Pharmacy School Develops Research Visioning Plan, Encourages Collaboration Through Brown Bag Series

OXFORD, Miss. – To drive research collaboration and focus within the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy, as well as the broader university and its Medical Center in Jackson, the pharmacy school has developed a Research Visioning Strategic Plan.

Its missions range from drug discovery to public health research.

“Our pharmacy school is highly ranked, and many of its research programs are nationally and internationally renowned and respected,” said David D. Allen, the school’s dean. “I think it’s vital that we have a plan to focus our broad research enterprise.”

To develop such a plan, Allen engaged the school’s faculty and research scientists in a process he calls “research visioning” and appointed a steering committee to oversee the project.“We have numerous strengths in our scholarship enterprise at Ole Miss,” Allen said. “Our approach for this plan was to focus on specific strengths, so we can move forward when new resources are available. The key to its success is that the discussions and decisions are driven by faculty, research scientists and key stakeholders.”

As part of the research visioning process, a survey was administered to all faculty and research scientists in the school, as well as its key external stakeholders, to help determine its research strengths and opportunities for collaboration within the school and the broader Ole Miss community. In February, faculty and research scientists from the Oxford and Jackson campuses came together for a research summit to further develop the plan.

From the survey and summit, a Research Visioning diagram was created to outline the vision, mission, strengths and targeted impact of the school’s research. In addition, a Research Visioning Statement was developed – a milestone for the school.

“This is the first time in the School of Pharmacy’s history that a research vision statement has been crafted,” Allen said.

The statement reads: “The University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy will be globally recognized for its multidisciplinary research in the discovery, development and translation of innovative solutions to health care problems.”

In conjunction with the plan and statement, the school has created a series of Brown Bag discussions focusing on key areas of research: cancer, cardiometabolic disorders, neuroscience/drugs of abuse and infectious diseases. The discussions are taking place on both Oxford and Jackson campuses.

“The Brown Bags are a great way to facilitate intercampus and intracampus research collaboration,” Allen said. “We are encouraging any interested investigators to attend.”

The Brown Bags begin Sept. 5 and will be held at noon every Wednesday, except holidays. Investigators wishing to participate in the discussions should report to Room 1018 of the Thad Cochran Research Center on the Oxford campus or to Room 101 of the Pharmacy Building on the Jackson campus, where video-conferencing technology is available.

“The aim is to provide a relaxed and informal atmosphere for exchange of ideas centered on selected disease problems,” said Larry Walker, director of the National Center for Natural Products Research and facilitator for the Sept. 5 Brown Bag, which focuses on cancer.

“As faculty pause from their busy schedules to hear an introduction to what other faculty are pursuing, or to discuss together recent developments in their fields, often healthy critiques, sharing of equipment and techniques, new collaborations and even new research directions can evolve,” Walker said.

For more information on the Research Discussion Brown Bags, contact For more information on the School of Pharmacy, visit