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Pharmacy camps to prepare high school students for future careers

Do you know a high school student with a strong academic background in science, who is considering a career in pharmacy? If so, the UT College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences is offering the Pharmacy Summer Camp, sponsored by Walgreens, or the Shimazu Pharmaceutical Science Camp, sponsored by Shimadzu and supported by Amway.

The camps are targeted at juniors, but both sophomores and seniors may apply. The focus of the camps is to teach high school students more about their potential occupations through interactive and hands-on activities.

“We hope students learn about careers in pharmacy, and we encourage them to follow through on their goals,” said José Treviño, director of transfer services and recruitment for the College of Pharmacy. “The College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences currently employs three faculty members who started their careers by attending our pharmacy camps.”

Programming for the four-day camps includes professional job shadowing, pharmaceutical science and formulation labs, faculty presentations, and student and career panels. When they are not learning about pharmacy, campers can spend their free time at the Student Recreation Center and touring the UT campus with camp counselors, who are pharmacy students.

The summer camp $400 fee covers all room and meal expenses, a T-shirt and backpack, as well as the camp programming. Those who demonstrate financial need may apply for assistance, the details of which are provided on the camp’s webpage.

The Pharmacy Summer camp sponsored by Walgreens will hold two sessions:

• Sunday, June 11, through Wednesday June 14, and

• Sunday, June 18, through Wednesday June 21.

The Shimazu Pharmaceutical Science Camp will take place:

• Sunday, June 18, through Wednesday June 21.

For more information about the camps and for the application, click here.

Physician/author to discuss health and race

Being black can be bad for your health — Dr. Damon Tweedy wrote about hearing that as a first-year medical student at Duke University in 1997.

His book, “Black Man in a White Coat: A Doctor’s Reflections on Race and Medicine,” became a New York Times Bestseller and was one of Time magazine’s top 10 nonfiction books in 2015.

Tweedy

“From the beginning of life to the very end — and everywhere in between — African Americans continue to experience disproportionately worse health outcomes,” Tweedy said. “You can name pretty much any disease, and you’re likely to find that it’s either more common in black people; black people who get the disease have a worse course; or both of these conditions. There are a lot of factors involved with this, and I explore many of them in my book.”

Tweedy will discuss race and health disparities Thursday, Feb. 16, at 7 p.m. in Collier Building Room 1200.

For several years, the assistant professor of psychiatry at Duke University Medical Center and staff physician at the Durham Veteran Affairs Medical Center has written and lectured on race and medicine. His articles have been published by The New York Times, the Chicago Tribune and The Washington Post, as well as by several medical journals.

In his book, he wrote, “Whether it is premature birth, infant mortality, homicide, childhood obesity or HIV infection, black children and young adults disproportionately bear the brunt of these medical and social ills. By middle age, heart disease, diabetes, stroke, kidney failure and cancer have a suffocating grip on the health of black people and maintain this stranglehold on them well into their senior years.”

“I wanted to put a human touch to these issues of racial health disparities — examining how this impacts real people in everyday life,” Tweedy said. “Many people are more likely to engage in these issues when they are presented as stories rather than simply as statistics.

“I also wanted to explore some of the unique challenges faced by African-American doctors — a largely unexplored perspective in popular medical narratives,” he added.

His free, public talk is sponsored by We Are STEMM, a UT organization dedicated to empowering and inspiring students from underrepresented populations who are interested in science, technology, engineering, math and medicine. Led by faculty and staff, the group celebrates and supports diversity in several UT colleges: Natural Sciences and Mathematics; Engineering; Medicine and Life Sciences; Nursing; Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences; and Health and Human Services.

“I found Dr. Tweedy’s book to be inspirational. While it reveals a story often heard in the community of underrepresented groups pursuing higher education, I think he has been able to deliver many aspects in a manner that may be enlightening and perhaps more palatable to those freed from this ‘experience,’” said Dr. Anthony Quinn, assistant dean for diversity and inclusion in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, and chair of We Are STEMM.

“In contemporary society, there is the perception that history can be wiped clean with a single piece of new legislation — no need to deal with lasting psychological scars inflicted by past overt and covert policies or the entrenched social norms that are retained and vigorously guarded for generations in spite of new laws,” Quinn continued. “Dr. Tweedy brings out the adverse and lasting impact that discriminatory practices can have on individuals and society long past the time of those who initially implemented them.”

Tweedy’s talk is one of the University’s events scheduled for Black History Month.

UTMC sets path forward to serve health-care needs of community

After a thorough review during the past year, The University of Toledo leadership has determined that the UT Medical Center will continue to operate as a teaching hospital, serving the community in South Toledo.

utmc-still-copyIn addition to reviewing UTMC operations, service lines, efficiencies and its customer base, UT leaders studied the rapidly evolving health-care market to determine the most viable path forward for the medical center. They also took into account the change going on at the University, in the industry and in local communities.

“In a rapidly changing industry such as health care, it was imperative that we take the time to thoroughly review our operations, the community we serve, and the dynamics of the health-care market. We needed to be sure we could successfully adapt to the changing environment we live in and continue to serve our 80,000 neighbors effectively,” UT President Sharon L. Gaber said. “We have confidence in our team, and we appreciate the patience everyone exhibited while we worked toward determining this path forward.”

A letter sent to the UT community Jan. 24 from Gaber and Executive Vice President for Clinical Affairs Christopher Cooper noted the hospital’s financial strength and stated UTMC was operating at full or near-full capacity, and together with its clinics served nearly 300,000 people last year.

“The financial health of UTMC played a key role in our analysis, and we want it to be clear that the hospital remains viable only if it continues to enhance its productivity and efficiencies going forward,” the letter stated.

UTMC will continue to be a teaching hospital for UT’s colleges of Medicine and Life Sciences; Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences; Nursing; and Health and Human Services.

In addition, the path forward will include gradually adding more primary care and behavioral health options at UTMC to meet the evolving health-care needs of the community and to strengthen the University’s training programs.

“We are committed to evolving in a way that keeps our hospital strong, and as we do so, to communicating with you ahead of any changes,” the letter stated.

UTMC leaders are meeting with employees throughout the week to provide more information and answer questions. The schedule for information meetings is:

Tuesday, Jan. 24
• UTMC employee meeting at noon in Health Education Building Room 100

• College of Medicine and Life Sciences faculty meeting at 5 p.m. in Health Education Room 100

• UTMC employee meeting at 6:30 p.m. in Health Education Building Room 105
• UTMC employee meeting at 7:45 p.m. in Health Education Building Room 105


Wednesday, Jan. 25

• UTMC employee meeting at 7:45 a.m. in the Pinnacle Lounge

• College of Medicine and Life Sciences students and residents meeting at noon in Health Education Building Room 100

Thursday, Jan. 26
• UT Physicians employees meeting at 11 a.m. at Glendale Medical Center

Additional information is available online on the myUT portal under the new UTMC tab.

To submit questions or comments, email UTMCquestions@utoledo.edu or call 419.383.6814.

Distinguished educator to deliver commencement address Dec. 17

Toledo native Dr. Timothy Law Snyder, president of Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, will present the keynote address at the UT fall commencement Saturday, Dec. 17, at 10 a.m. in Savage Arena.

Snyder, who will receive an honorary degree during the ceremony, will address 2,066 candidates for degrees: 93 doctoral, 584 master’s, 1,346 bachelor’s and 43 associate’s degrees.

Snyder

Snyder

The ceremony will be streamed live at http://video.utoledo.edu.

Snyder is a distinguished American educator and academic administrator whose career includes success as a computational mathematician, musician, published scholar, lecturer and podcaster. He attended Toledo Public Schools and graduated from UT in 1981 with bachelor’s degrees in both psychology and mathematics. Additionally, he earned a master’s degree in mathematics from UT in 1983.

Snyder also holds a second master’s degree, as well as a doctoral degree, in computational mathematics from Princeton University.

“We’re honored to have Dr. Timothy Snyder return to his alma mater as our fall commencement speaker,” said UT President Sharon L. Gaber. “His career is proof that goals can be multidirectional, and success follows people who work hard to make lasting contributions, no matter what career paths they choose over a lifetime.”

In 2014, The University of Toledo Alumni Association recognized Snyder with its College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics’ Outstanding Alumnus Award.

“I return to my hometown with pride and excitement to deliver the keynote commencement address. My educational path and career were profoundly shaped by my years at UT,” Snyder said. “I continue to resonate with UT’s mission to improve the human condition and advance knowledge, among its other values. I hope to inspire graduates to pursue their life goals with creativity and integrity.”

Snyder has held academic positions at Berklee College of Music in Boston, the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and at Georgetown University, where he was chair of the Department of Computer Science and its first dean of science. Additionally, he served as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Fairfield University in Connecticut and vice president for academic affairs at Loyola University Maryland. In 2015, Snyder was appointed the 16th president of Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.

He has published and presented widely on his research, which includes computational mathematics, data structures, design and analysis of algorithms, geometric probability, digital signal processing, computer music, and the education of the millennial generation. More recently, he has been researching risk assessment in commercial airline safety, as well as HIV and its prevention.

A musician most of his life, Snyder was lead singer in the touring rock-and-punk band Whirlwind from 1976 to 1983. His music can be found on iTunes and SoundCloud. He is also active in social media through his Twitter handle @LMUSnyder.

The University’s fall commencement ceremony will recognize graduates from the colleges of Arts and Letters, Business and Innovation, Judith Herb College of Education, Health and Human Services, Medicine and Life Sciences, Natural Sciences and Mathematics, Nursing, and Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Additionally, UT’s College of Engineering will hold graduation ceremonies for its undergraduate and graduate candidates Friday, Dec. 16, at 5:30 p.m. in Savage Arena.

For more information, visit utoledo.edu/commencement.

UT awarded federal innovation grant to invest in academic researchers throughout northwest Ohio

The U.S. Department of Commerce awarded The University of Toledo $500,000 to help launch startup companies, move ideas to market, and spur job creation through faculty research.

Nearly $15 million was given to 35 organizations from 19 states through the Economic Development Administration’s Regional Innovation Strategies program. 

Business Hlogo 1c BlackThe total available to researchers in the northwest Ohio region is nearly $1.3 million after the University matched the i6 Challenge grant with an additional $767,903 through the Rocket Fuel Fund.

Researchers from academic and other nonprofit institutions are eligible to receive funding.

“This is an incredible opportunity for UT faculty and academic researchers throughout the northwest Ohio region to apply for this funding and help move their new technologies toward commercialization, including women and minorities who are typically underrepresented in innovation and entrepreneurship,” said Anne Izzi, licensing associate at UT’s Office of Technology Transfer. 

The selected recipients of Rocket Fuel grants will be awarded between $5,000 and $50,000 each to enhance the scope or patentability of inventions and improve market potential through targeted research, customer discovery, and development of a prototype and business model.

“The Regional Innovation Strategies program advances innovation and capacity-building activities in regions across the country by addressing two essential core components that entrepreneurs need to take their ideas to market: programmatic support and access to capital,” U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker said. “As America’s Innovation Agency, the Commerce Department has a key role to play in supporting the visionaries and job creators of tomorrow. Congratulations to today’s awardees who will make U.S. communities, businesses and the workforce more globally competitive.”

Dr. William Messer, professor in the UT Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, plans to apply for i6 Challenge grant funding as his lab creates a drug to help autism patients make new patterns of behavior to live a more normal life. 

“There is a lot of work to do, but we would like to move this compound into clinical trials to see if it can help treat restricted and repetitive behaviors associated with autism,” Messer said. “We are exploring a number of options to obtain the funding needed to develop the patented technology, and the i6 Challenge grant represents an important new source of funding at the local level.”

A total of 215 organizations applied for the grant funding; these included nonprofits, institutions of higher education and entrepreneurship-focused groups.

“The 2016 Regional Innovation Strategies grantees will reach a variety of communities and help entrepreneurs gain the edge they need to succeed,” said Jay Williams, U.S. assistant secretary of commerce for economic development. “The diversity in programs and regional representation proves that innovation and entrepreneurship are igniting all corners of the country and is a recognized tool for economic growth and resilience.”

Professional development events available to UT women in science fields

University of Toledo female students, staff and faculty interested in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM) fields are encouraged to take advantage of upcoming Association for Women in Science (AWIS) opportunities.

AWIS logo“The Association for Women in Science is the largest multidisciplinary organization for women working in STEMM,” said Dr. Susanne Nonekowski, associate lecturer in the Department of Medicinal and Biological Chemistry and president of the AWIS Northwestern Ohio Chapter. “These events are designed to support equity and full participation of women in all science-related disciplines and across all employment sectors.”

A workshop for preparing a professional social media profile titled “How to Craft the Perfect LinkedIn Profile in 30 Minutes” will take place Wednesday, Nov. 2, from 4 to 5:30 p.m. in the Martin Conference Room of the Frederick and Mary Wolfe Center on Health Science Campus.

awis flyerMary Jo Borden, practicum coordinator in the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, will share best practices for creating a presence online and explain how to use LinkedIn’s search functions to build a professional network. A photographer also will be on hand to take professional headshots.

“This workshop will be valuable to students, faculty and staff,” Nonekowski said. “Whether you are new to LinkedIn or if it has been a while since you updated your profile, this event will have you looking your best online.”

The group also is seeking individuals interested in becoming members of its Mentorship Circle.

“We are looking for anyone interested in connecting with other women in the STEMM fields in order to build relationships and learn from those who were once in their shoes,” Nonekowski said. “Mentors can be from any science-related career field, whether academic or professional. We want individuals who are motivated and interested in supporting other women as they grow in STEMM careers.” 

Mentors and mentees will be paired according to career interest and meet once a month throughout the academic year.

“The Mentorship Circle is in the planning stages, but we want to be sure that everyone who is interested has the chance to join us before mentoring teams are established,” she said. “There have been several successful Mentorship Circles across the country, and we are excited to bring this program to the Toledo area.”

Nonekowski said UT is an institutional partner with AWIS, which means any undergraduate or graduate student enrolled in a STEMM field can register with the organization for free at awis.org/utoledo. When registering, students should be sure to choose the Northwestern Ohio Chapter to be notified of local activities.

“We are grateful to the University for their support of AWIS,” Nonekowski said. “This partnership is instrumental to the support of female science students and professionals across northwest Ohio.”

For more information about AWIS, to join the Mentorship Circle, or to register for the LinkedIn event, call 419.530.1979 or email susanne.nonekowski@utoledo.edu.

Association for Women in Science workshop to be held Oct. 7 on Scott Park Campus

Dr. Joan Herbers, professor of evolution, ecology and organismal biology at Ohio State University, will share her insights at an Association for Women in Science Mentoring Circle Workshop Friday, Oct. 7, in Classroom Center Room 1080 on Scott Park Campus.

Herbers

Herbers

There will be two sessions to choose from to hear Herbers, who is the immediate past president of the Association for Women in Science: from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. or from 2 to 5 p.m.

Registration is required for the free, public workshops. To register, visit utoledo.edu/centers/eberly.

The Association for Women in Science Mentor Circles meet regularly to share advice and encouragement, focusing on career growth and problem solving, and are guided by mentors to promote productivity.

Dr. Susanne Nonekowski, UT associate lecturer of medicinal chemistry and president of the Association for Women in Science northwest Ohio chapter, is responsible for bringing this workshop to The University of Toledo.

“Susanne has only been president of the local Association for Women in Science chapter for a few months, but she is really driving our organization trying to bring exciting and productive events to northwest Ohio, building our membership, and acknowledging our founders,” said Dr. Caren Steinmiller, UT associate lecturer of pharmacology and secretary of the local chapter of the association.

Any questions can be directed to susanne.nonekowski@utoledo.edu.

UT researchers receive funding to study link between kidney disorder and cardiovascular disease

Researchers at The University of Toledo are examining how a genetic kidney disorder also increases the person’s risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.

Dr. Wissam AbouAlaiwi, assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, received a three-year, $231,000 Scientist Development Grant, and doctoral student Hannah Saternos received a $2,000 award from the American Heart Association to study the pathophysiology of cardiovascular disease in polycystic kidney disease (PKD).

Dr. Wissam AbouAlaiwi and doctoral student Hannah Saternos both received grants for their research examining how a genetic kidney disorder increases a person’s risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.

Dr. Wissam AbouAlaiwi and doctoral student Hannah Saternos both received grants for their research examining how a genetic kidney disorder increases a person’s risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.

PKD is a genetic disorder that causes numerous fluid-filled cysts to grow in the kidneys, ultimately destroying their architecture and reducing their function over time. These cysts also are associated with the development of high blood pressure and problems with the heart and blood vessels in the brain.

“There is currently no cure or treatment for PKD. A kidney transplant can buy an individual more time, but patients with PKD will still usually die from cardiovascular complications such as high blood pressure and heart disease,” AbouAlaiwi said.

AbouAlaiwi and his team are studying a cellular organelle called primary cilia and its role in kidney and cardiovascular disease.

“Primary cilia are antenna-like structures that, until recently, were believed to have no function in the body. We now know they contribute to dozens of genetic disorders and play a role in calcium signaling in heart cells, which is important to its contraction,” he said. “We have developed mouse models to further study these cilia and the complications that arise from their dysfunction.”

This is the third grant for AbouAlaiwi’s lab in one year, and he is quick to credit his team of students for their hard work and dedication.

“The students are very reliable and passionate and the driving force behind the research,” he said. “Funding for research is very competitive, and I am proud that Hannah was able to receive support from the American Heart Association. She is very talented, smart and dedicated to her work. The award is well-deserved.”

Saternos is researching the function of a family of receptors that she recently discovered in the primary cilia and how it affects PKD and regulates blood pressure.

“If you would have told me four years ago I would be working with the kidney and loving it, I would have thought you were crazy,” she said. “It’s fascinating. I don’t think people realize how much impact the kidney has on the rest of the body.”

UT researchers test new experimental drug to treat diabetes and increase bone mass

Researchers from The University of Toledo, in collaboration with chemists from the Scripps Research Institute, have discovered a compound that normalizes glucose levels while increasing the mass and quality of bone.

Body processes that regulate energy metabolism and bone mass are closely intertwined, and numerous studies have shown individuals with Type 2 diabetes are at increased risk for bone fractures. Additionally, some current anti-diabetic drugs work well to regulate insulin levels, but can cause further bone damage.

Dr. Beata Lecka-Czernik, right, posed for a photo with her team, from left, Shermel Sherman, Faiz Tausif, Amit Chougule, Lance Stechschulte, Matthew Mazur, Zachary Rotter and Ali Eltatawy.

Dr. Beata Lecka-Czernik, right, posed for a photo with her team, from left, Shermel Sherman, Faiz Tausif, Amit Chougule, Lance Stechschulte, Matthew Mazur, Zachary Rotter and Ali Eltatawy.

“Our data demonstrate the regulation of bone mass and energy metabolism share similar mechanisms,” said Dr. Beata Lecka-Czernik, professor in UT’s departments of Orthopaedic Surgery and Physiology and Pharmacology, and a member of the faculty in the Center for Diabetes and Endocrine Research. “This suggests a new pharmacologic agent could be developed to treat both diabetes and metabolic bone diseases.”

Targeting PPARγ, the protein in the body that regulates energy use and bone cell differentiation and function, Dr. Patrick Griffin and researchers from the Scripps Research Institute developed a series of new insulin sensitizers.

“Our multidisciplinary chemical biology team at Scripps Florida had spent many years developing precise structure activity relationships around many chemical scaffolds that alter the shape and behavior of PPARγ,” Griffin said. “These efforts were then combined with the bone biology expertise of Dr. Lecka-Czernik to explore whether we have compounds that maintain excellent insulin sensitization efficacy but are positive on bone health.”

Lecka-Czernik and her team at UT then tested these compounds for bone safety.

“During the course of our experiments, we discovered that a compound called SR10171 normalizes glucose levels in Type 2 diabetes, prevents associated weight gain, and increases the mass and quality of bone,” she said. “Remarkably, this experimental drug also maintains its positive effect on bone in non-diabetic conditions and acts as insulin sensitizer only on demand when normal glucose and insulin becomes imbalanced.”

SR10171 supports bone formation by directly regulating bone cells that work together to break down, build and protect bone.

The results also suggest the bone remodeling properties of this compound could be used to treat osteoporosis, Lecka-Czernik said.

The team’s findings, “PPARG Post-Translational Modifications Regulate Bone Formation and Bone Resorption,” was published in the August issue of EBioMedicine. This team science was funded in part on a collaborative grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

UT College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences welcomes new students with ceremony

First-year learners enrolled in The University of Toledo College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences will participate in a professional advancement ceremony Thursday, Aug. 18, at 4:30 p.m. in the Lois and Norman Nitschke Auditorium.

White coats will be given to 107 doctor of pharmacy students and 35 bachelor of science in pharmaceutical sciences students as a gift supported by CVS/Caremark and white coat mentors. In addition, eight pharmacy administration majors will receive embossed portfolios. One dual degree learner is among the bachelor of science majors.

The traditional ceremony is held at the end of orientation week and marks the student’s transition from the study of pre-clinical to clinical health sciences. It is considered a rite of passage in the journey toward a health-care career.

UT College of Pharmacy logo“These students have laid the foundation for their future success, but the curriculum is challenging. They will be tested beyond anything they have experienced before. We encourage these students to have a sharp focus and to be ready to work hard to become leaders,” said Dr. Johnnie Early, dean of the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. “The history of the program has shown us that through dedicated effort and solid commitment, the vast majority of our students will rise to the occasion and be very successful in their educational journey.”

Twenty-eight students received UT’s Pharmacy Excellence Scholarship. The award is given to academically exceptional students who meet or exceed eligibility requirements for the highly competitive contingent admission program.

Early will speak at the ceremony along with UT President Sharon L. Gaber, Provost Andrew Hsu, Dr. Dorothea Sawicki, vice provost for health science affairs and university accreditation, and Joel Levitan, pharmacist with the Neighborhood Health Association.

Fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education, the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences was the first college established at UT in 1904. The college’s guiding principles are personal integrity, professionalism, and respect for humanity and human diversity.