2015 News

Grants & Fellowships: Fall 2015

Pharmaceutical Chemistry department members have received the following grants and fellowships between October and December 2015

10/29/2015: Judy Sakanari was awarded a supplement to her project which allows broad evaluation of available compounds that can be used in mass drug administration programs to kill adult filarial worms (a macrofilaricide) that cause Onchocerciasis and Lymphatic Filariasis. This project has been extended through October 2017, and additional funding was awarded.

Publications: Fall 2015

Pharmaceutical Chemistry faculty members have published the following manuscripts between October and December 2015.

Youmans elected AACP Council of Deans Secretary

Sharon Youmans, PharmD, MPH, and UCSF School of Pharmacy vice dean, is the newly elected Council of Deans Secretary, American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP). 

The council includes a select number of the nation’s leaders in academic pharmacy. Council activities focus on educational policies, professional program administration within academic institutions, and the ties between academic pharmacy and the community.

Wells named a fellow of National Academy of Inventors

James Wells, PhD, whose pioneering innovations in protein engineering and technologies to identify small molecules to aid in drug discovery have yielded more than 60 patents, launched three companies, and created two UCSF technology centers, has been elected as a fellow to the National Academy of Inventors (NAI).

Altschuler and Wu develop new cell-screening approach to speed drug discovery

How do you discover new drugs against diseases such as cancer?

Study identifies eye-drop-soluble compound that could treat cataracts

Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness worldwide, the leading cause of vision loss in the United States, and cases are increasing with an aging population. Currently the condition can be treated with surgery—an expensive intervention that leaves most patients blinded in developing countries untreated.

Shoichet study sheds light on “dark” cell receptors, potential drug targets

More than a quarter of all drugs work by targeting one of a large family of proteins called G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). Hundreds of different GPCRs are embedded in cell membranes, converting stimuli from the outside world—neurotransmitters, hormones, even light—into intracellular signals that can change cell behavior.

Update from the Dean - Fall/Winter 2015

Strategic planning; Recently received research funding: cancer, Alzheimer's, HIV, type 2 diabetes (Kroetz, Keiser, Gross, Roy); Recent faculty publications: fibrosis, biofilms, gout (DeGrado, Yang, Giacomini); Collaborations and partnerships; Patient care: SB 493, scope of practice for California pharmacists; Education: Precision Medicine Student Alliance; New PharmD curriculum development; Faculty honors: Abate, Benet, Burchard, Desai, MacDougall, Wells, Yokoyama; Alumni honors: Levin, Schweitz

Desai elected to the National Academy of Medicine

UCSF School of Pharmacy faculty member Tejal Desai, PhD, has been newly elected to the National Academy of Medicine (NAM), formerly known as the Institute of Medicine (IOM).

NAM membership is considered one of the highest honors in health and medicine. Elected by current members, the membership recognizes individuals who have made major contributions to the advancement of the medical sciences, health care, and public health.

Zev Gartner named one of Popular Science's 'Brilliant 10' of 2015

The next frontier in developing therapies for cancer and other diseases could come through studying organ development or tumor growth in living humans. Problem is, there’s no ethical way of doing that using current technology.

Zev Gartner, PhD, has focused on the next best thing: His lab is building fully functioning 3-D human tissue, cell by cell.

Publications: Summer 2015

Pharmaceutical Chemistry faculty members have published the following manuscripts between July and September 2015:

Grants & Fellowships: Summer 2015

Pharmaceutical Chemistry department members have received the following grants and fellowships between July and September 2015:

9/30/2015: Steven Altschuler's Convergence Scholar Award entitled, "The genetic, epigenetic, and immunological underpinnings of cancer evolution through treatment" was funded by The V Foundation. This award will be funded over a three-year period.

Benet to receive ISSX North American Scientific Achievement Award

UCSF School of Pharmacy faculty member Leslie Benet, PhD, has been named the 2015 recipient of the North American Scientific Achievement Award, presented by the International Society for the Study of Xenobiotics (ISSX).

Sheng Ding applies stem cell method to recreate cells lost in spinal cord injuries

Sheng Ding, PhD, is a stem cell scientist who uses novel small molecules to control and reprogram stem cell activities in various tissue types. Applying his groundbreaking techniques, he has previously succeeded in transforming skin cells into functional brain, heart, liver, and insulin-producing pancreas cells.

Antibody Network partners with Celgene to develop cancer therapies

A new collaboration between Celgene Corp. and the Recombinant Antibody Network (RAN) will support the development of next-generation, antibody-based cancer therapies. The RAN is a consortium comprising researchers from the UCSF School of Pharmacy (UCSF Antibiome Center), the University of Chicago, and the University of Toronto.

Roy receives JDRF funding to develop implants to treat type 1 diabetes

UCSF School of Pharmacy faculty member Shuvo Roy, PhD, has received a three-year $1 million grant to create surgically implantable capsules of donor pancreas cells to free type 1 diabetes patients from daily insulin injections and the disease’s potentially life-threatening complications. The work is being funded by JDRF, the largest charitable supporter of type 1 diabetes research.

Matt Jacobson named chair of the Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry

Renowned researcher and educator Matthew Jacobson, PhD, has been named the new chair of the UCSF School of Pharmacy’s Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry. His appointment by Dean B. Joseph Guglielmo, PharmD, will be effective January 15, 2016.

Jacobson will become the department’s 10th chair since its formation in 1958. He succeeds James Wells, PhD, who is stepping down from the post after leading the department since 2008.

Notable publications

Altschuler GSK-3 modulates cellular responses to a broad spectrum of kinase inhibitors.
Thorne CA, Wichaidit C, Coster AD, Posner BA, Wu LF, Altschuler SJ. Nat Chem Biol.

A simple image correction method for high-throughput microscopy.
Coster AD, Wichaidit C, Rajaram S, Altschuler SJ, Wu LF. Nat Methods.

Sali named associate dean of research

Andrej Sali, PhD, has been appointed associate dean of research of the UCSF School of Pharmacy, effective July 1, 2015. The appointment is in addition to Sali’s full professorship in the School’s Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences. As he continues with his own research, Sali will advise Dean B. Joseph Guglielmo, PharmD, and School leaders on pertinent research issues and opportunities and will represent the School in critical campus research decisions.

Publications: spring 2015

Pharmaceutical Chemistry faculty members have published the following manuscripts since March 2015 

Tetrafluorophenoxymethyl ketone cruzain inhibitors with improved pharmacokinetic properties as therapeutic leads for Chagas' disease.  
Neitz RJ, Bryant C, Chen S, Gut J, Hugo Caselli E, Ponce S, Chowdhury S, Xu H, Arkin MR, Ellman JA, Renslo AR. 
Bioorg Med Chem Lett. 2015 Jun 23. pii: S0960-894X(15)00659-9.
 

Study discovers simple rules underlying complex brain development in fly

How does brain circuitry organize itself during development? In at least one case—the seemingly complex visual system of the fruit fly, which connects its 800-facet compound eyes to its brain—the answer lies in just three simple rules.

Taking a road less traveled: 2015 Distinguished Alumnus Pamela Schweitzer

The 2015 Distinguished Alumnus of the Year is Rear Admiral Pamela Schweitzer, PharmD ’87. The recognition by the Pharmacy Alumni Association is given to the School graduate who has made outstanding contributions to the profession of pharmacy, to society, and/or to UCSF.

The PharmD graduate of the future

We are rapidly moving forward to develop a doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) curriculum that will prepare pharmacists to excel in a changing health care marketplace. A recent interview with Sharon Youmans, PharmD, MPH, our vice dean, lays out our plans. What will be the impact of the new curriculum? Most importantly, how will it affect patients? As we consider the future of pharmacy education and practice, here is a scenario we are working to realize.

PharmD curriculum transformation

The UCSF School of Pharmacy’s top-ranked doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) curriculum is in the initial stages of its most significant transformation in two decades. Named the UCSF Bridges Pharmacy Curriculum Project, the effort is led by Vice Dean Sharon Youmans, PharmD, MPH, and is currently targeted to launch fully with students entering the program in 2017.

History event highlights School innovations in research, practice, education

Concluding a year-long celebration of the 150th anniversary of the founding of UC San Francisco, the School of Pharmacy presented its own “Making History” event in Byers Auditorium on the Mission Bay campus on May 30, 2015.

Grants & Fellowships: Spring 2015

Pharmaceutical Chemistry department members have received the following grants and fellowships between April and June 2015.

4/24/2015: John Gross was awarded a new R21 grant from the NIH/NIAID entitled, “Developing Small Molecule Screens for Vif-APRBEC3 antagonists.” The project will run until 2017.

Pharmacist interventions, formulary conversion tools, and warfarin discharge education take top honors at annual seminar

Studies of pharmacist interventions during comprehensive medication reviews, the impact of new tools to aid drug selection from a hospital formulary, and a project ensuring that hospital patients receiving anti-clotting drugs are properly educated upon discharge took top honors at the Department of Clinical Pharmacy 17th Annual Spring Research Seminar.

UCSF School of Pharmacy celebrates commencement 2015

The UCSF School of Pharmacy held its 2015 commencement ceremony on May 8 at Louise Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco, conferring doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) degrees on a 125-member graduating class.

