Pharmacy School Honors Faculty for Research, Innovation and Service

Efforts to discover drugs to treat cardiometabolic disorders and cancer recognized

David B. Murray (left), Dale G. Nagle, Matthew W. Strum and Erin R. Holmes received awards at the School of Pharmacy's faculty retreat.

OXFORD, Miss. – The School of Pharmacy recently recognized four faculty members for excellence in research, service and instructional innovation during its annual faculty retreat.

“I am very pleased to present our faculty awards to these outstanding individuals,” said David D. Allen, the school’s dean. “We are so fortunate to have them on the School of Pharmacy’s team. Their work helps make this school the great institution that it is.”

Dale G. Nagle received the Cumberland Pharmaceuticals Inc. Faculty Research Award for his contributions to natural products research, particularly in the area of antitumor agents. For the past nine years, the pharmacognosy professor has directed a National Institutes of Health-funded study focusing on the discovery and molecular pharmacology of antitumor agents.

He has also collaborated with the Cancer Institute at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, where he initiated studies aimed at the discovery of new natural products to treat postmenopausal obesity-related breast tumors.

“I believe that the real honor in receiving the Cumberland research award is that the award gives recognition for the hard work of our dedicated research team,” Nagle said. “I am very proud of the members of my group, both past and present, and very thankful for the award.”

David B. Murray, who joined the pharmacy school’s faculty in 2008, received the New Investigator Award for his work on the structural remodeling that occurs in the heart due to stressors such as hypertension or diabetes.

“The honor in this award is being mentioned alongside some great names by some great people,” Murray said. “I was so pleased and humbled to receive it.”

Murray, an assistant professor of pharmacology, is exploring the potential use of prostaglandin inhibitors to prevent cardiac remodeling. Because this work has clinical implications for hypertensive patients, he received a four-year New Investigator Award from the American Heart Association earlier this year to continue his research.

Erin R. Holmes received the Faculty Service Award for her excellence in advising pre-pharmacy students since joining the faculty in 2008. Besides advising students throughout the year, she advises prospective students during summer orientation and family tours.

Holmes serves on the editorial board for Research in Social and Administrative Pharmacy and Journal of the American Pharmacists Association. She is a member of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, Mississippi Pharmacists Association and other professional groups.

The assistant professor of pharmacy administration also is secretary of the School of Pharmacy’s Curriculum Committee, treasurer of the school’s Rho Chi chapter and a member of the university’s Council on Community Engagement.

“I am thankful for the mentors I’ve had in my early years as a faculty member,” Holmes said. “They taught me the importance of service and served as great examples of how to do it well.”

The school’s Faculty Instructional Innovation Award went to Matthew W. Strum for his creative efforts to teach students how to use an insulin pump and record data about carbohydrate intake and insulin dosage. The exercise, dubbed “a day in life with diabetes,” is designed to overcome apprehension about dealing with patients using insulin pumps during students’ clinical rotations.

“We are preparing future pharmacy professionals,” said Strum, clinical assistant professor of pharmacy practice. “Thus, we must always remember that they will be taking care of patients. My main focus is always the patient.”

Strum is serving on the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists’ Ambulatory Care Practice and Research Network Education Steering Committee and developing education topics to be presented at ASHP’s Midyear Clinical Meeting, the largest pharmacy meeting in the world.

In addition to the faculty positions Nagle, Murray and Holmes hold in the pharmacy school’s academic departments, they hold research appointments in the school’s Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences.