Student Pharmacists ‘Bowl for Breath’ in Cystic Fibrosis Fundraiser

Dr. Charlie Hufford's Rollers team named for former pharmacy administrator and avid bowler

The Dr. Charlie Hufford’s Rollers bowling team, made up of Ole Miss student pharmacists, raised more than $3,000 for cystic fibrosis research at a recent fundraising event with a 1950s theme. Photo courtesy of Gaston Box

OXFORD, Miss. – University of Mississippi student pharmacists bowled for a cause recently as a group of them formed a team for the Bowl for Breath fundraiser to support the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

The team finished second overall in the Oct. 9 fundraising competition for the most money raised, finishing with $3,422.

A local resident’s son who has cystic fibrosis inspired the student pharmacists to participate, said Gaston Box, a second professional year student who serves as the School of Pharmacy student body’s interprofessional practice and education liaison. Those diagnosed with cystic fibrosis have a buildup of mucus in essential organs, particularly in the lungs, which can cause breathing problems, and in the pancreas, which can cause digestive issues.

“Our bowling team wanted to raise money to help him and so many others fight this terrible disease,” Box said. “Multiple teams bowled against each other for fun, but with one common goal to fight cystic fibrosis.”

The late Charlie Hufford was a bowling enthusiast and served as inspiration for the team, made up of UM student pharmacists. Submitted photo

The team name, “Dr. Charlie Hufford’s Rollers,” was inspired by the late Charlie Hufford, the pharmacy school’s former associate dean for research and graduate programs. Hufford was a talented bowler who bowled more than 30 perfect games.

“I am so proud of our student pharmacists for supporting such a worthy cause,” said David D. Allen, UM pharmacy dean. “Naming the bowling team after Charlie is a wonderful way to honor his impact on the school and his love of bowling.”

The team consisted of six student pharmacists: first-year students Mary Morgan Mohamed and Alex Dixon, both of Yazoo City, and Rachel Wooten, of Flora, and second-year students Rachell Denney, of Oxford; Nason Wise, of Grenada; and Box, of Madison.

“We knew exactly what to name our team after Dean Allen told us about Dr. Hufford,” Box said. “By naming our bowling team ‘Dr. Charlie Hufford’s Rollers,’ we were able to support cystic fibrosis research while honoring a man who was dearly loved by the School of Pharmacy.”

Donations for the fundraiser can still be made at https://olemisspharmacybowling.passioncff.org/. The students also held a raffle with prizes donated from different businesses to raise money before the event.

“The community of Oxford was so giving and kind,” Box said. “Without our local businesses, the raffle wouldn’t have been possible. I hope those who participated in the raffle and donated felt that they were part of our fight to end cystic fibrosis.”

Symposium on Opioid Crisis Brings Law and Pharmacy Together

UM students from both schools learn about interprofessional approach to challenge

Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood speaks to law and pharmacy students during the interprofessional symposium regarding the opioid crisis in the state. Photo by Christina Steube/School of Law

OXFORD, Miss. – More than 115 people die each day in the United States from opioid overdoses, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

These statistics constitute a crisis, and the University of Mississippi schools of Law and Pharmacy are working together to combat that crisis in an interdisciplinary manner.

Last week, the schools collaborated for an education symposium on “An Interprofessional Approach to the Opioid Crisis in Mississippi.” More than 300 law and pharmacy students attended the event, which included a mock trial in front of Roy Percy, magistrate judge for the Northern District of Mississippi, and a keynote speech by Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood.

“A multidisciplinary approach is great and our university here is the first I’ve seen do this, so y’all are on the front end of addressing the crisis,” Hood said. “These epidemics come and go, but we have yet to see an epidemic affect such a broad cross-section of people.”

Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter provided opening comments at the symposium and commended the schools for proactively addressing the opioid epidemic.

“By working together, we are more likely to understand the full breadth of this challenge and to find innovative solutions,” Vitter said.

Symposium panelists discuss the importance of an interdisciplinary approach to the opioid crisis. Photo by Christina Steube/School of Law

The afternoon panel featured Lauren Bloodworth, clinical associate professor of pharmacy practice; Dr. Kenneth Cleveland, executive director of the Mississippi State Medical Board of Licensure; Amanda Criswell, nurse practitioner and instructor of nursing at the University of Mississippi Medical Center; and Julie Mitchell, an attorney at Mitchell Day Law Firm in Ridgeland.

Law professor Larry Pittman and pharmacy practice professor Kim Adcock worked over the last year to organize the event to ensure that both professional schools developed an understanding of how different professions are navigating the opioid crisis.

“This interprofessional mock trial and symposium exemplified the importance of interdisciplinary interactions and provided a springboard for our students to begin working together to learn from, about and with each other,” Adcock said.

The goal of the event was to provide students and future practitioners a foundation to make the best professional decisions related to pain management.

“Interprofessional education and collaboration are very important because such efforts are necessary for resolving many of the pressing issues that we as a nation will continue to encounter,” Pittman said.

UM law student Sammy Brown serves as an attorney during the mock trial portion of the interprofessional collaboration between the schools of Law and Pharmacy. Photo by Christina Steube/School of Law

The School of Pharmacy engages in regular interprofessional education with many of the health sciences schools on the UMMC campus, where upper-level pharmacy students receive training, and the School of Law engages in interdisciplinary endeavors with undergraduate programs and other legal entities. However, this is one of the first such events where the two schools collaborated to address a national crisis.

“Law is inextricable from the profession of pharmacy,” said David D. Allen, UM pharmacy dean. “This is an incredible way to demonstrate to our future pharmacy, nursing and law professionals that together they have the power to make real contributions that can lessen or end the opioid crisis.”

