maintain its class size of 115 students in each of its four Pharm.D. years.

Kandis Backus

The partnership is “aligned with the university’s priorities of excellence, as well as with our mission,” UM Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter said.

“This expanded access to professional pharmacy education is an important step toward promoting STEM education and impacting the lives, health and well-being of Mississippians.”

Kandis Backus attended JSU as an undergrad and received her Pharm.D. at UM in 2017. During one of Gregory’s visits to JSU, she came along to share her experience at Ole Miss with JSU pre-pharmacy students.

“The tireless pursuit of students’ dreams is common to both schools,” Backus said. “Ole Miss wants students to succeed, and they work to help students graduate.”

This partnership comes in the midst of a statewide pharmacist shortage, which contributes to a stable job market for those graduating with Doctor of Pharmacy degrees. Mississippi has the third-highest shortage of pharmacists in the nation, according to the most recent data from the Pharmacist Demand Indicator.

“We are committed to doing all we can to make sure bright and compassionate students have the opportunity to contribute to the health care landscape,” said David D. Allen, dean of the School of Pharmacy. “This partnership is a step toward ensuring the future of our essential profession.”

Pharmacy Professors Named Distinguished Teaching Scholars

Awards recognize exceptional dedication to education and student service

Kim Adcock, professor of pharmacy practice, also works with children in her role as director of pediatric clinical research at the UM Medical Center. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – Four professors in the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy have been recognized as Distinguished Teaching Scholars for a three-year term. This honor recognizes exceptional teachers and colleagues who promote effective teaching and learning.

The recipients are Kim Adcock, professor of pharmacy practice; Robert Doerksen, associate professor of medicinal chemistry; Erin Holmes, associate professor of pharmacy administration; and John Rimoldi, professor of medicinal chemistry.

Besides teaching in the Department of Pharmacy Practice, Adcock is the department’s director of faculty and academic affairs, as well as a professor in the School of Medicine’s Department of Pediatrics at the UM Medical Center.

Robert Doerksen

“Dr. Adcock consistently seeks innovative ways to improve our courses and to provide meaningful learning experiences,” said Seena Haines, chair of the Department of Pharmacy Practice.

 

“She not only applies this commitment to teaching excellence to her own course contributions, but works on a daily basis to enhance colleagues’ teaching skills, improve the quality of course offerings and increase involvement in scholarship related to teaching.”

Adcock’s passion for teaching and research is evident in her interactions with students and in her active promotion of the pharmacy profession, Haines said.

Doerksen joined the School of Pharmacy faculty in 2004 and was the winner of the 2011 and 2016 Faculty Service Awards.

Erin Holmes

Veena Gadepalli, a former Ole Miss graduate student, said Doerksen influenced her in nearly every aspect during her time in the pharmacy school, saying he was an inspiration for the professional she wanted to become.

“Robert’s passion for teaching is incredible,” said David Colby, associate professor of medicinal chemistry. “Just listening to him lecture and present is stunning as he effortlessly incorporates humor and wit into highly complex topics.

 

“Robert continually strives to provide instruction and content at the highest level.”

This is Holmes’ second consecutive Distinguished Teaching Scholar recognition. She was also honored with the 2012 Friend of the Student Award from the pharmacy student body.

John Bentley, chair of the pharmacy administration department, called Holmes an “outstanding educator with a contagious enthusiasm” that is well known throughout the school.

“Her commitment to the school, the profession of pharmacy and the academic discipline of pharmacy

John Rimoldi, who recently received the university’s 2017 Elsie M. Hood Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award, is renowned on campus for teaching excellence and exceptional student engagement. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

administration is remarkable,” Bentley said. “Dr. Holmes is a wonderful colleague and a valued member of our team. She’s an academic triple threat: outstanding in teaching, research and service.”

Rimoldi was awarded the university’s 2017 Elsie M. Hood Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award for teaching excellence and exceptional student engagement, as well as the pharmacy school’s 2017 PY1 Teacher of the Year. This is his third consecutive Distinguished Teaching Scholar award.

