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Volume 1 Number 1 ■ Summer 2012

CATALYST Research highlights from the University of Illinois College of Pharmacy


Explorers of Economy ■ Alexander Mankin, RiboCop ■ Research Day 2012 ■ “Why I Love Research” Faculty Essays

8 Features 3

Explorers of Economy

The Center for Pharmacoeconomic Research celebrates ten years of investigating outcomes—and producing a few of its own.




Fair Science

Alexander Mankin’s studies of bacterial ribosomes and the antibiotics that target them have yielded results that could lead to more effective treatment of bacterial ailments.

Biggest-ever Research Days event offers learning, awards, and a chance to show off.

In Every Issue 05 News 07 Awards 10 Investing in Intellect

Illustration by Sally Vitsky


3 Editorial Publisher Jerry L. Bauman, bs ’76, pharmd, res ’77 Dean Editor Jessica A. Canlas Assistant Director of Communications Copy Editor Rob Hoff UIC Office of Publications Services Contributing Editors Sonya Booth Hugh M. Cook Samuel Hostettler Photography Joshua Clark Barry Donald Roberta Dupuis-Devlin Ben Stickan Designer Kimberly Hegarty UIC Office of Publications Services

On the Cover College of Pharmacy Administrative Officers

James Bono, mha Business Development and Administrative Affairs

Department Heads William Beck, phd Biopharmaceutical Sciences

Marieke Schoen, pharmd ’88 Academic Affairs

Judy Bolton, phd Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy Nicholas Popovich, bs ’68, ms ’71, phd ’73 Pharmacy Administration Janet Engle, pharmd ’85 Pharmacy Practice Vice Dean, Rockford Regional Program David W. Bartels, pharmd

Thomas TenHoeve III, phd Student Affairs

Contact The Catalyst The Catalyst (MC 874) 833 South Wood Street, Room 184M Chicago, Illinois 60612

Assistant Deans Debra Agard, pharmd ’92, mhpe Student Affairs

Phone: (312) 996-7785 E-mail:

Suzanne Rabi, pharmd ’04 Academic Affairs

Submit letters and feedback to the editor at Letters may be edited for length and clarity. All reader correspondence to the magazine and its editorial staff will be treated as assigned for publication unless otherwise specified. For address changes, call (312) 996-0160.

Executive Associate Dean Janet Engle, pharmd ’85 Associate Deans Clara Awe, phd, edd Diversity Affairs Catalyst – Summer 2012 – |



Grants Aim to Hasten Discovery of new TB Drugs by Sam Hostettler Forty-five years. That’s how long it’s been since the last drug—rifampin—hit the market to treat tuberculosis, an infection that affects nearly one third of the world’s population and causes 1.8 million deaths annually. The UIC College of Pharmacy has received three new federally funded grants to hasten the discovery of new therapeutic treatments. Tuberculosis, once the leading cause of death in the United States, is a still-common, and in many cases lethal, infectious disease caused by various strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. It usually attacks the lungs but can also affect other parts of the body. It is spread through

“Managing tuberculosis is challenging in that there is an increasing abundance of multidrug-resistant strains, which has led to a severe health problem,” Klein says. “The majority of cases are found in developing countries and regions with prevalent HIV/AIDS problems, and leads to an urgent need to find novel antituberculosis compounds.” Birgit Jaki, research assistant professor of medicinal chemistry and pharmacognosy and principal investigator of a second grant, will study actinomycetes—filamentous or rod-shaped microorganisms found in soil that have a great metabolic capability that generates unusual molecules of therapeutic value.

The new technology can handle large quantities of samples and will result in the discovery of “a plethora of new, unidentified antituberculosis natural products, with one or more of these being a viable lead compound for tuberculosis drug development,” Jaki says. The third project, under the direction of Scott Franzblau, director of the institute, will establish in vitro assays to rapidly detect the antituberculosis activity of liver enzyme–derived metabolites—a weakness of many current methods, Franzblau says. “Current algorithms for high-throughput, screening-based drug discovery for antimicrobial agents, including those for tuberculosis, fail to account for the possibility of active metabolites early in the drug discovery process,” he says. “Compounds that would only be active after metabolism in the liver are not detected in high-throughput screens.”

Roberta Dupuis-Devlin

High-throughput screening uses robotics, data processing and control software, liquid handling devices, and sensitive detectors to quickly conduct millions of chemical, genetic, or pharmacological tests. The process can rapidly identify active compounds, antibodies, or genes that modulate a particular biomolecular pathway. The results provide a starting point for drug design.

the air when people who have an active infection cough or sneeze. College of Pharmacy researchers, led by Larry Klein, senior research scientist at UIC’s Institute for Tuberculosis Research, will chemically optimize a series of compounds, the prototype of which was originally discovered by feeding simple chemicals to a genetically altered strain of E. coli. Optimization involves repeating a cycle of chemical synthesis followed by testing for potency against the tubercle bacillus, lack of toxicity in mammalian cells, and stability in the presence of enzymes in the blood and the liver. 2


– Summer 2012 – Catalyst

Jaki’s study will utilize a targeted isolation procedure using high-speed countercurrent chromatography to assign a structure or compound class to an active principle at an early stage of the drug discovery process. Once the structure is known, researchers at the Institute for Tuberculosis Research can rapidly isolate larger amounts of material. This approach is a departure from the classic bioactivityguided isolation procedure, says Jaki, who is an associate researcher at the institute. “Industry and funding agencies shy away from [the] traditional approach, because it is extremely time and labor intensive, and the outcome is often unpredictable.”

The tuberculosis-active metabolite assays should preclude the need for identifying the structure of active metabolites and then synthesizing them in order to confirm their presence or absence, Franzblau says. The three two-year grants, totaling nearly $1.3 million, are funded through the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, one of the National Institutes of Health. The Institute for Tuberculosis Research is a drug discovery research facility working to develop new drugs to combat an old, but still evolving, global public-health threat. The institute is unique in bringing an industrial model of drug discovery into an academic environment and applying it to a neglected disease. In addition to in-house discovery projects, the institute also collaborates with public and private institutions worldwide in the effort to eradicate tuberculosis.


Molecules on Branched-Polymer Surfaces Can Capture Rare Tumor Cells in Blood by Sam Hostettler The removal of rare tumor cells circulating in the blood might be possible with the use of biomolecules bound to dendrimers, highly branched synthetic polymers, which could efficiently sift and capture the diseased cells, according to new research at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Dendrimers have been used to encapsulate drug molecules and serve as a delivery vehicle, but in the new study they were employed to capture circulating tumor cells by biomimicry—using nanotechnology to create artificial surfaces much like those in real cells. “We want to take advantage of what nature gives us,” says Seungpyo Hong, lead researcher of the study, published in the journal Angewandte Chemie. “We want to create new biomimetic surfaces that will allow us to remove damaged cells from the blood.” Hong, assistant professor of biopharmaceutical sciences at UIC, and his coworkers created a highly sensitive surface that enables multivalent binding—the simultaneous binding of many molecules to multiple receptors in a biological system. The biomimetic surface was created using dendrimers of seventh-generation polyamidoamine, or PAMAM, and the antiepithelial cell adhesion molecule, or aEpCAM. In the body, cancer cells can detach from a primary tumor and flow throughout the bloodstream, enabling them to seed distant new tumors. Rare and difficult to capture, only a few circulating tumor cells can be found in a milliliter of blood in a cancer patient. By comparison, the same volume of blood contains several million white blood cells and a billion red blood cells, Hong said. Three breast cancer cell lines were used as circulating tumor cell models, with each used to compare the cell adhesion of the dendrimer surfaces to a linear polymer of polyethylene glycol. PEG is commonly used to bind molecules to improve the safety and efficiency of therapeutics.

The nanoscale PAMAM dendrimers were chosen because their size and surface dimension could accommodate multiple antiepithelial cell adhesion molecules, Hong said. This enabled the multivalent binding, along with the physiological process of “cell rolling” induced by E-selectin, which mimics the process by which circulating tumor cells are recruited to the endothelia and enhances the surface sensitivity toward tumor cells. The surface developed by the UIC research team demonstrated up to a million-fold increase in binding strength and up to a seven-fold increase in detection efficiency, as compared to the aEpCAM-coated PEG surface that is the current gold standard for circulating tumor cell detection. Hong says this is the first study to capture the tumor cells on the surface exploiting the multivalent effect, which is most likely due to the spherical architecture of dendrimers. The research was selected as a “Hot Paper” by Angewandte Chemie and highlighted in Faculty of 1000 by Donald Tomalia, the inventor of PAMAM dendrimers. The results demonstrate that the combination of nanotechnology and biomimicry has a “great potential to be applied for highly sensitive detection of rare tumor cells from blood,” Hong said. Coauthors are David Eddington, associate professor of bioengineering at UIC, and research assistants Ja Hye Myung, Khyati Gajjar, and Jelena Saric. The research was funded through a grant from the National Science Foundation. Catalyst – Summer 2012 – |


Enjoying research is a bit esoteric to describe, sometimes it starts withlove initial spark of insight, perhaps geminating an idea with the fertilizer from another research field. As painstaking as the process of seeing an idea to its completion can be, it is deeply rewarding to develop a publication or product that actually impacts the way others think about their research and/or practice health care. That feeling is multiplied when done as part of collaborative effort, in fact is only possible in many cases when it is a collaborative effort, and this so why being surrounded -Simon Pickard, with excellent colleaguesCencanterbeforsoPhaintrinsically andarchextrinsically rmacoeconomic Rese impactful. why I


Enjoying research is a bit esoteric to describe. Sometimes it starts with initial spark of insight, perhaps germinating

an idea with the fertilizer from another research field. As painstaking as the process of seeing an idea to its completion can be, it is deeply rewarding to develop a publication or product that actually impacts the way others think about their research and/or practice health care. That feeling is

multiplied when done as part of collaborative effort, in fact is only possible in many cases when it is a collaborative effort,

and this why being surrounded by excellent colleagues can be so intrinsically and extrinsically impactful.



– Summer 2012 – Catalyst

One of my favorite quotes is by G.K. Chesterton: “Art love is limitation; the essence of every picture is the frame.” Similarly, to me, every study is and must be limited by its “frame” with well-defined objectives. However, we must not forget that the frame also provides a perspective. Every study has a unique underlying “story” that encompasses the hypotheses being tested or generated. Research is exciting if it tells well-supported, meaningful stories that contradict common assumptions long held to be truths or discover novel perspectives not previously asked or spoken. Through this process, research would shed new light – however ibenefit not a few but all. and the essencofeverystudy indeed is the frame. why I


One of my favorite quotes is by G.K. Chesterton: “Art is limitation;

the essence of every picture is the frame.” Similarly, to me, every study is and must be limited by its “frame” with well-defined objectives.

However, we must not forget that the frame also provides a perspective. Every study has a unique underlying “story” that encompasses the

hypotheses being tested or generated. Research is exciting if it tells wellsupported, meaningful stories that contradict common assumptions long held to be truths or discover novel perspectives not previously asked or spoken. Through this process, research would shed new

light—however incremental it might be—on the root causes of complex societal problems and offer effective solutions that would benefit not a few, but all. Rephrasing Chesterton’s quote, I believe that research is limitation, and the essence of every study indeed is the frame.

-Denys Lau, Pharmacy Administration

Catalyst – Summer 2012 – |




the herbarium at the University of Anitoqiua in Colombia. According to Soejarto, the concept of multidisciplinary collaboration in scientific research was one of the most significant things he learned from Farnsworth, who was a research professor of pharmacognosy and senior university scholar at UIC’s College of Pharmacy until he died last year at the age of 81.

Djaja Doel Soejarto, professor of medicinal chemistry and pharmacognosy, was named the 2012 Distinguished Economic Botanist by the Society for Economic Botany. This annual award recognizes outstanding accomplishment pertinent to the goals of the society. The Society for Economic Botany was established in 1959 to foster and encourage scientific research, education, and related activities on the past, present, and future uses of plants and the relationship between plants and people and to make the results of such research available to the scientific community and the general public through meetings and publications. Soejarto is also the recipient of the 2012 American Botanical Council Normal R. Farnsworth Excellence in Botanical Research Award. Soejarto, who also teaches biology in UIC’s Department of Biological Sciences and is a research associate professor at the Field Museum of Natural History, is principal investigator of the Vietnam-Laos International Cooperative Biodiversity Group, a program for collaborative research in the pharmaceutical studies, housed in the College. Soejarto leads the initiative in inventorying the medicinal plants of Vietnam’s Cuc Phuong National Park, analyzing plants in Vietnam and Laos for potential drug development, supporting economic development in Vietnam and Laos, and making information on Cuc Phuong’s plants available on the web. Fifty-seven new and active compounds have been discovered thus far. Some highlights of his scientific career include the completion of the taxonomic revision of the genus Saurauia, the discovery of anti-HIV calanolides from a pair of Calophyllum species, and the founding of 6


– Summer 2012 – Catalyst

Several faculty investigators were awarded funding in the inaugural series of the UIC Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research Areas of Excellence Awards. A group of pharmacy practice researchers, Clinical Assistant Professor Julio Duarte, Associate Professor Larisa Cavallari, Assisant Professor Jeffrey Bishop, and Assistant Professor Monsheel Sodhi, received a Phase 1 award for their project “Feasibility of an NIH Pharmacogenomics Research Network.” Professor Gregory Thatcher and Associate Professor Pavel Pethukov, both of medicinal chemistry and pharmacognosy, are principal investigators on Phase 2 projects: “Development of novel inhibitors of PBEF/NAMPT to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension” and “Antihepatitis B virus (HBV) compounds targeting host factors,” respectively.

In February, Adam Negrusz, associate professor of forensic sciences, became a diplomate of the American Board of Forensic Toxicology. Considered the most prestigious credential in forensic toxicology, the honor makes Negrusz the only forensic toxicologist bearing the title in the Chicago metropolitan area and places him among a select group of approximately 130 scientists in the United States who hold this distinction.

Students Chaitanya Aggarwal, doctoral candidate in medicinal chemistry and pharmacognosy, was named a 2012 Chicago Biomedical Consortium Scholar. Aggarwal will receive $5,000 to cover academic-related expenses. The award is partially funded by the Chicago Biomedical Consortium with support from the Search Funds at The Chicago Community Trust. A partnership between Northwestern University, the University of Chicago, and UIC, the CBC’s mission is to stimulate collaboration among scientists at those institutions that will transform research at the frontiers of biomedicine.

Assistant professor of pharmacology Maria Barbolina’s paper, “Fractalkine Recptor CX3CR1 Is Expressed in Epithelia Ovarian Carcinoma Cells and Required for Motility and Adhesion to Peritoneal Mesothelial Cells,” was published as the cover feature in January’s edition of Molecular Cancer Research. Denys Lau, associate professor of pharmacy administration, is interim section editor for Pharmaceutical Economics & Health Policy at Clinical Therapeutics, an international peerreviewed journal of drug therapy, as of March.

Pulkit Gupta, pharmacognosy; Fatima Khaja, biopharmaceutical sciences; and Fang-Ju Lin,


Two-time Riback Fellow pursues dual interests in combined-degree program

pharmacy administration, are recipients of the Dean’s Scholar Award, the most distinguished award that UIC offers to current graduate students. Awardees are considered the most promising and most likely to make outstanding contributions to this institution and to their fields of learning. This award, given to 20 students a year, carries a stipend of $20,600 plus a tuition and fee waiver. The combined value of the three components of the Dean’s Scholar Award for this year is more than $33,500 for an Illinois resident and more than $45,500 for a nonresident. Hazem Abdelkarim and Krishna Kannan, both of medicinal chemistry and pharmacognosy, along with Jason Buhrman, biopharmaceutical sciences, received Spring 2012 Provost and Deiss Awards

When Jamie Rayahin, P2, was completing her bachelor’s degree at UIC in biological sciences, she already knew that her path was leading her to pharmacy school. An admitted lover of science, Rayahin— Jamie Rayahin with a little encouragement from a pharmacist family member—saw an opportunity in to combine her enjoyment of science with an interest in patient care. “What I really like about pharmacy is that it’s different from medicine or dentistry, where it’s all patient physiology,” she explains. “With pharmacy, there’s more chemistry, biology, more interdisciplinary collaboration.”

But Rayahin, who’d gained experience conducting research in both high school and undergrad, envisioned herself potentially pursuing a career in industry. So, to supplement her clinical education on the way to her PharmD, Rayahin chose to pursue her PhD in biopharmaceutical sciences as well. “It [the PharmD/PhD program] gives you other outlets in terms of career opportunities, like academia and industry,” says Rayahin, whose areas of interest include pharmaceutics and drug delivery. “In that sense, it can be good for someone who doesn’t know what they want to do with their PharmD, or if their interests are split between clinical and research.” Rayahin strongly recommends, however, that students interested in the joint program get some research experience under their belts—that they learn what it takes to be a researcher. “I love that UIC has this program, that I can study both the clinical side and basic science at the same time,” says Rayahin. “This is the greatest opportunity I’ve had in my entire life.”

Jolly Good Fellows College of Pharmacy David J. Riback Research Fellows receive a $5,000 stipend to pursue research training in the summer for ten weeks, full-time. Upon completion, fellows submit a report and are encouraged to present their results during the annual COP Research Days.

for Graduate Research. The awards, ranging from $1,000 to $3,000 towards research costs, recognizes outstanding students in their fields of study and is administered by the UIC Graduate College.

You, too, can recognize and support today’s finest pharmaceutical researchers at the College. Visit for details.

2012 Fellows: Alexandra Goncharenko, pharmacy practice Kim Heesue, pharmacy practice Hyungsik Ahn, biopharmaceutical sciences Jamie Rayahin, biopharmaceutical sciences Glenn Roma, biopharmaceutical sciences Peter Shanin, biopharmaceutical sciences

Photos by Joshua Clark Catalyst – Summer 2012 – |


The most endearing aspect of scientific research is the pursuit of answers toloveseemingly insurmountable questions - especially when these questions pertain to the health and safety of humans. By simply asking the question “why?” and demanding legitimate answers to such inquiries, we have been able to connect populations of humans that are separated by oceans, explore the origins of our species via the analysis of planets outside Earth’s atmosphere, and double the human lifespan with the discovery that tiny microbes have the ability to defend themselves with chemical defenses. The beauty of science lies in the f a ct that we admit -Brian Murphy, Pharmacognosy l Chemist icinaknow that we doMednot thery and answers to myriad questions, investigating. understanding and consequently been a detriment to humand progress. why I


seemingly The most endearing aspect of scientific research is the pursuit of answers to and safety insurmountable questions—especially when these questions pertain to the health answers to such of humans. By simply asking the question “Why?” and demanding legitimate ated by oceans, inquiries, we have been able to connect populations of humans that are separ sphere, and explore the origins of our species via the analysis of planets outside Earth’s atmo y to defend double the human lifespan with the discovery that tiny microbes have the abilit themselves with chemical defenses.

answers to myriad The beauty of science lies in the fact that we admit that we do not know the or against our questions, but that we will use any and all research tools to build evidence for rse? What are proposed research question. Are there other water-based planets in the unive with rising the short- and long-term effects of ocean acidification? How do we keep pace community that drug resistance to antibiotics? Through peer review and voracious debate, a cases discover is intent on discovering truth will find its way to common ground and in some unfortunate solutions to the problems they were investigating. Experimental failure is an th of scientific regularity; however, failure to ask questions has historically stunted the grow ess. understanding and consequently been a detriment to human health and progr



– Summer 2012 – Catalyst

Investing in Intellect

Joshua Clark

Joshua Clark

Thatcher named first Vahlteich Chair Gregory R. J. Thatcher, professor and assistant head of medicinal chemistry and pharmacognosy, was named the College’s inaugural Vahlteich Chair in Medicinal Chemistry. Thatcher serves on numerous NIH review boards and the scientific advisory board of the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation. He has more than 110 publications in the areas of medicinal chemistry, chemical biology, and chemical toxicology and more than 20 issued patents. Thatcher’s research interests in cancer and neurodegenerative disorders led to the founding of GoBang Therapeutics Ltd. and the subsequent development of a novel drug class for Alzheimer’s, resulting in completion of Phase Ia clinical trials. Applying concepts of physical organic chemistry to translational research in medicinal chemistry, Thatcher’s research group incorporates methodologies from drug design and synthesis to cell culture, animal behavioral studies, and proteomics. A long-term interest in understanding and harnessing nitric oxide mimetic bioactivity continues alongside interest in other clinical drug classes in a variety of indications, most notably sex hormones. Current projects funded by NIA and NCI focus on small molecules in the context of neurodegenerative disorders, hormone-dependent cancer, and the balance between cancer chemoprevention and cytotoxicity, as attested to the variety of corresponding author papers in journals including Endocrinology, Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, The Journal of Biological Chemistry, Neuropsychopharmacology, and, of course, Journal of Medicinal Chemistry. He has mentored more than 40 doctoral students.

Be a patron of the art of science.

Visit pharmalumni. to find out how.

Alumnus Hans Vahlteich received his PhC in 1917 and PhG in 1918 from what was then called the University of Illinois School of Pharmacy. Vahlteich spent most of his career at Best Foods, Inc., where he patented work in the selective hydrogenation of domestic vegetable oils that accelerated the development and public acceptance of margarine and mayonnaise. To ensure continued support for groundbreaking research at the College, Vahlteich and his wife established the Hans and Ella McCollum Vahlteich Endowment Fund, which has awarded

more than $1M to junior research faculty (see this year’s Vahlteich Scholars on page 16). The College’s first endowed chair, the Vahlteich Chair in Medicinal Chemistry, was also named in Hans’s honor with a generous gift from his daughter, Beverly DeLaney (at right, with husband, Bill). In 2009, Vahlteich and his lasting impact on the College and profession was recognized with at the College’s Timeless Gala sesquicentennial celebration with a Legacy Award.

Roberta Dupuis-Devlin

A Legacy of Innovation: Hans Vahlteich

Catalyst – Summer 2012 – |


Explorers of Economy The Center for Pharmacoeconomic Research celebrates ten years of investigating outcomes—and producing a few of its own. by Daniel P. Smith Photography by Joshua Clark



– Summer 2012 – Catalyst



t the turn of the century, total prescription drug sales in the United States approached $125 billion, and health-care systems across the country faced mounting pressure to reduce costs. Patients, pharmaceutical companies, insurance corporations, managed care organizations, and government agencies all clamored for solutions.

seeds that would allow the university’s efforts in pharmacoeconomics to blossom in future years.

Enter pharmacoeconomics, which considers the costs (investments) and benefits (outcomes) of pharmaceuticals and pharmacy services by comparing alternatives. Though cost is sometimes viewed as a “dirty word” in health care, the importance of weighing costs against economic, clinical, and humanistic outcomes has become not only relevant, but a vital field of study.

“The U.S. really didn’t turn a strong eye to pharmacoeconomics until the early 1990s, and then

Eager to address one of the twenty-first century’s most pressing and controversial issues, UIC established the Center for Pharmacoeconomic Research (CPR) in 2002, hoping that it would become an influential force in this industryshaping discipline. And in its decade of operation, the CPR, the Midwest’s lone entity devoted to this type of research, has accomplished just that with a pioneering spirit and resolute mission. Guided by the mantra “Establishing Evidence and Value,” the CPR’s faculty researchers, a collection of internationally renowned experts with interdisciplinary skills and knowledge, have produced groundbreaking, patient-centered outcomes research that informs health-care decision making, while the center’s focus on disseminating knowledge has further moved the health-care needle.

The Makings of the Center for Pharmacoeconomic Research

In the 1980s and into the 1990s, a trio of UIC pharmacy faculty—Hind Hatoum, Richard Hutchinson, and Ken Witte—began the university’s early work in outcomes research. Primarily concerned with the evaluation of clinical pharmacy services, the group’s work planted valuable

In 1993, UIC more aggressively aligned itself with the still-novel discipline when then-assistant professor Sheldon Kong established the school’s first graduate course in pharmacoeconomics.

“There isn’t another college of pharmacy in the nation that has the DEcIDE Center grant or CERT, let alone both.” – Dean Jerry Bauman it emerged fast,” says Kong, a UIC faculty member from 1992 to 1995 who currently leads outcomes research at Merck. “UIC needed to respond to this changing environment, and this course was a step in that direction.” Three years after Kong’s course introduction, thenUIC pharmacy professor Jerry Bauman, bs ’76, res ‘77, proposed a program in pharmaceutical outcomes research. Though the proposal wasn’t approved, Bauman retained his vision, convinced that this was a crucial direction for the College to explore.

When Bauman became head of the department of pharmacy practice in 1998, he revisited his original proposal and resurrected his ambition to cement pharmacoeceonomics in the curriculum. Seeking cohesiveness and organization, Bauman believed a formal center would position UIC to capitalize on the rising opportunities in outcomes research. “If we were to take advantage of this opportunity, fill the void, and even gain a degree of national prominence,” Bauman recalls, “then I knew we needed to step up and make pharmacoeconomics a major theme of our department.” Bauman first needed the people to drive the initiative. He recruited Glen Schumock, one-time assistant director of pharmacy at the UIC Hospital and Clinics and, at the time, a hospital pharmacy director in Wisconsin, to return to UIC and realize the idea, alongside Surrey Walton, a full-fledged outcomes researcher on staff since 1997. Together, the tandem began the internal process of forming the CPR. “We all felt like outcomes research was an area that would only grow and that forming a center would be a way to spark collaboration and secure funding,” Walton says. On Nov. 5, 2001, Schumock, who would later become the CPR’s first director, and Walton went before university officials and proposed the CPR, a center to be jointly administered by the Departments of Pharmacy Practice and Pharmacy Administration. On Nov. 28, 2001, the Illinois Board of Higher Education granted the center temporary status, which led to recognition of its permanent status on Jan. 29, 2008.

Key Milestones

Almost immediately, the CPR established itself as one of the nation’s most ambitious and productive centers of its kind. CPR faculty authored dozens of publications, served as principal investigators on practice-changing studies, presented research papers Catalyst – Summer 2012 – |


Surrey Walton, Assistant Director

at scientific conferences, and accepted invitations to speak at educational forums.

the program’s visibility and competitiveness brought a spotlight to our efforts and made others want to work with us.”

“There isn’t another college of pharmacy in the nation that has the DEcIDE Center grant or CERT, let alone both,” Bauman says.

The momentum accelerated in September 2005 when the CPR was awarded DEcIDE (Developing Evidence to Inform Decisions about Effectiveness) Center status. Among 13 centers in the nation to receive the designation from the Agency for Health-care Research and Quality (AHRQ), including top-tier universities such as Harvard and Johns Hopkins, the CPR was the Midwest’s lone DEcIDE Network Center representative.

The following year, the UIC College of Pharmacy landed another AHRQ honor when it was awarded a CERT (Centers for Research and Education on Therapeutics) grant. Led by Bruce Lambert, professor of pharmacy administration, the CERT involved many of CPR’s faculty, and it intensified the College’s research and educational efforts on safe, effective drug use.

The CPR gained another key affiliation in 2006 when it joined the UIC Institute for Health Research and Policy (IHRP), a consortium of UIC’s best research centers. Aligning with the IHRP armed the CPR with access to important research infrastructure and jump started the center’s on-campus reputation.