Allen and Susan Duncan, dean of the law school, both expressed hope that the seminar would show students that interprofessional collaboration has potential to create solutions for any number of professional issues.

“We are educating future leaders, and it’s so important that they understand the importance in collaborating with those of other disciplines,” Duncan said. “Students in professional schools work well with each other, but it is vital for them to learn from their peers in other schools who can provide a different perspective.”

McLean Institute Grant Award to Fund Community Engagement

Hearin Foundation provides support for research and service efforts

The University of Mississippi’s McLean Institute for Public Service and Community Engagement welcomed a new group of outstanding students from around the globe this fall, representing majors from across the university. First row from left, Albert Nylander, Hannah Newbold, Navodit Paudel, Kristina Fields, J.R. Love, Laura Martin; second row from left, Michael Mott, Allison Borst, Zachary Pugh, Joshua Baker, Kendall Walker, Curtis Hill; third row from left, Bryce Williams, Elena Bauer, Adam Franco, Arielle Rogers, Virginia Parkinson, Anna Katherine Burress, Ashley Bowen.

OXFORD, Miss – A grant from the Robert M. Hearin Support Foundation for the University of Mississippi’s McLean Institute for Public Service and Community Engagement will fund research and service aimed at increasing community and economic development in Mississippi communities.

The McLean Institute welcomes a new group of outstanding students from around the globe this fall, representing majors from across the university. This scholarship opportunity serves to build actionable partnerships across the state to promote entrepreneurship and economic development.

Albert Nylander, director of the McLean Institute, professor of sociology and principal investigator for the Catalyzing Entrepreneurship and Economic Development, or CEED, program, said he is thankful for the approximately $500,000 provided by the foundation.

“The wonderful people at the Hearin Foundation continue their remarkable record of supporting university students through fellowships to make a difference throughout Mississippi,” Nylander said.

Fifteen students were selected this year to continue a nearly $2 million McLean Institute investment from the Hearin Foundation to bolster community and economic development in Mississippi. This grant will support UM students through 2021.

The CEED Initiative works with Ole Miss students and faculty to implement projects and conduct research that directly affects Mississippi communities. These students join a network of more than 50 UM students and faculty, as well as a collaboration of more than 400 community and business leaders in the state, who embarked on the first CEED project in 2014-18.

The annual entrepreneurship forums, business webinars, youth leadership programs and other activities are focused on spurring economic growth in the state.

“We are thankful to the Robert M. Hearin Support Foundation for providing the opportunity to continue working in Mississippi with business and community leaders in partnership with UM students to help move our state forward,” said J.R. Love, CEED project manager.

The program’s annual Mississippi Entrepreneurship Forum, which helps strengthen the state’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, will take place March 8, 2019, at Millsaps College in partnership with other universities throughout the state.

The CEED program supports undergraduate and graduate students and faculty members to research poverty, education, asset building, and health care in Mississippi.

“As a McLean Institute innovation fellow, I am to think critically about the issues of poverty and development in Mississippi, in particular the Delta area,” said Ashley Bowen, a master’s student in computer science from Lambert. “Through sustained community engagement, and by applying strategies in community development, I have been able to positively impact the community and develop myself professionally.”

The McLean Institute also supports faculty research projects through the CEED Initiative. Cristiane Surbeck, associate professor of civil engineering; Kate Centellas, Croft associate professor of anthropology and international studies; David Holben, professor of nutrition and hospitality management; Tejas Pandya, assistant professor of mechanical engineering; and Annie Cafer, assistant professor of sociology, all have received funds to conduct projects in Mississippi.

The 2018-19 CEED program includes students from the College of Liberal Arts and the schools of Accountancy, Applied Science, Business Administration, Engineering, Journalism and New Media, Law and Pharmacy.

Other students in the program are: Josh Baker, a junior majoring in economics from Katy, Texas; Elena Bauer, second-year law student, Freiburg, Germany; Allison Borst, junior in biological sciences and sociology, Madison; Anna Katherine Burress, junior in pharmaceutical science, Water Valley; Kristina Fields, junior in psychology, Belden; Adam Franco, senior in public policy leadership, Birmingham, Alabama; Michael Mott, junior in integrated marketing communications and Spanish, Chicago; Hannah Newbold, junior in integrated marketing communications, Roswell, Georgia; Virginia Parkinson, sophomore in marketing and corporate relations, Oxford; Navodit Paudel, junior in general business, Dhading, Nepal; Zach Pugh, sophomore in public policy leadership, Oxford; Arielle Rogers, sophomore in accountancy, Guntown; Kendall Walker, junior in communication sciences and disorders, Tupelo; and Bryce Williams, master’s student in exercise science, Ridgeland.

For more information on the McLean Institute for Public Service and Community Engagement, visit http://mclean.olemiss.edu/ or contact Albert Nylander at 662-915-2050, or nylander@olemiss.edu.

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.”

UM Scientists Work toward Natural Remedy for Bedbugs

NCNPR researchers look for safer solution in pest management

Bedbugs 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 bedbugs.

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 bedbug 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 bedbugs are tough to control, much less eradicate.

Junaid Rehman, research scientist in the NCNPR, works closely with two strains of bedbugs: 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 bedbugs, 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 bedbugs, 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 bedbugs 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 bedbugs.”

Junaid Rehman, a research scientist in the UM National Center for Natural Products Research, works to separate bedbugs 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 bedbugs are easily contained in the lab, that’s not the case in public areas. Bedbugs 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 bedbugs,” 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 bedbug cases. NCNPR researchers will continue working to make bedbug nightmares a thing of the past.

“If we can come up with a natural compound that inhibits the bedbugs’ 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.”

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/.

University Wins NSF Award for Electron Microscope

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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