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November 2018 Vol. 2 No. 7


The last several weeks have been eventful and productive at the School.

The work to resume the Dean’s search has been concluded. A reconstituted search committee and a new search firm will be announced later this month, and their work will commence immediately after the announcement.

UNC and Monash GPEN attendees (Jian Liu not pictured)

We had great representation at the 2018 GPEN conference held September 26-29 in Singapore.  GPEN, Globalization of Pharmaceutics Education Network, holds international conference biannually that is organized for and by graduate students in pharmaceutical sciences. This network was created for the sole purpose of fostering and facilitating international scientific and cultural exchange and developing leadership among students. This year students, fellows, and faculty from over 50 universities around the world met at the National University of Singapore. Drs. Kim Brouwer, Gauri Rao, Jian Liu, and Dhiren Thakker (GPEN sponsor) among our faculty, and Nicholas Klus, John Prybylski, Jennifer Schiller, Katelyn Arnold, Shaye Hagler, Carla Coste Sanchez and James Beaudoin among our graduate students attended the conference. The conference also provided an opportunity for students, fellows and faculty from our School and our PharmAlliance partner, Monash University Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, to meet and socialize.

There were two major partnership announcements in October that will play a key role in making our promise of “Advancing Medicine for Life” a reality for patients.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Deerfield Management have entered into a partnership to create Pinnacle Hill, LLC., a company seeking to discover new medicines to address the significant unmet medical needs of our times. Deerfield has committed to provide $65 million of targeted funding and drug development expertise to translate promising early-stage research in drug discovery into clinical candidates across a wide range of therapeutic areas.

Pinnacle Hill will address the gap in drug discovery that is often referred to as “the Valley of Death” between basic research funding and early stage drug development funding.  Applications for funding will be accepted starting in January 2019, and will be reviewed by a joint steering committee comprised of three Deerfield representative and three UNC-Chapel Hill representatives – Drs. Terry Magnuson (Vice Chancellor for Research, UNC-Chapel Hill), Blossom Damania (Vice Dean for Research, UNC School of Medicine), and Dhiren Thakker (Interim Dean, UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy).

This partnership has the potential to create the greatest impact on private sector research funding in Carolina’s history and make it one of the top corporate research funded institutions in the country.  I want to thank Kay Wagoner, Associate Director at the Eshelman Institute for Innovation, for leading the effort in making this important partnership a reality.

The Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC) and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have partnered to launch UNC Health Sciences Center at MAHEC with the support of the State of North Carolina. A ceremony was held in October to mark the construction of a new health sciences center building on MAHEC’s Biltmore campus in Asheville that will support and foster a partnership among the UNC health sciences schools and MAHEC to improve health care in the rural areas of North Carolina.

This partnership will enhance our presence in western North Carolina and advance the School’s work in health care research, education, practice, and community engagement.

Several faculty and staff members were recognized recently for their outstanding work:

  • Shawn Hingtgen has been awarded the Philip and Ruth Hettleman Prize for Artistic and Scholarly Achievement by Young Faculty by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
  • Scott Savage and his team at the UNC Medical Center Department of Pharmacy earned an Innovator Award at the 35th Annual National Oncology Conference for Reducing Drug Waste.
  • Kamakshi Rao and a team of program directors, preceptors/mentors, and residents are being recognized at the ASHP Midyear Clinical meeting as one of six 2018 Best Practice Award Recipients for their work on our Flipped Research model.
  • Rebecca Grand received a 2018 Excellence in Innovation Award from the North Carolina Association of Pharmacists for her work providing hepatitis C care in rural communities.
  • The National Institutes of Health awarded a grant of nearly $2 million to Kristy Ainslie to develop a therapeutic vaccine for multiple sclerosis.
  • The Centers for Disease Control awarded a $3 million grant to Stefanie Ferreri, for a study on screening older adults who use prescription opioids and are at risk for falls.
  • Danny Gonzalez received a $2 million NIH Research Project Grant for research focused on drug dosing in children with obesity.
  • Our IT Team consisting of David Dombek, Deric Freeman, Porschia Holmes, Dave Maldonado, Thomas Pope and Bill Vogt have been recognized by the University as 2018 IT Award winners.

Congratulations for this recognition of your pursuit of excellence.

The Well-being and Resiliency Task Force had a one-day meeting on October 26th to assess the progress of various task force teams’ work and to plan for dissemination of the task force’s work and recommendations.

The School celebrated the dedication and eight years of service of Rick Wernoski to the School at a well-attended farewell party, and wished him success in his new role as Senior Vice Provost for Business Operations at UNC Chapel Hill.

The nominations for the Phyllis Smith Staff Award for Excellence were received through November 16th. This $500 award is given annually to an employee of the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy to recognize overall excellence in performance and contribution to the School.  The winner of this award will be announced and recognized at the annual staff luncheon on December 7th.

To the students, staff, and faculty – Thank you for your patience and understanding regarding the inconvenience due to construction in Beard Hall.  We appreciate your patience as we work to create a better environment for learning, teaching, and sharing.

Wish you and your families a very Happy Thanksgiving and safe travels.

Dhiren R. Thakker
Interim Dean and Howard Q. Ferguson Distinguished Professor
Interim Director, Eshelman Institute for Innovation

School News

UNC-Chapel Hill and Deerfield Management Announce the Creation of Pinnacle Hill to Accelerate the Discovery of New Medicines

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Deerfield Management have entered into a partnership to create Pinnacle Hill, LLC., a company seeking to discover new medicines to address the significant unmet medical needs of our times. Deerfield has committed $65 million of targeted funding and to provide drug development expertise in support of promising new drug research across a wide range of therapeutic areas.

UNC Medical Center Department of Pharmacy Earns Innovator Award for Reducing Drug Waste

At the 35th Annual National Oncology Conference, the Association of Community Cancer Centers recognized the UNC Department of Pharmacy and the North Carolina Cancer Hospital this past weekend as one of several forward-thinking cancer program members to create innovative strategies for the effective delivery of cancer care.  The NC Cancer Hospital is UNC Lineberger’s clinical home.

Now in its eighth year, the Innovator Awards recognize ACCC member programs that have created inventive solutions to challenges commonly faced by cancer programs and practices, as well as the multidisciplinary care team. Lindsey Amerine, PharmD, MS, associate director of pharmacy at the UNC Medical Center in Chapel Hill, accepted the award and explained her team’s efforts in a blog post and in a presentation at the conference.

MAHEC, UNC-Chapel Hill Celebrate New Interprofessional Academic Health Center

The Mountain Area Health Education Center and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have partnered for the construction of a new academic health center building on MAHEC’s Biltmore campus in Asheville.

UNC Health Sciences at MAHEC seeks to address health care worker shortages and improve education across a number of health science fields in western North Carolina. The UNC Health Sciences at MAHEC building supports an innovative educational partnership between UNC-Chapel Hill and MAHEC and will house UNC School of Medicine’s Asheville campus; a Master of Public Health program led by UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health; MAHEC’s psychiatry residency program and psychiatry outpatient care; and health care research, education and community engagement initiatives at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy.

Ainslie Awarded $1.89M NIH Grant to Develop Multiple Sclerosis Vaccine 

Hingtgen Awarded UNC Hettleman Prize for Young Faculty

Ferreri Awarded $3M CDC Grant for Study on Opioid Use

In the News

Human skin used to kill cancer cells | WECT — Shawn Hingtgen, Ph.D.

Drug vial optimization reduces waste, saves costs | Healio HemOnc Today — Lindsey Amerine, Pharm.D.

Smart artificial beta cells could lead to new diabetes treatment | EurekAlert!— Zhen Gu, PhD

School Updates

Are you an untenured assistant or associate professor looking for support for a research or scholarly project? 

The Provost’s Office is now accepting applications for competitive Junior Faculty Development Awards paid from IBM and R.J. Reynolds Industries funds.  These $10,000 awards are to be expended during the period beginning January 1, 2019 and ending December 31, 2019.

Any permanent, full-time, salaried member of the faculty without tenure who holds the rank of assistant professor or associate professor is eligible to apply.  Research assistant and associate professors, and clinical assistant and associate professors may also apply.

The terms of these awards and the application process is described on the website of the Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost at:

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! 2019 Payroll Schedules

The 2019 payroll schedules are now available on Payroll’s website and the dates have been added to the Outlook HR/Payroll Deadlines calendar. Please note: the Payroll Schedules are subject to change. For the most up-to-date information, please refer to the online schedules or the Outlook HR/Payroll Deadlines calendar.

NEW! Opting Out of Paper W-2s for Calendar Year 2018

Since calendar year 2015, the University has offered online W-2 distribution as a convenience. Employees can now opt-out of receiving the paper W-2 (also known as consenting to receiving a W-2 form electronically) which helps save paper and reduce costs. To find out more, read the October 16 memo.

New University State Service Recognition Program

The Office of Human Resources is pleased to announce the new University State Service Recognition Program in partnership with UNC Students Stores. Each employee reaching a service milestone will receive an email communication congratulating them on their state service and to select their gift. These tokens of appreciation are just a small way Carolina acknowledges the reliance that the University places on faculty and staff to support and further its mission. Complete information about the new program is available at  In addition, you can view the website employees will use to select their gift at

Surgical Tower Construction Project

UNC Medical Center is in the process of constructing a 333,555 square foot Surgical Tower in front of the N.C. Memorial Hospital. This building will allow for the creation of new, enhanced surgical spaces, new pre- and post- op rooms, and more waiting space for our patients’ families and loved ones. This is an ambitious project that, when complete, will be the largest building on UNC Medical Center’s campus and will also provide an opportunity to enhance existing infrastructure as the new tower is constructed. The construction of the Surgical Tower will present several significant logistical challenges as we move through the project, the most significant of which will be experienced during the first year of the process. We will keep you updated throughout the project as we know more information.

New Hires

Wendy Du, M.B.A., M.S, has joined DPMP as a research specialist working with Shawn Hingtgen, Ph.D. Du earned her M.B.A. from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University and her M.S. from North Carolina State University. Prior to joining Hingtgen’s lab, Du worked as lab manager at Duke University and served as a project coordinator overseas. Her new role in studying stem cell-based cancer therapies in Hingtgen’s lab will consist of administrative responsibilities, laboratory research, financial accounts and lab personnel management.

Alan Kinlaw, Ph.D., M.S.P.H., has joined DPOP as a tenure-track assistant professor. Kinlaw joins the School after a post-doctoral fellowship at UNC’s Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research. He earned his Ph.D. in 2016 and his M.S.P.H. in 2012, both from the Department of Epidemiology at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. Kinlaw’s research interests include patterns of prescription drug use, the comparative effectiveness and safety of medications and medical devices, and approaches for reducing unnecessary antibiotic prescribing, in both the pediatric and adult populations.

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?

Marketing and Communications

The MarCom team is available to help your division or unit with marketing and communications materials including announcements to the School listservs or website edits. To request assistance, go to

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.

Continuing Education

Opportunities for continuing education credits are available through the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy Postgraduate/Continuing Education (PGCE) Program as well as through the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) Certification on Select UNC Cancer Network Lectures.

Upcoming Events

Nov. 16 CIPhER Friday Session: Preparing Students to Communicate About Sensitive Topics with Patients

Nov. 27 Information Session Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program

Nov. 28 Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) Certification on Select UNC Cancer Network Lectures “Understanding and Treating Anxiety & Depression in Patients and Families with Advanced Cancer” 

Nov. 28 Medical and Surgical Oncology Lecture – Understanding and Treating Anxiety & Depression in Patients and Families with Advanced Cancer 

Dec. 7 Annual Holiday Luncheon The Carolina Inn – Chancellor’s Ballroom

Dec. 12 RN and Allied Health Lecture – Complementary Therapies in the Treatment of Cancer

Dec. 19 Medical and Surgical Oncology Lecture – An Update on CAR T Therapy

Jan. 7 Pinnacle Hill RFP pre-proposals. Details coming soon.

New Publications


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