Zev Gartner receives tenure

Zev Gartner, PhD, has received tenure and advanced to the position of associate professor. Researchers in the Gartner Lab study mammalian cell-cell interactions, with an emphasis on how tissue structure serves to organize cell-cell interactions in vivo. They work entirely on cell-cell interactions relevant to human biology, using the human breast as a model tissue.

Danica Galonic Fujimori receives tenure

Danica Galonic Fujimori, PhD, has received tenure and advanced to the position of associate professor. She holds a joint appointment with the Departments of Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology. Fujimori’s research is centered on the enzymology and cellular roles of post-translational methylation.

Honoring student achievements

The annual UCSF School of Pharmacy Student Awards and Recognition Dinner, hosted by Dean B. Joseph Guglielmo, PharmD, and sponsored by Ralph’s Inc., was held on Friday, May 1, 2015, at UCSF’s Mission Bay campus.

The event honored dozens of students whose excellence and leadership were recognized at the campus, state, and national levels with scholarships and awards. The following is a brief selection from the evening’s presentations.

Wells elected member of American Academy of Arts and Sciences

James Wells, PhD, chair of the School’s Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, has been elected as a member of the 2015 class of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Grants & Fellowships: Winter 2015

Pharmaceutical Chemistry department members have received the following grants and fellowships since January 2015

1/19/2015: Steven Altschuler was awarded an R01 grant from NIH/NIGMS entitled “Systems-level role of GSK3 in colonic epithelium homeostasis and drug resistance.”

3/2/2015: John Gross was awarded a competitive renewal for his R01 grant entitled “Structure and Function of the Decapping Enzyme Complex.” The project will now run until 2019.

Publications: Winter 2015

Pharmaceutical Chemistry faculty members have published the following manuscripts since January 2015

Update from the Dean - Spring/Summer 2015

Strategic planning; Top NIH funding; Recently received research funding (Craik, Gartner, Abate, Cole, Aweeka); Recent faculty publications (DeGrado, Ahituv, Cutler, Pon, Branch, Chuang, Huynh); Education (Youmans): UCSF Bridges Pharmacy Curriculum Project, DRIVE Team; new staff (Nguyen, Miller); Honors (Corelli, Dong, Craik, DeGrado, Ferrone, Shin, Jacobson, Yokoyama); New faculty member (Wang); Web launch; Alumni Weekend: Making History event, Distinguished Alumnus of the Year (Schweitzer); Rec

Reception welcomes four faculty to department

Four faculty members have recently joined the Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry and were welcomed at a reception at Mission Bay on February 25. The guests of honor were Steven Altschuler, PhD; Lani Wu, PhD; Lei Wang, PhD; and Brian Shoichet, PhD. Shoichet has returned to UCSF after a year at the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, University of Toronto.

 

Welcoming new Chair, Department of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology

Wendell Lim, PhD, is the new chair of the Department of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology (CMP). His appointment as chair was effective January 1, 2015. Lim holds a joint faculty position in the Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry.

Congratulations to Wendell, and sincere thanks to Kevan Shokat, PhD, who chaired the CMP department since 2010.

UCSF School of Pharmacy leads in NIH funding for 35th year in a row

For the 35th consecutive year, the UCSF School of Pharmacy has received more funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) than any other pharmacy school in the United States.

School researchers were awarded $31.8 million during the 2014 fiscal year, from October 1, 2013 to September 30, 2014.

Robert Gibson: alumnus, educator, advocate

School of Pharmacy alumnus Robert Gibson, PharmD '58, has been a tireless advocate for equality in education and in the profession of pharmacy, and is still active as a board member of the California Pharmacists Association Education Foundation.

DeGrado receives Protein Society’s Stein and Moore Award

William DeGrado, PhD, faculty member in the School’s Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, has been named the 2015 recipient of The Protein Society’s Stein and Moore Award.

The award is given annually by the international society “to recognize eminent leaders in protein science who have made sustained high-impact research contributions to the field.”

“His impact on the field of protein science can hardly be overestimated.” – The Protein Society

Innovation in Education Awards go to Shin, Jacobson, Ferrone

The inaugural presentation of the Dean’s Innovation in Education Awards took place during the School of Pharmacy faculty meeting at Mission Hall on the Mission Bay campus on January 6, 2015.

Honorees receiving the award’s engraved glass apple and $1,000 were Jaekyu Shin, PharmD, and Marcus Ferrone, PharmD, JD, faculty members in the Department of Clinical Pharmacy; and Matt Jacobson, PhD, faculty member in the Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry.