Lirit Franks successfully defended her dissertation, “Pre-Clinical Drug Development of Two Novel Structural Classes of Cannabinoid Ligands: Indole Quinuclidines and Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators ” on December 9th, 2016. Congratulations Lirit!
Clark Sims successfully defended his dissertation, “Preclinical Studies of Targeted Therapy in an Infant Model of Sepsis-Induced Cardiorenal Syndrome ” on November 4th, 2016. He accepted a postdoctoral fellowship at Arkansas Children’s Nutrition Center, UAMS Department of Pediatrics. Congratulations Clark!
The department held their annual holiday party with a great turn-out.
Holiday spirit in Pharmacology/Toxicology department.
Shengyu Mu, Ph.D., Kidney Council New Investigator Award
Dr. Mu was awarded a Kidney Council New Investigator Award at the AHA Council on Hypertension, 2016.
Dr. Stolarz was awarded a PhRMA Award for her project which explored the possibility that doxorubicin directly inhibits the rhythmic contractions of lymph vessels, which remove fluid from tissues to prevent lymphedema. We have identified a FDA-approved drug as a potential anti-lymphedema medication.
Dr. Rhee received the Golden Apple Award. He was voted “Best Teacher” by the Sophomore Medical Students.
Nancy Rusch, Ph.D. and Sung Rhee, Ph.D., Red Sash recipients for 2016
Stephen, a student in Dr. MacMillan-Crow’s lab, was awarded an AHA Predoctoral Fellowship on “The Role of MitoBK Channels in Renal Cold Preservation.” Congratulations Stephen!
Dr. Owens received an Arkansas Research Alliance Fellow Award in December 2015 in recognition of sustained scientific and entrepreneurial accomplishments in Arkansas Universities.
Brenda Gannon successfully defended her dissertation, “In vivo characterization of major ‘bath salt’ constituent 3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV) in mice” on September 24, 2015. She accepted a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Congratulations Brenda!
Chris Moore, a student in Dr. Rhee’s lab, received his Ph.D. on June 15, 2015. The title of his defense was “The Role of Postsynaptic Density-95 Scaffolding in Cerebral Vasodilation: Implications for Stroke in Beta-Blocker Therapy.” Way to go Chris!
Melinda Gunnell, Research Assistant in Dr. Owen’s lab was honored with a Staff Excellence Award at this year’s College of Medicine Awards Day. Melinda Gunnell has worked for Dr. Owens in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology since 1986, providing technical and administrative support for the Center for Alcohol and Drug Abuse Studies.
Dae Song Jang, a graduate student in Dr. Basnakian’s lab and the Interdisciplinary Biomedical Sciences program, received his Ph.D. on April 21, 2015. He defended “New Endonuclease Inhibitors and Their Therapeutic Applications.”
Emily Reichard, a student in Dr. Eric Peterson’s lab, received her Ph.D. on April 13, 2015 after successfully defending her dissertation, “PEGylation of an Anti-Methamphetamine scFv: Pharmacokinetic and Neurological Implications.”
On March 13, an honorary symposium was held celebrating the career of Distinguished Professor, Jack A. Hinson, Ph.D. The day long symposium included presentations by colleagues Laura James, M.D., Jeff Moran, Ph.D., Lee Ann MacMillan-Crow, Ph.D, and Nancy Rusch, Ph.D. The keynote presentation was given by Jack Uetrecht, Ph.D., Professor and Canada Research Chair in Adverse Drug Reactions from the University of Toronto. A reception, attended by family, friends, and colleagues followed the symposium. Dr. Hinson served the department for over 25 years.
Neil Detweiler, a student in Dr. Rusch’s lab, successfully defended his PhD dissertation, “Properties and Therapeutic Potential of the Large-Conductance Calcium-Activated Potassium Channel in Pulmonary Arterial Smooth Muscle” on March 17, 2015. Dr. Detweiler accepted a post doctoral position at the University of New Mexico. Congratulations!
Ben Lieblong (mentor, Nancy Rusch) was appointed as an ASPET Washington Fellow for 2015. He will serve as an advocate to ensure public support and funding for research on Capitol Hill as well as in his home district. Lieblong received his undergraduate degree from Centenary College. His research focuses on radiation-induced heart disease as a potentially severe side effect of radiotherapy for thoracic cancers such as breast, lung, and esophageal.
Clark Sims, a third year Pharmacology student in Dr. Mayeux’s lab was the recipient of not one, but two awards this year. Sims received an AHA Predoctoral Award on “Renal microcirculatory failure in a rat pup model of pediatric sepsis.” Funding for this project began July 1, 2014. Sims also received an F31 Award for “Targeting renal perfusion and mitochondrial oxidants in a model of infant sepsis.” Funding for the F31 will begin in January 2015 for three years). Congratulations Clark!
Brenda Gannon, a Ph.D. candidate in Dr. Bill Fantegrossi’s lab, was chosen to received support from Dr. Clint Kilts’ T32 in the Psychiatric Research Institute. Way to go, Brenda!
Hay, a second year student in the Interdisciplinary Toxicology program was selected to receive support from the Systems Pharmacology and Toxicology T32 Training Grant. Hay will receive support beginning with the 2014-2015 academic year and will continue to receive support through Spring 2016. Congrats Chuck!
Fantegrossi and Singh Promoted to Rank of Associate Professor
Dr. Wenger Retirement Celebrated
On May 8, the department celebrated the pending retirement of Dr. Galen Wenger. Dr. Wenger served the department for 36 years, most recently as Vice Chair. In addition to faculty, staff and students from the department, his celebration was attended by many other colleagues, friends and family. Pictured left, Dr. Wenger is seated in the engraved chair that was presented to him at the reception, with his family surrounding him. Dr. Wenger will officially retire on June 30, 2014.
Shanthi Vadali Receives Her Ph.D.
Shanthi Vadali, a Pharmacology student in the lab of Dr. Steve Post successfully defended her Ph.D. dissertation, “Lipid Rafts Modulate Class A Scavenger Receptor Function in Macrophages” in July 2014. Way to go, Dr. Vadali!
Naeem Patil Receives Doctorate
Naeem Patil, a student in Dr. MacMillan-Crow and Dr. Mayeux’s lab, successfully defended his PhD dissertation, “Renal Mitochondrial Dysfunction: Novel Therapeutic Targets to Treat Sepsis Induced Acute Kidney Injury” on May 15, 2014 Congratulations Dr. Patil!
Nisha Nanaware-Kharade Receives Ph.D.
Nisha Nanaware-Kharade, a student in Dr. Peterson’s lab, successfully defended her PhD dissertation, “Dendribodies – A Novel Nanotechnology Based Platform for Improving Pharmacokinetics and Multimerization of Anti-Methamphetamine Antibody Fragments” ” on May 6, 2014. She is pictured left with her husband, Sujay Kharade, Ph.D., who is a 2011 graduate of the Pharmacology program. Congratulations Dr. Nanaware-Kharade!
Accolades from EB 2014
- Amanda Stolarz (pictured) won first place in the graduate student poster competition sponsored by the Integrative Systems, Translational and Clinical Pharmacology Division of ASPET.
- Neil Detweiler won second place in the graduate student poster competition sponsored by the Cardiovascular Pharmacology Division of ASPET.
- Brenda Gannon won second place in the graduate student poster competition sponsored by the Behavioral Pharmacology Division of ASPET.
- Sudip Banerjee won third place in the postdoc poster competition sponsored by the Toxicology Division of ASPET.
- Chris Moore was selected to give an oral presentation for the Cardiovascular Pharmacology Division of ASPET Student Showcase.
- Doug Smith (SURF student with Dr. Fantegrossi) won second place in the Undergraduate Poster Competition.
- Catherine Allen (SURF student with Dr. Moran) was selected for a symposium presentation.
Dr. Rusch named Graduate School Faculty of the Year
The Graduate School named departmental chair Nancy Rusch, Ph.D., along with Jean McSweeney, Ph.D., R.N. (College of Nursing) as Graduate Faculty Members of the Year. Drs. Rusch and McSweeney received the award during the Graduate School’s annual spring reception. “In just the last five years, combined, these ladies have served as major advisors to eight Ph.D. graduates, more than a dozen additional Ph.D. advisory committees, co-authored more than 30 publications with graduate students, and mentored five students to successful multi-year extramural predoctoral training grants,” stated Robert McGehee, Ph.D, Dean of the UAMS Graduate School. “Both of them are very committed to graduate students and are highly engaged in graduate education at every level, and in a small way, this award recognizes their commitment and accomplishments.”
Andrew Norwood Receives Doctorate
Andrew Norwood, a student in the IBS program and in Dr. Fantegrossi’s lab, successfully defended his PhD dissertation, “Effects of neonatal visceral pain on abuse-related effects of morphine in rats” on December 17, 2013. Congratulations Dr. Norwood!
Asif Pathan Successfully Defends Dissertation
Asif Pathan, Pharmacology Graduate Student in Dr. Rusch’s lab, successfully defended his PhD dissertation, “Contribution of the TRPC3 Channel to Vascular Tone and the Development of Hypertension” on December 10, 2013. Congratulations Dr. Pathan!
Michael Hambuchen Receives his Ph.D.
Pharmacology Graduate Student, Michael Hambuchen, PharmD in Dr. Owens’s lab, successfully defended his PhD dissertation titled “Combination Immunotherapy for Early and Continuous Protection from Methamphetamine Adverse Effects”. Congratulations Dr. Hambuchen!
Moore awarded ASPET Washington Fellowship
Christopher Moore (mentor, Sung Rhee) was appointed as an ASPET Washington Fellow for 2014. Moore will serve as an advocate to ensure public support and funding for research on Capitol Hill as well as in his home district. Moore received a B.S. in ecology and evolutionary biology from the U. of Arizona and an M.S. in pharmaceutical QA/RA from Temple University. His Ph.D. research focuses on scaffolding protein -mediated control of cerebral blood flow during hypertension and stroke. Before entering graduate school, he worked in drug discovery at Parke-Davis and Pfizer Pharmaceuticals.
Detweiler and Moore Receive AHA Pre-Doctoral Awards
Two Ph.D. students from the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology received pre-doctoral training awards from the American Heart Association in 2013.
Neil Detweiler (mentor, Nancy Rusch) received an award titled “Targeting the BK channel as vasodilator therapy for pulmonary hypertension.” Pulmonary hypertension is a rapidly progressing disease with a poor prognosis. One fundamental defect is reduced K+ current in the pulmonary arterial smooth muscle cells, which causes pathogenic vasoconstriction. Neil’s studies are designed to define the properties of a distinct K+ channel type in the pulmonary circulation, which may represent a vasodilator drug target. Pictured is Neil receiving an award for excellence from Dr. Bobby McGehee, Dean of the UAMS Graduate School.
Chris Moore (mentor, Sung Rhee) received an award for his AHA grant titled “Role of PSD95 scaffolding in cerebral vasodilation: Implications for stroke in beta blocker therapy.” Beta-blockers, drugs that block β-adrenergic receptors (β-AR), are a mainstay feature in the treatment of hypertension. Moore’s study builds on the observation that certain voltage-gated K+ (Kv) channels and β1-ARs co-assemble with a scaffolding protein (PSD95) to form a “vasodilator complex” in cerebral arteries. He will determine if the β1AR-PSD95-Kv vasodilator pathway in cerebral arteries is blocked by β-blocker therapy, resulting in cerebral vasoconstriction and a higher risk of stroke in patients administered β-blocking drugs, even if they achieve normal levels of blood pressure.
Reed wins World Championship
Congratulations to Ronald Reed, Research Assistant, whose Pinto gelding “Skippen In The Wind” won the World Champion Pole Bending competition and was recently named Reserve World Champion in the barrel racing division at the Pinto World Championship Show in June.
Mayeux Appointed Department Vice Chair
Dr. Philip Mayeux was appointed as the Vice Chair of the Department in August 2013. He assumed this responsibility from Dr. Galen Wenger, who served as the department’s Vice Chair since 2006 but will retire in June 2014. Dr. Mayeux has been a faculty member in the department since 1991 after finishing a postdoctoral fellowship in the UAMS Division of Nephrology. In addition to his research and mentoring duties, Dr. Mayeux is also Director of Education for the department, overseeing the Pharmacology and Interdisciplinary Toxicology graduate programs. He served as the Director of the Pharmacology Graduate Program for 10 years and is Director of the ASPET –funded Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program and the new T32 grant from the NIGMS.
Owens Honored as Distinguished Faculty Scholar
Michael Owens, Ph.D., was honored as this year’s College of Medicine Dean’s Distinguished Faculty Scholar on April 9 (shown with then-Dean, Dr. Debra Fiser). Dr. Owens presented a lecture titled “Therapeutic antibodies for the treatment of addiction – at the interface of chemistry and biology”. In addition to his appointment as Professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Dr. Owens directs the UAMS Center for Alcohol and Drug Abuse Studies. He also directs the Novel Methodologies and Pilot Studies Program in the Translational Research Institute (TRI) at UAMS. He is a founding partner and the Chief Scientific Officer of InterveXion Therapeutics LLC, a pharmaceutical company focused on developing and bringing to clinical trials monoclonal antibody and vaccine medications to treat methamphetamine addiction. Dr. Owens has mentored faculty and trainees in the College of Medicine for many years, including four post-doctoral fellows and twelve Ph.D. or MD/Ph.D. students. He was the recipient of the Chancellor’s Faculty Teaching Award in 2006, and is actively involved in graduate and medical education.
Fantegrossi Recognized for Publications
The March 2013 cover of Neuropsychopharmacology features a manuscript co-authored by Dr. William Fantegrossi, his graduate students Brenda Gannon and Sarah Zimmerman, and Dr. Kenner C. Rice, Chief of the Chemical Biology Research Branch at NIDA. The article characterizes the behavioral effects of a key component of emerging “Bath Salt” drugs of abuse. Despite the seemingly innocuous name, “bath salt” products contain powerful mood-altering substances. Strategic modifications to the chemical structures of illicit substances allowed legal access to bath salt products until very recently. Dr. Fantegrossi and co-authors Dr. Lisa Brents, Dr. Paul Prather, Sarah Zimmerman and Amanda Saffell published another manuscript, which was highlighted on the cover of the September 2013 issue of The Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. “Drug-Drug Interactions of the Synthetic Cannabinoids JWH-018 and JWH-073” characterizes multiple psychoactive synthetic cannabinoids (SCBs), which are frequently used in combination in SCB products known as “K2” and “Spice”.