 

“John is one of the very best educators that we have in the school, and his commitment to student learning is really unparalleled,” said Kristie Willett, chair of the biomolecular sciences department. “He is an incredible asset to our department, school and university.”

Willett went on to say that Rimoldi was “foundational” for her own teaching methodology in the early stages of her career. She points to his commitment to students and his unique instructional delivery as especially exceptional.

Natural Products Center, USDA Team to Create Natural Insect Repellents

Goal is to find safer alternatives to harsh synthetic chemicals

Charles Cantrell, a research chemist with the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service, examines a burning dried male flower from a breadfruit tree, which people in some parts of the world burn to repel mosquitoes and other biting insects. Photo courtesy USDA-ARS photographer Peggy Greb

OXFORD, Miss. – An ongoing partnership between the Natural Products Utilization Research Unit at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the University of Mississippi’s National Center for Natural Products Research is looking to nature to develop environmentally safe chemicals to manage pests.

The collaboration includes roughly a dozen research projects dedicated to creating natural agrochemicals, such as insecticides, fungicides and herbicides. Charles Cantrell, a research chemist with the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service, works with the NCNPR, a unit of the UM School of Pharmacy, to identify these natural sources that may prove useful as insect repellents.

“There is really a consumer demand for more natural insect repellents that are safer and better for the environment,” Cantrell said.

This partnership began around 2005 when Charles Bryson, an ARS botanist from Stoneville, came to the NCNPR with an idea. He told of how his grandfather would put clippings of American beautyberry, a plant native to Mississippi, in the harnesses of his stock animals while they were in his fields.

The plant repelled horseflies from the animals and repelled mosquitoes from the farmer when he rubbed its crushed leaves onto his skin.

The investigation into this particular remedy led to the discovery of a chemical called callicarpenal that was proven to repel bugs, but was ultimately too expensive for mass production. Since then, the natural products center has actively tested folk and traditional botanical remedies for repelling insects in hopes of finding chemicals that can be made into natural repellents.

“No natural repellent currently on the market is as effective as the two best synthetic repellents, DEET and picaridin,” said Stephen Duke, ARS research leader of the Natural Products Utilization Research Unit. “Finding a highly effective, all-natural insect repellent is important to many members of the public.”

One potential source of natural insect repellent is the breadfruit tree, which is native to Hawaii. The breadfruit flower repels nearby mosquitoes when dried and burned. Scientists from the National Tropical Botanical Garden in Hawaii approached the NCNPR to find out why and how this works.

To begin this study, Cantrell’s team first proved that burning the breadfruit repelled mosquitoes, and then identified the specific fatty acids in the smoke that caused this effect. The lab is working with commercial partners interested in developing these fatty acids into all-natural insect repellents.

Before the product becomes commercially available, Cantrell’s lab or the commercial partner must register the product with the Environmental Protection Agency.

Amber Reichley, a physical science technician in Charles Cantrell’s USDA Natural Products Utilization Research Unit laboratory at the National Center for Natural Products Research, prepares saffron extract for studies aimed at finding natural insect repellents. UM photo by Sydney Slotkin DuPriest

“One of the advantages of the chemicals in the breadfruit is that they can be marketed as natural products,” Cantrell said. “We do create synthetic versions of chemicals sometimes, just to improve their activity, but a lot of companies are looking for all-natural insect repellents.”

Once Cantrell’s lab identifies a potential natural repellent, he sends it to Abbas Ali, a research scientist in the natural products center, who tests the compound to see if it’s effective.

“Our goal is to find a natural alternative to DEET,” Ali said. “We are looking for something that will be safer for children.”

The university recently filed a patent application for a new natural insect repellent and is seeking a development and commercialization partner.

Another insect repellent study in progress at NCNPR uses sweetgrass, a plant native to the northern U.S. and southern Canada. Because the grass has a sweet scent, it is particularly well-suited for a commercial product.

“Local native people would braid the grass and wear it around their neck or store it in their clothing,” Cantrell said. “It gives off just enough of the chemical to repel mosquitoes, and you don’t even have to burn it.”

Not all research projects come from knowledge of traditional practices. Sometimes scientists will gather plants from around the world and conduct random screenings to test them for beneficial chemicals.

Besides finding properties for agrochemicals, these tests can also lead to the discovery of new drugs.

“The Agricultural Research Service has been a great partner of ours,” said Ikhlas Khan, NCNPR director. “One of the benefits of having USDA, NCNPR and the university faculty all in the School of Pharmacy is that discoveries from our combined resources and expertise can benefit multiple areas.”

Record Number of UM Pharmacy Students Matched with Residencies

New graduates will help improve patient care throughout Mississippi and across the country

Kandis Backus, a 2017 UM pharmacy graduate, is congratulated at Commencement by Buddy Ogletree, clinical assistant professor of pharmacy practice. Backus is completing a community pharmacy residency at Walgreens in Jackson. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy’s 2017 graduating class included 31 graduates who will go on to complete a pharmacy residency – the largest number in school history.

Of those who applied for residencies, 72.5 percent were matched, compared to the national average of 69 percent, as reported by National Matching Service Inc.

Thirteen of the 31 matched students will work at rotation sites within the state, mostly in Jackson or surrounding cities, with others in Oxford, Southaven and Tupelo. Out-of-state matches included 12 states, ranging as far as Colorado and Maine.

“I’m excited for what the future has in store for our Class of 2017 and am proud of our residency placement,” said Katie McClendon, assistant dean for student services at the pharmacy school’s Jackson campus. “Our graduates will have an impact in Mississippi and across the U.S. in institutional, community and administration residencies.

“Residency training will prepare them for a job in the ever-evolving health care field, where they will improve care for individual patients and populations.”

Much like medical students, pharmacy students go through a residency matching process in their fourth and final year of the professional pharmacy program, ranking their top choices and interviewing with potential residencies in a variety of settings.

McClendon helps students apply for these residencies, which typically last a year, during which pharmacy graduates receive general training. Some pharmacy residents elect to complete a second year to pursue more specific interests and specializations.

Leslie Davis

Kandis Backus, a 2017 pharmacy graduate from Chicago, matched to a community pharmacy residency at Walgreens in Jackson. This residency includes a rotation at Open Arms Healthcare Center, a clinic that specializes in HIV and AIDS prevention and treatment.

“I am excited to do this residency because it combines three things that I love: HIV treatment and prevention, research and retail pharmacy,” Backus said.

Backus has been working with the clinic for over two years. She said she was happy to find out that she matched with them and looks forward to being an “actual pharmacist” at this clinic.

Patients also benefit from residencies, as they receive care from highly educated new professionals.

Leslie Davis, a recently graduated pharmacist from St. Louis, matched with the UM Medical Center. Davis said her many great experiences at UMMC as a pharmacy student made her excited to move forward as a resident there.

She is particularly interested in pediatrics and looks forward to rotations at Batson Children’s Hospital.

“I love working with kids,” Davis said. “They are so resilient and always want to get better as fast as possible. I love being able to talk with them and go through the whole process with them and their parents.”

Jordan Kelley

Jordan Kelley, from Charleston, matched with University of Kentucky HealthCare in Lexington. The process of applying was strenuous, but Kelley said she enjoyed traveling to the sites she was considering.

Kentucky was her first choice, and she was “overjoyed” when she found out she matched there.

“I’m primarily interested in infectious diseases, but what I love about Kentucky is that they have every aspect of pharmacy you could want to explore,” Kelley said. “I can research infectious diseases while also interacting with oncology and HIV patients. All of those opportunities will be afforded to me while I’m there.”

Pharmacy School Recognizes Students with Honors Banquet

Event honored students' scholastic and leadership achievements

Newly initiated members of the Rho Ci Society take the Rho Chi pledge during a ceremony hosted by the UM School of Pharmacy. UM photo by Sydney Slotkin DuPriest

OXFORD, Miss. – Two University of Mississippi chapters of pharmacy honors societies co-hosted a banquet last weekend to initiate new members into both societies and recognize the outstanding academics and leadership of existing society members.

The UM chapter of the Rho Chi Society, which honors pharmacy academic achievement, inducted 22 second-year pharmacy students, 15 graduate students and two faculty members. Pharmacy students must be in the top 20 percent of their class academically to be considered for Rho Chi.

“Being inducted into Rho Chi provides opportunities for pharmacy students to serve their colleagues, communities and patients,” said Erin Holmes, associate professor of pharmacy administration and the Rho Chi faculty treasurer. “We’re so proud to see our very deserving students and colleagues inducted into both of these prestigious societies.”

Phi Lambda Sigma honors those who demonstrate leadership in pharmacy, and the Ole Miss chapter inducted 27 students and a faculty member. Student inductees into Phi Lambda Sigma must be nominated by their peers who are members of the organization.

Five students – Lauren Daigle, Allie Michelle Funderburk, Jenn Miller, Mary O’Keefe and Meghan Elise Wagner – were inducted into both Phi Lambda Sigma and Rho Chi.

“Both of these societies represent the vast amount of talent, dedication and heart the School of Pharmacy has to offer,” Wagner said. “I hope to not only learn from my peers and their experiences, but to help both societies continue to grow the profession of pharmacy and pharmacists’ roles as health care professionals.”

Leadership development is an important facet of membership in these honor societies, said Lauren Bloodworth, clinical associate professor of pharmacy practice and a Phi Lambda Sigma faculty adviser. 

“My favorite part of being involved with Phi Lambda Sigma is watching the students’ leadership skills evolve over time,” Bloodworth said. “They begin their journey with limited experience and gradually develop skills that help them flourish by the end of their professional school tenure.”

Students inducted into the Rho Chi Society were:

Christopher Bishop, a second-year student, from Rienzi; Alix Cawthon, second-year, from Abita Springs, Louisiana; Cody Craven, second-year, from St. Charles, Missouri; Lauren Daigle, second-year, from Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Jerrica Eaton, second-year, from Athens, Alabama; Sarah Eldred, second-year, from Slidell, Louisiana; Allie Michelle Funderburk, second-year, from Olive Branch; Taylor Gish, second-year, from Jupiter, Florida; Megan Harlow, second-year, from Okolona; Hinton Havens, second-year, from Bolton; Madeline Hudson, second-year, from Norcross, Georgia; Rachel Larry, second-year, from Mobile, Alabama; Emily Lewis, second-year, from Valley Park, Missouri; Jenn Miller, second-year, from High Ridge, Missouri; Erin Moore, second-year, from Des Moines, Iowa; Mary O’Keefe and Meghan Elise Wagner, both second-year, from Oxford; Neel Patel, second-year, from Meridian; Lauren Pohl, second-year, from St. Louis; Shassidy Ramshur, second-year, from Columbia; Kelsey Raymer, second-year, from Lexington, Tennessee; and Cain Young, second-year, from Eupora.

Graduate students inducted into the Rho Chi Society were: Mohamed Albadry, a student in biomolecular sciences, from Giza, Egypt; Dennis Carty, in biomolecular sciences, from Royse City, Texas; Michael Cunningham, in biomolecular sciences, Jagrati Jain, in biomolecular sciences, and Jiaxiang Zhang, in pharmaceutics, all from Oxford; Karthik Yadav Janga, in pharmaceutics, from Warangal, India; Venkata Raman Kallakunta, in pharmaceutics from Secunderabad, India; Prit Lakhani, in pharmaceutics from Mumbai, India; Apoorva Panda, in pharmaceutics, from New Delhi, India; Abidah Parveen, in biomolecular sciences, from Rawalpindi, Pakistan; Anitha Police, in pharmaceutics, from Kurnool Dist, India; Vijay Kumar Shankar, graduate student in pharmaceutics, from Bangalore, India; Munia Sowaileh, graduate student in biomolecular sciences, from Horn Lake; and Xingyou Ye, in pharmaceutics, from Jiangyin, China.

Faculty members inducted into the Rho Chi Society were: Surendra Jain, a senior research and development biologist; and Meagan Rosenthal, an assistant professor of pharmacy administration.

Students inducted into Phi Lambda Sigma were:

Carly Baker, a second-year student from Pope; Jesse Bowen, second-year, from Starkville; Anna Blair Brown, fourth-year, from Madison; Samuel Isaac Breite, second-year, from Cape Girardeau, Missouri; Lauren Daigle, second-year, from Baton Rouge, Louisiana; T’Keyah Davis, second-year, from Walls; Victoria Frame, third-year, from Winter Park, Florida; Allie Michelle Funderburk, second-year, from Olive Branch; Alexander Gochenauer, second-year, from Republic, Missouri; Sage Brooke Greenlee, second-year, from Kilmichael; Michelle My Ha, second-year, from Moss Point; Mallory Beatrice Harris, fourth-year, and Austin Russell Morrison, third-year, both from Ridgeland; Hayden Anthony Hendrix, third-year, from Maben; Ashley Renee Hill, second-year, from Saucier; Ashley Erin Lock, third-year, and Regan Nicole Tyler, second-year, both from Collierville, Tennessee; May Ly, third-year, from Gautier; Andrew Ardis Mays, fourth-year, from Southaven; Jenn Miller, second-year, from High Ridge, Missouri; Laura Nerren, Mary O’Keefe and Meghan Elise Wagner, all second-year students, from Oxford; Brandon Plaisance, third-year, from Magnolia; Lindsay Thomas, fourth-year, and Jenny Nguyen Tran, second-year, both of Hattiesburg; Dylan B. Ware, second-year, from Pickens; and Payton Alexa Winghart, second-year, from Huntsville, Alabama.

Anastasia B. Jenkins, a clinical assistant professor of pharmacy practice, also was inducted into Phi Lambda Sigma.

UM Pharmacy Students to Present at Veterinary Conference

Both are leaders in campus Rebel Vets

Alexandria Gochenauer. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – Two UM School of Pharmacy students are to speak this weekend at the Annual Veterinary Pharmacy Conference in Memphis, Tennessee, hosted by the American College of Veterinary Pharmacists.

Second-year pharmacy students Robert Ross and Alexandria Gochenauer, who are both interested in veterinary pharmacy, were recommended to speak at the April 20-22 conference by Erin Holmes, associate professor of pharmacy administration.

“Alex and Robert are very passionate about the practice of veterinary pharmacy and have developed a great relationship with ACVP,” Holmes said. “They’ve already written several articles designed for veterinarians, veterinary pharmacists and pet owners as part of the ACVP’s quarterly newsletter.”

Ross, a native of Homer Glen, Illinois, helped create the university’s student chapter of ACVP, called Rebel Vets, and is the organization’s president-elect. He will present at the conference on the treatment and prevention of diabetes in cats and dogs.

“I’m fascinated by the complexity of diabetes and how prevalent it is in our country,” Ross said. “I was interested to see that it’s very common in pets, just as it is in humans.”

Robert Ross. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

Ross is weighing his career options but is interested in the possibility of working in a veterinary hospital.

“I see this conference as a great opportunity to be able to meet people with similar interests from around the country,” Ross said.

Gochenauer, of Republic, Missouri, also played a key a role in establishing Rebel Vets and has served as its secretary for two years.

“I was lucky to be offered this opportunity, and I am very excited to break into the world of veterinary pharmacy,” Gochenauer said.

She will present on cancer therapeutics in cats and dogs, focusing on available drugs and treatments for the disease in these animals. Upon graduation, Gochenauer hopes to complete a veterinary pharmacy residency and eventually work in a veterinary teaching hospital.

“These students’ working knowledge of veterinary pharmacy sets them apart as speakers for the upcoming conference,” Holmes said. “As a new organization in the School of Pharmacy, I’m very excited for the opportunities that are emerging for the Ole Miss Rebel Vets, and I could not be prouder of all they have accomplished.”

Pharmacy Professor Wins Prestigious Elsie M. Hood Teaching Award

Students call John Rimoldi 'enthusiastic' and 'altruistic'

John Rimoldi lectures to a group of UM pharmacy students. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – John Rimoldi, professor of medicinal chemistry in the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy, is the winner of the 2017 Elsie M. Hood Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award.

This award recognizes one Ole Miss professor each year who embodies teaching excellence and exceptional student engagement. Students and faculty submit letters of nomination, and honorees are usually nominated many times over before winning.

“I am deeply humbled to be in the company of past Elsie M. Hood award recipients, many of whom I know and consider to be teaching champions in their field,” said Rimoldi, who accepted the award April 7 at the university’s annual Honors Day Convocation. “It’s heartwarming to know that many students over the years took time out of their demanding schedules to write a letter of nomination.”

Third-year pharmacy student Meredith Oliver, one of Rimoldi’s nominators, praised his “infectious” enthusiasm and his ability to connect lectures with real-world health issues.

“The entire biomolecular sciences department exudes a childlike spirit of discovery and innovation that I believe is a direct result of his leadership and innovative pharmaceutical research,” Oliver said. “His passion for medicinal chemistry engenders respect and instills a fierce curiosity in his students.

“In thinking about pursuing a career in academia myself, ​Dr. Rimoldi’s teaching certainly​ serves as a model for me.”

Rimoldi has taught in the pharmacy school since 1995. His previous teaching honors include the UM Faculty Achievement Award for Outstanding Teaching and Scholarship, the UM Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching and Mentoring, three Pharmaceutical Sciences PY1 Teacher of Year awards and two consecutive three-year terms as a Distinguished Teaching Scholar in the School of Pharmacy.

“John is one of the very best educators that we have at the university and is highly deserving of this award,” said Kristie Willett, chair of the Department of BioMolecular Sciences, which houses the division of medicinal chemistry. “His commitment to student learning is really unparalleled.”

Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter (right) presents the 2017 Elsie M. Hood Outstanding Teacher Award to John Rimoldi during the Honors Day ceremony at the Ford Center. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

In presenting the award, Chancellor Jeff Vitter called Rimoldi a “standout among other professors.”

“(He) is known as a professor who not only engages his students with the curriculum he teaches, but also leaves a lasting impact, which steers students towards lifelong learning,” Vitter said. “He is the standard we all should aspire to for teaching excellence and student engagement.”

Rimoldi is vice president and co-founder of Paradox Pharmaceuticals Inc., which develops new drugs for treating cancer and heart disease in humans and animals. He has published close to 70 research and teaching publications on synthetic, medicinal and environmental chemistry.

“John’s passion for teaching is contagious and his dedication to connecting with students contributes to the unique, close-knit environment of our school,” said David D. Allen, UM pharmacy dean. “He’s one of the most exceptional educators I’ve had the pleasure to work with.”

Besides being a professor of medicinal chemistry and environmental toxicology, Rimoldi has served as a member of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College faculty since 2013. He is a research professor in the Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, director of research and graduate affairs in the Department of BioMolecular Sciences and director of the Chemistry and DM/PK Core Laboratory associated with the university’s NIH-COBRE program grant.

“Dr. Rimoldi’s altruistic approach is welcoming in an increasingly competitive academic environment,” said Dennis Carty, a doctoral candidate in pharmaceutical sciences. “He always finds time for those in need of academic or life guidance. I’m honored to have been mentored by such a great intellect and friend.”

The late Ron Borne, professor of medicinal chemistry and winner of the 1972 Elsie M. Hood award, mentored Rimoldi, who said he wished Borne could share this moment with him.

“I sincerely believe I am the beneficiary of each classroom experience or lecture,” Rimoldi said. “It’s easy to be passionate about the things you enjoy and love to do.”