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August 2018 Vol. 2 No. 5

The beginning of the 2018–2019 academic year marks the 121st start of classes at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy. I want to extend the warmest of welcomes to our professional and graduate students with a special welcome to the members of the Class of 2022, which for the first time includes three students from China who are the first recipients of support from the China Scholarship Council. The CSC has an agreement with the School to provide support for up to 35 Pharm.D. students and up to 25 students admitted to the Ph.D. program from China over the next five years.

We are continuing our search for the next dean of the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy. The search committee forwarded three candidate names to Provost Bob Blouin for consideration. Two of the three candidates interviewed with the provost, Chancellor Carol Folt and two senior members of the chancellor’s cabinet. Subsequently, after a great deal of deliberation and consideration, the provost has decided to continue the search process.

Provost Blouin made it clear this decision was not made lightly, and we recognize that this will put additional demands on the search committee and School community. The University’s goal is to hire the right person who has all of the experiences and skills needed to ensure the School achieves its true potential in an increasingly complex and competitive landscape. This person must understand and appreciate the profession of pharmacy, be respected within the academy and be fearless in their aspirations for the School,.

I will continue to serve you in my role as interim dean.

Congratulations to Rick Wernoski for his promotion to senior vice provost for business operations for the University. He will play a key role in assisting Provost Blouin in reengineering the operations and infrastructure of the campus. This is a great opportunity for Rick, and I want all of us to celebrate his success and thank him for his service to the School for the past eight years. Rick joined the Office of the Provost on Sept. 4 but will continue to work with and support us after while we search for his successor. Rick’s departure will be a big loss to the School, the institute, and personally to me. However, I am pleased that we are losing Rick to the University, where he will work with the same energy to make the University better just as he did for the School.

On Aug. 14, the School held its first Transformative Diversity and Inclusion Retreat led by Assistant Dean Carla White and the Office of Leadership and Diversity. The turnout of faculty, students and staff was impressive, and I was extremely gratified to see everyone’s interest in finding opportunities to enhance diversity and inclusion within the School. A core part of our mission is a continued pursuit of a culture where all feel welcomed, valued and respected, and we will continue to strive toward this goal with your help.

Finally, I want to acknowledge the passing of one of the greats. Dr. Alan Forrest, one of our faculty members in the Division of Pharmacotherapy and Experimental Therapeutics, died Aug. 25. Although seriously ill, he fought a gallant fight as he believed that he had much to accomplish yet.

Alan contributed to the field of pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic modeling for well over 30 years as a highly productive and innovative researcher and an educator. He was world-renowned for his work on the use of quantitative approaches and mathematical modeling to optimize patient therapy, and he significantly affected drug development and pharmacotherapy through his contributions in evolving the field of pharmacometrics. He will be sorely missed by his colleagues in the School and around the world and by his students, who were his passion.

Dhiren Thakker
Ferguson Distinguished Professor
Interim Dean

School News

In Memoriam: Alan Forrest, Ph.D.

Alan Forrest, Pharm.D., 66, a clinical professor at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy and expert in pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamics modeling, died Saturday, Aug. 25, at UNC Hospitals.

“Alan contributed to the field of pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic modeling for well over 30 years as a highly productive and innovative researcher and an educator,” said Dhiren Thakker, Ph.D., interim dean of the School. “He was world renowned for his work on the use of quantitative approaches and mathematical modeling to optimize patient therapy, and he significantly impacted drug development and pharmacotherapy through his contributions in evolving the field of pharmacometrics.

“Alan will be sorely missed by his colleagues in the School and around the world and by students who were his passion.”

Amanda Corbett Appointed Assistant Dean of Professional Curriculum

Amanda Corbett, Pharm.D., has been appointed assistant dean for the professional curriculum of the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy.

Corbett is a clinical associate professor in the Division of Pharmacotherapy and Experimental Therapeutics and serves as the associate director of global engagement at the School. She is also a clinical associate professor in the UNC School of Medicine and global pharmacology coordinator for the UNC Institute of Global Health and Infectious Diseases.

As assistant dean, Corbett will work with the faculty and students to implement educational innovation into the professional curriculum and integrate it with the School’s residential, experiential, global and rural curricula. She assumed her new role on Aug. 1.

UNC Pharmacy, Pharmaceutical Sciences Fifth in World: Shanghai Rankings

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill ranks fifth in the world in pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences, up one spot from last year, according to the 2018 Academic Ranking of World Universities released by the ShanghaiRanking Consultancy, in conjunction with the Center for World Class Universities at Shanghai Jiao Tong University on August 15.

The UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy is the top-ranked pharmacy school in the United States, according to U.S. News & World Report.

The University ranked 6th in pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences in 2017. Overall, UNC-Chapel Hill ranks 30th in the world and 22nd in the U.S. among global universities. This places UNC-Chapel Hill as 9th among U.S. public universities in the global ranking.

Pharmacy Faculty and Students Present at AACP Annual Meeting

The UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy was represented by 13 speakers and over 30 poster presenters at the 2018 American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy annual meeting in Boston.

Additionally, four student-faculty pairs were also honored with the AACP Walmart Scholars award — the most winners from the School in the award’s 14-year history, and more than any other school in 2018.

ITPS Program Connects Chinese Students with UNC Pharmacy

Casey Tak Joins DPOP as Assistant Professor

CMOPP Changes Name to Center for Medication Optimization

Joshua Thorpe Joins DPOP as Associate Professor

Students Offer Perspectives on Diversity and Inclusion at Symposium

Carolyn Thorpe Joins DPOP as Associate Professor

Diversity and Inclusion Retreat Highlights Opportunities for Improvement

In the News

Oncologists shaves his head, plans to wear cancer-fighting gear during 5k | WTVD — Shawn Hingtgen, Ph.D.

Artificial intelligence helps scientists track particles | — Sam Lai, Ph.D.

Antimalarial, antibiotics most falsified drugs in developing countries | The Guardian — Sachi Ozawa, Ph.D.

St. Baldrick’s Foundation gives grants to UNC, Duke for children’s cancer research | WRAL — Marina Sokolsky, Ph.D.

Artificial intelligence system designs drugs from scratch | — Alex Tropsha, Ph.D., and Olexander Isayev, Ph.D.

School Updates

How to Report Issues with the School Website

This is just a reminder that you can report issues with the website, ask questions and request changes and additions by completing the online form at Once you submit the form, you will receive a confirmation email and someone from the Office of Marketing and Communications will be in touch with you. If you do not receive an automatic email confirmation, your request did not go through, and we ask that you resubmit it.

If you aren’t able to access the website, you can email Grayson Mendenhall at Please use the online form whenever possible to ensure you receive the best service possible.

New Hires

Samit Ganguly, Ph.D., has joined DPET as a postdoctoral research associate working with Daniel Gonzalez, Pharm.D., Ph.D. Ganguly previously worked as an assistant research scientist at AstraZeneca in India in the field of drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics. He received his Ph.D. from University of Tennessee in 2018. His current research interests include pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic modeling of pediatric clinical data to characterize drug disposition and efficacy and optimize dosing in infants and children.

Abbey Kruse, M.Ed., has joined the School as the assistant director for experiential education. Kruse comes to UNC from the Coastal Carolina University Wall College of Business where she most recently served as the assistant director of academic advising. Kruse earned her undergraduate degree in educational studies from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and her M.Ed. from Marquette University. In her new role in the Office of Curricular and Student Affairs, Kruse will be responsible for overseeing experiential learning initiatives and activities within the Pharm.D. program.

Casey Tak, M.P.H., Ph.D., has joined DPOP as an assistant professor at the School’s Asheville satellite campus. Tak earned his Ph.D. in pharmacotherapy outcomes research and health policy at the University of Utah, and his Masters of Public Health from Westminster College in Salt Lake City. Prior to joining the School, Tak served as a graduate assistant and a clinical research coordinator at the University of Utah. Tak’s research interests include biostatistics and epidemiological and economic data evaluations.

Joshua Thorpe, Ph.D., M.P.H., has been hired by DPOP as an associate professor with tenure. Thorpe earned his Ph.D. at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy in 2005 and his M.P.H. in epidemiology at George Washington University in 2000. Thorpe comes to the School from the University of Pittsburgh, where he joined the faculty in 2011 and earned tenure in 2015. Previously, he worked at the University of Wisconsin. He will work closely with the Carolina Health Informatics Program while having continued affiliation with the Veterans Affairs Pittsburgh Health System. Thorpe’s research program focuses on assessing the roles of pharmaceutical policy, family caregivers and access to medications and services for older adults.

Resources is the website to visit for information on the School’s internal processes and procedures, including finance, administration and operations. There you’ll find resources such as the School’s master calendar and travel and purchasing workflows.

Need Help?

Social Media

Find the School on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. If you’re curious about incorporating social media into your role at the School, contact the Office of Marketing and Communications for a consultation by going to and filling out a request form.

Upcoming Events

Sept. 19 Employee Photo Session

Sept. 21–22 NCAP 2018 Annual Convention

Sept. 25 School Social

Sept. 25 Monthly K Drive Deletion

Sept. 26–29 GPEN 2018

Sept. 29 Scholarship Luncheon

Oct. 3 Employee Photo Session

Oct. 5 Candidates Day

Oct. 6 Family Day

New Grants

  • Kristy Ainslie, NIH National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), Biomaterials to study tolerance immune induction kinetics, $385,768
  • Kim Brouwer, Gilead Sciences, Inc., Evaluation of Drug Interactions with Human Organic Solute Transporter Alpha/Beta, $24,161
  • Yanguang Cao, NIH National Institute of General Medical Sciences, Optimizing antibody-based therapy through a system platform of pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics and immunodynamics, $104,935
  • Mackenzie Cottrell, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Pharmacokinetics Testing for CONRAD A15-137, titled Exploratory Pharmacokinetic and Pharmacodynamic Study of Oral F/TAF for the Prevention of HIV Acquisition, $921,036
  • Paul Dayton, NIH National Cancer Institute, FELLOW:SAMANTHA FIX Image-guided, sonoporation-enhanced immunotherapy for pancreatic cancer treatment, $35,485
  • David Drewry, NIH National Cancer Institute, Creation of in vivo active chemical probes for CAMKK2 to treat cancer, $649,225
  • Stephen Eckel, Gilero, LLC (dba EG-GILERO), Vial Microbial Ingress for Arisure® CVA with neural valve test protocol, $14,105
  • Stephen Frye, NIH National Institute of General Medical Sciences, Discovery of Chemical Probes for Chromatin Readers, $90,000
  • Nate Hathaway, NIH National Institute of General Medical Sciences, Mechanism Of Hp1-Mediated Heterochromatin Assembly And Durability In Live Cells, $30,000
  • Shawn Hingtgen, NIH National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, Engineering stem cell therapies to understand and overcome glioblastoma adaption, $312,561
  • Leaf Huang, NIH National Cancer Institute, Nano Approaches to Modulate Host Cell Response for Cancer Therapy, $2,167,454
  • Lindsey James, NIH National Institute on Drug Abuse, Polycomb Repressive Complexes As Key Regulators Of Hiv Latency And Targets For Latency Reversal, $892,816
  • Michael Jay, Dignify Therapeutics, SBIR: An optimized NK2R agonist for ‘on-demand’ voiding, $31,916
  • Alexander Kabanov, NIH National Cancer Institute, Targeted Core Shell Nanogels for Triple Negative Breast Cancer, $562,533
  • Alexander Kabanov, NIH National Cancer Institute, Targeted Magneto-Mechanic Nanotherapeutics for Cancer, $117,468
  • Jennifer Lafata, NIH National Cancer Institute, e-Assist: A Post-Visit Patient Portal Tool to Promote Colorectal Cancer Screening, $571,799
  • Andrew Lee, NIH National Institute of General Medical Sciences, The role of dynamics in enzyme mechanism and allostery, $320,330
  • Craig Lee, American Heart Association, Fellow: R. Khatri Predicting Maternal Changes In Antihypertensive Drug Metabolism And Exposure During Pregnancy, $114,368
  • Jian Liu, California Institute of Technology, Expedited Synthesis of Glycosaminoglycans Containing Defined Sulfation Domains, $80,976
  • Adam Persky, American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, Use of worked examples and problem solving to teach clinical note writing, $4,000
  • Alexander Tropsha, NIH National Institute on Aging, Drug repurposing for Alzheimer’s disease using both observational and chemical genomics data, $794,078
  • Tim Willson, Duke University, Cancer cell intrinsic and extrinsic actions of steroid hormones in breast tumors, $23,303
  • Tim Wiltshire, North Carolina State University, Genetic Etiology of Cancer Drug Response, $270,670
  • Tim Wiltshire, North Carolina State University, Systems Toxicogenomics of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals in Brain, $103,399

New Publications





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