Mahmoud Kiaei, Ph.D.Mahmoud Kiaei, Ph.D., had his groundbreaking ALS research mentioned in The Scientist, “New ALS Therapies Move Closer to the Clinic.”

Read the article on The Scientist website.

Dr. Kiaei’s research was also mentioned in the online site Alzforum, “ALS Mutations Stiffen Prolifin, Steer Protein Toward Aggregation.” You can read this article on the Alzforum website.


Training Grant of More Than $740,000 to Encourage Drug Development Renewed for Five Years

July 23, 2018 | A prestigious grant has been renewed for $742,840 over five years that gives Ph.D. students in the biomedical sciences at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) an added foundation in pharmacology and toxicology research.

The National Institute of General Medical Sciences awarded the Institutional Predoctoral Research Training Grant (T32) to the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology in the UAMS College of Medicine. The funding will allow the department’s Systems Pharmacology and Toxicology (SPaT) Training Program to provide two trainees a year with a stipend, specialized coursework, research mentorship and training in entrepreneurship, career development, networking, leadership and grant writing.

Dr. Philip Mayeux standing outside the Biomedical Research Center

Philip Mayeux, Ph.D., SPaT program director and professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, has renewed a T32 grant for $742,840 over five years. The grant supports two trainees in the biomedical sciences as they gain additional training in pharmacology and toxicology.

“The prestige of the grant helps us recruit the best trainees from across the country to our program,” said Philip Mayeux, Ph.D., SPaT program director and professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology.

UAMS is one of only 31 pharmacology and toxicology training programs in the nation to receive the funding. Others include Vanderbilt University, Emory University, Harvard Medical School and Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

“We are the smallest program to receive funding, and renewal was by no means guaranteed,” said Mayeux, who wrote the original and renewal grants for the funding. “We underwent a site visit and the reviewers were impressed with our trainee’s publications, awards and national recognition.”

The trainees come from a variety of areas of interest and pursue research that combines these interests with a focus on pharmacology and toxicology. Trainees supported by the first grant worked on drug abuse and behavior; cancer; drug toxicity; and bone, kidney and cardiovascular health.

“The ultimate goal is increasing drug discovery and drug development to benefit patients,” Mayeux said. “We would like to have more biomedical scientists in industry and academia who also have a background in drug development, so that – even if they don’t directly develop the drugs themselves – they know how to work collaboratively with pharmacologists to help scientific discoveries translate from the research stage to the development of medications and therapeutic interventions.”

Thirty-one UAMS faculty have partnered with the SPaT Fellowship to provide training and mentorship. SPaT is a partnership of the UAMS’ Graduate School, College of Public Health and College of Pharmacy; Arkansas Children’s; and the National Center for Toxicological Research, which is part of the Food and Drug Administration. The UAMS Translational Research Institute, UAMS College of Medicine and Arkansas Biosciences Tobacco Research Committee provide matching funding for the grant, allowing there to be one additional SPaT trainee each year along with the two funded by the federal grant.

UAMS is the state’s only health sciences university, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; hospital; northwest Arkansas regional campus; statewide network of regional centers; and seven institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, Myeloma Institute, Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Psychiatric Research Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging and Translational Research Institute. It is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. UAMS has 2,834 students, 822 medical residents and six dental residents. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including 1,200 physicians who provide care to patients at UAMS, its regional campuses throughout the state, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the VA Medical Center and Baptist Health. Visit www.uams.edu or www.uamshealth.com. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Instagram.

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By Amy Widner| July 23rd, 2018|


Julia Tobacyk and awardJulia Tobacyk, Pre-Doctoral Fellowship

Julia was awarded a pre-doctoral fellowship in pharmacology/toxicology from the PhRMA Foundation (Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America Foundation). These are competitive national awards, which provide 20K annually for the awardee’s stipend plus a small spending allowance for their research. The award will start January 1, 2018 for a duration of two years. Julia’s application was titled “The regulation of mitochondrial fusion in cold storage kidney preservation.” Her dissertation mentor is Dr. Lee Ann MacMillan-Crow.

 

Max FordMax Ford Defends Dissertation

Max Ford successfully defended his dissertation, “Characterization of Novel Molecular Scaffolds for Cannabinoid Receptor Ligands: Implications for Drug Development” on July 28, 2017.   He accepted a postdoctoral fellowship at National Center for Toxicological Research. Congratulations Max!

CertificateShengyu Mu, Ph.D., Research Recognition Award

Dr. Mu was awarded a Research Recognition Aware from the American Physiology Society (APS) Renal section during the EB meeting in April 2017. Congratulations Dr. Mu!

 

Amanda Stolarz, Pharm.D./Ph.D. with groupAmanda Stolarz, Pharm.D./Ph.D.

Congratulations to Dr. Amanda Stolarz, postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology and Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, for being a member of the team that won the Donald W. Reynolds Governor’s Cup business-plan competition on 4/11/17. Their business plan focused on using a unique delivery system to deliver chemotherapeutic agents directly to tumors. Their team won $25,000 for first place on the business plan to develop this patented technology of which UAMS Professor, Dr. Michael Borrelli, was one of the inventors. Amanda’s team was coached by Dr. Carol Reeves as part of the UA-Fayetteville Entrepreneurship Graduate Program.  Dr. Jay Gandy served as the UAMS mentor and the team also received advice from BioVentures director, Dr. Nancy Gray. It was a successful outcome for a new effort to form business teams between UA and UAMS trainees.

Lirit FranksLirit Franks Defends Dissertation

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 SimsClark Sims Defends Dissertation

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!

 

 

Holiday scenePharmacology/Toxicology Department Holiday Video 2016

The department held their annual holiday party with a great turn-out.
Holiday spirit in Pharmacology/Toxicology department.

 

 

 

Shengyu Mu, Ph.D.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Amanda Stolarz, Ph.D.Amanda Stolarz, Ph.D., recipient of a PhRMA Award

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.

 

 

Sung Rhee, Ph.D. receives awardSung Rhee, Ph.D., Golden Apple Award

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.

Nancy Rusch, Ph.D. and Sung Rhee, Ph.D., Red Sash recipients for 2016

 

 

 

 

Stephen Shrum receives plaqueStephen Shrum, AHA Predoctoral Fellowship

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!

 

 

 

 

Michael Owens, Ph.D. with Governor Hutchison and Chancellor RahnMichael Owens, Ph.D., Receives Fellow Award

Dr. Owens received an Arkansas Research Alliance Fellow Award in December 2015 in recognition of sustained scientific and entrepreneurial accomplishments in Arkansas Universities.

 

 

 

 

 

Brenda GannonBrenda Gannon Defends Dissertation

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!

 

 

 

 

 

Christopher Moore, Ph.D.Chris Moore Awarded Ph.D.

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 Wins Staff Excellence Award

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 in labDae Song Jang Receives Ph.D.

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 Dissertation Flyer PicEmily Reichard Graduates

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.”

 

 

 

people in auditoriumJack A. Hinson Honorary Symposium

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 DetweilerNeil Detweiler Receives Ph.D.

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!

 

 

Lieblong in LabBen Lieblong Appointed ASPET Washington Fellow for 2015

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.

 

 

ClarkClark Sims Receives AHA Predoctoral Award and F31 Award

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 GannonBrenda Gannon Selected for T32 Support by PRI

 

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!

ChuckChuck Hay Chosen for Support by SPaT T32 Training Program

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

FantegrossiSharda SinghThis spring, Dr. Bill Fantegrossi and Dr. Sharda Singh each  received a promotion to the rank of Associate Professor!    Congratulations!


Dr. Wenger Retirement Celebrated

Wenger retirementOn 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 DissertationShanthi 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's Defense

Naeem Patil, a student in Dr. MacMillan-Crow and Dr. Mayeux’s lab, successfully defended his Ph.D. 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.

NNK defenseNisha 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, EB AwardCongratulations to our students and postdoc who represented us well at 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

Ph.D. cakeAndrew 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, Pharm.D., 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

Ron Reed 2013Congratulations 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”.