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June/July 2018 Vol 2. No. 4

The dean’s search is nearing an end. Six candidates interviewed for the position. The search committee considered the broad-based feedback received from many of you in its deliberations and submitted the names of three finalists to Provost Blouin for his consideration. Your feedback will weigh significantly in his decision, and you can be assured that he is reviewing all of it. It is expected that the provost will make his decision within the next two weeks.

Over the past several months, Mary McClurg with the assistance of Terry Kale organized groups of faculty and staff to work on refreshing the School’s Strategic Plan 2012–2017. The goal of this exercise is to update and refine the 2012-2017 plan that can serve the School through the middle of 2020, at which point in time the new dean will initiate strategic planning for the next five years. A draft of the Strategic Plan 2018–2020 has been prepared through multiple iterations among the faculty, staff and leadership of the School. The plan will be discussed and endorsed by the faculty at our faculty meeting on August 20.

The Eshelman Institute for Innovation announced a third round of funding in which 25 projects were selected for awards totaling more than $3.5 million. Of special note, this is the first time that a proposal from a member of the School staff has been funded. Congratulation to Jennifer Fox on her successful proposal. I encourage all staff to take advantage of the EII’s challenge and support to help make your innovative ideas a reality.

The School welcomed the Class of 2022 on Aug. 1 at a Connection BBQ and on Aug. 2 for a day-long orientation program. I want give special thanks to the staff of the Office of Curricular and Student Affairs and the Office of Advancement, the School leadership, faculty, staff and students who volunteered and participated in the welcoming and orientation activities.

Several individuals within the School have accepted either new or expanded leadership responsibilities. Please join me in congratulating them and thanking them for their service.

  • Carla White has been promoted to associate dean of organizational diversity and inclusion in recognition of her valuable contributions to date and her expanded role going forward. Under Carla’s leadership we aspire to be a national leader in promoting a diverse and inclusive community among our faculty, staff and students.
  • Phil Rodgers has been selected to serve as the director for interprofessional education and practice. Interprofessional education is becoming an important component of the academic programs within all health sciences schools. Its importance was elevated on the campus through the recent creation of the Office of Interprofessional Education and Practice led by Assistant Provost Meg Zomorodi. I am delighted that Phil has accepted this very important role within our School, and I want to acknowledge Kim Sanders who has been instrumental in laying the foundations for interprofessional education and practice within our School in collaboration with the School of Dentistry.
  • Amanda Corbett has been appointed as assistant dean for the professional curriculum. In this new position, Amanda will work closely with the Curriculum Innovation Committee and the Curriculum Implementation and Assessment Committee, as well as all key constituencies, to ensure integration of curricular innovations into the professional curriculum and seamless implementation of the residential, experiential, global and rural components of the curriculum.
  • Sam Lai has been named assistant director for academic innovation at the Eshelman Institute for Innovation. In this new role, Sam will help create educational initiatives promoting innovation and entrepreneurship and will contribute to new strategic initiatives and programs extending the institute’s impact. Sam oversees the execution and evolution of the Young Innovators program and the E(I) Lab program, seeking external funding to support and sustain the programs and promoting the programs through scholarship.
  • With the retirement of Tom Angelo, Jacqui McLaughlin has taken over the leadership of the Center for Innovative Pharmacy Education and Research as its director. Jacqui will be responsible for leading the center and ensuring strategic alignment between the work of the center and the School’s Educational Renaissance initiatives. CIPhER aims to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of curricula and instruction by providing professional development and support to faculty, clinical preceptors, postgraduate fellows, residents and teaching assistants. CIPhER also assists faculty and others in their educational research and scholarship.
  • Ashley Qi has been selected as the associate director of China initiatives. In this newly created position, she will assist with the School’s academic initiatives in China. Initially, her primary focus will be to lead our due diligence efforts for developing a pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences education and research institution in partnership with a major university

I am pleased to report that our Resiliency and Well-Being Task Force held its inaugural meeting and kickoff on June 26. The task force will assess the major factors that contribute to the stress among our students, staff, and faculty, study best practices and make recommendations for creating and sustaining a healthy work environment. We have had nearly 70 individuals volunteer to be part of the team, and I am very grateful and proud of the enthusiasm our students, faculty and staff have shown for this effort.

Finally, the Young Innovators Program Research Symposium will be held on Friday, Aug. 10, at 9 a.m. in Kerr Hall. I hope many of you will be able to attend.

Dhiren Thakker
Ferguson Distinguished Professor
Interim Dean

School News

Amanda SeyerleSeyerle Joins DPOP as Assistant Professor

Amanda Seyerle, Ph.D., has been hired as a tenure-track assistant professor at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, starting July 30. Seyerle will join the Division of Pharmaceutical Outcomes and Policy.

Seyerle earned her Master of Science in Public Health in 2013 and her Ph.D. in epidemiology in 2016, both from the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan, where she studied anthropological and molecular genetics, as well as history.


Albert BowersAlbert Bowers Promoted to Associate Professor

Albert Bowers, Ph.D., a faculty member in the Division of Chemical Biology and Medicinal Chemistry, has been promoted to the rank of associate professor at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy. Bowers is a member of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and an affiliate member of the School’s Center for Integrative Chemical Biology and Drug Discovery.

Bowers’ research focuses on harnessing natural product biosynthesis to make next generation therapeutics. Researchers in the Bowers Lab, who go by the Twitter handle @BowersRangers, use insights and chemistries from natural product biosynthesis to facilitate the discovery and development of new natural product-like peptide macrocycles. This work has provided new avenues and technologies for development of peptide macrocycle-based therapeutics as cancer chemotherapies and antibiotics.

Megan Roberts Joins DPOP as Assistant Professor

Megan Roberts, Ph.D., has been hired as a tenure-track assistant professor at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy in the the Division of Pharmaceutical Outcomes and Policy.

Roberts earned her Ph.D. in health policy and management from the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health in 2015. She received her undergraduate degree from Davidson College, where she studied biology and Spanish.


Resiliency Team to Support Mental Health, Well-Being at School

The UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy’s Resiliency and Well-Being Task Force held its inaugural meeting at a June 26 retreat at the N.C. Botanical Gardens.

The team, chaired by Mollie Scott, Pharm.D., and Brad Wingo, M.Ed., is charged with creating innovative ways to foster the mental and physical well-being of School students, faculty and staff. Scott is the regional associate dean for the School’s Asheville satellite campus. Wingo is the director of curricular and student affairs.


CIPS Wins Awards for Web Design and Video Production

Members from the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy’s Center for Innovation in Pharmacy Simulation won four Hermes awards and two Telly Awards for web design and videography. An interactive webpage designed by CIPS won four Hermes Creative Awards on May 18. The page, designed for the Community Pharmacy Foundation, outlines principles of team-based health care.

Jason Whitley, M.S.; Joel Floyd, M.S.; and Catherine MacAllister, M.Ed. designed the webpage. It was based on research conducted by postdoctoral researcher Chelsea Renfro, Pharm.D. Multimedia producer Kevin Robinson received a Hermes Creative Gold Award in the category of recruitment videos.

In the News

AI Learns to Create Drugs From Scratch | — Alex Tropsha, Ph.D.; Olexander Isayev, Ph.D.; Mariya Popova
(Also, Science Daily and WRAL TechWire)

Pharmacists forge an expanded role in patient-centered care | — Charles Lee

FDA approves first cannabis-based drug | — Shauna Garris, Pharm.D.

A Gene Therapy Appears To Replace Missing Protein In Muscular Dystrophy Patients | — Xiao Xiao, Ph.D.

School Updates

New Parking Permits

Aug. 15 is the beginning of the 2018–2019 permit year. Remember to display the new permit beginning Aug. 15. You can throw your old one away.

You must register the license plate numbers of all vehicles you plan to park on campus with Transportation and Parking for affiliates. You can add vehicle information by visiting

New Passwords for PSK Wifi

The passwords for the UNC-PSK and UNC-PSK Guest wireless networks will change Monday, Aug. 13, at 6:30 a.m. This change does not affect the Eduroam network. The UNC-PSK passphrase can be found at The UNC-PSK Guest passphrase can be found at

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.

How to Get 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

Aug. 8 Employee Photo Session
Aug. 9 Annual Durham Bulls Outing
Aug. 10 Young Innovators Program Research Symposium
Aug. 10 Pharmacy Friday
Aug. 15 Pharmaceutical Sciences Graduate Program Orientation
Aug. 22 Employee Photo Session
Aug. 28 Monthly K drive Content Deletion
Aug. 31 Pharmacy Friday
Sept. 2 Employee Photo Session
Sept 7 Pharmacy Friday

New Grants and Contracts


  • David Lawrence, American Heart Association, $53,688, FELLOW: B VICKERMAN Use of Vitamin B12 to Release Multiple Angiogenic Factors with Long Wavelength Light to Achieve Therapeutic Angiogenesis
  • Kuo-Hsiung Lee, NIH National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, $483,933, Plant Anti-HIV Agents
  • Marina Sokolsky, St Baldrick’s Foundation, $99,951, Improving outcomes for medulloblastoma by targeting 2 distinct points in the SHH signaling pathway using novel nanoparticle formulations of pablociclib and vismodegib
  • Tim Wiltshire, American Heart Association, $26,844.00 , FELLOW:OLVIA DONG Pharmacogenomic Testing with DNA2RXTM in Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory Patients


  • Kristy Ainslie, IMMvention Therapeutix, Inc, $104,140, STTR: Advancing Formulation of STING agonist for Universal Flu Vaccine
  • Jeff Aube, University of Kansas Center for Research, Inc., $80,817, Molecular Cancer Therapy Targeting HuR-ARE Interaction
  • Kim Brouwer, NIH National Institute of General Medical Sciences, $696,677, UNC-Duke-Hamner Collaborative Clinical Pharmacology Postdoctoral Training Program
  • Julie Dumond, University of California at San Francisco, $7,433, Epigenomics of ethnic and racial disparities in ARV exposure and treatment outcomes
  • Stephen Frye, NIH National Institute of General Medical Sciences, $416,687, Discovery of Chemical Probes for Chromatin Readers
  • Nate Hathaway, NIH National Institute of General Medical Sciences, $302,270, Mechanism of HP1-mediated heterochromatin assembly and durability in live cells
  • Olexandr Isayev, National Science Foundation, $350,836, Collaborative Research: CDS&E: Development and application of accurate, transferable and extensible deep neural network potentials for molecules and reactions
  • Michael Jay, NIH National Institute of General Medical Sciences, $65,346, FELLOW:J PRYBYLSKI Gadolinium Deposition in the Brain Following Administration of MRI Contrast Agents: Mechanism of Uptake, Determination of Gd Species and Relation to Extravasation
  • Alexander Kabanov, NIH National Cancer Institute, $409,752, Carolina Cancer Nanotechnology Training Program
  • Sam Lai, National Science Foundation, $331,063, Dynamic tuning of barrier properties of hydrogels using weakly adhesive third-party crosslinkers
  • Sam Lai, NIH National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, $633,547, Overcoming anti-PEG immunity to restore prolonged circulation and efficacy of PEGylated therapeutics

New Publications

CBMC – June

CBMC – July

DPET – June

DPET — July

DPMP — June

DPMP — July

DPOP — July



PACE — July

UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy Advancing Medicine for Life

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