“DEcIDE put us on the map,” says Schumock, who served as the grant’s principal investigator. “Not only did it position the center to do cutting-edge work, but

With the DEcIDE Center recognition, and with CERT now under its belt, the CPR and the College of Pharmacy rose to a class all their own.



– Summer 2012 – Catalyst

“We quickly became recognized on campus as one of the places where the best health outcomes research takes place,” Schumock says.

Building on the accomplishments of the center’s opening years, the CPR once again proved its mettle when it landed a National Institutes of Health (NIH) GO (Grand Opportunities) Grant in 2009. Spearheaded by Lee, the GO Grant is a multicenter proposal with six other clinical centers whose goal is to develop infrastructure for conducting comparative effectiveness research studies in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). As the group’s only pharmacists, Lee and his CPR cohorts recruit patients and provide the program’s pharmacoepidemiology and pharmacoeconomic expertise.

products and services, produced cost-of-illness studies, performed qualitative research of pharmacy practice, and more. The CPR has also produced health-policy relevant research exploring such issues as drug importation, formulary decision-making, and models for provision of medication therapy management (MTM).

“What’s impressive is that the faculty built the center entirely from the ground up. The university didn’t throw millions at them,” Bauman says. “They’ve gotten the grants, done the research, made the contacts, and published the papers. The center’s success is a product of the faculty’s dedicated, collective efforts.”

In its ten-year history, total CPR funding approaches $10.3 million, a tangible nod to the confidence that both government and industry have in the center’s work.

The Possibilities Ahead

“The GO Grant gave us additional credibility, but, more importantly, it will help us develop future infrastructure for research projects and answer important questions for those with COPD,” Lee says of the grant made possible by the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act’s $1 billion pledge to fund comparative effectiveness research.

Committed to sharing their research and knowledge, CPR faculty members have become recognized contributors to industry publications and scientific gatherings and sought-after experts for the media. To date, CPR faculty have penned more than 275 publications; appeared as expert sources in lay media outlets such as the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and US News and World Report; presented nearly 300 research papers; and delivered more than 175 invited presentations. By disseminating its findings, the CPR helps ensure that results of the work conducted by its faculty makes it into the hands of pharmacists, physicians, and administrations—where it has the opportunity to result in more efficient and effective health-care decisions.

After the CPR’s five-year term as a DEcIDE Center ended in 2010, the CPR received a three-year renewal—one of only eight of the original DEcIDE Centers to be renewed and one of only 11 total in the “DEcIDE-2” program. In landing the DEcIDE 2 Grant, the CPR affirmed, once again, its standing as a leading player in comparative effectiveness and patient-centered outcomes research.

A Decade of Contributions

Since its 2001 launch, the CPR has retained its clear-minded mission to promote and facilitate knowledge in pharmacoeconomics through research, publication, and training. “The CPR fills an important role in the mission of UIC, which is teaching, research, and service,” confirms Nick Popovich, head of pharmacy administration. Advancing the science and evidence within pharmacoeconomics, CPR faculty researchers have evaluated the costs and economic consequences of pharmaceutical products, researched drug safety, performed humanistic studies of pharmaceutical

Training and education is yet another critical CPR goal—one that spurs an industry-wide ripple effect. The CPR coordinates specialized postdoctoral residencies, fellowships, and a pharmacoeconomics certificate program alongside workshops and seminars for working professionals. In reaching out to current and future professionals, the CPR contributes to a more aware, well-rounded industry.

Now into its tenth year, the CPR has established itself as a national leader, and one with a sprouting reputation on the international stage as well. The center’s rapid ascent stands a testament to collegial collaboration and single-minded purpose shared amongst staff as well as College of Pharmacy leadership. “The CPR is the link to maximize research and discovery,” Popovich says. “Whereas pharmacy practice research has a focus on applying research to patient care, pharmacy administration is the scholarship of discovery and integration. The CPR embraces the best of both departments.” Additionally, the CPR works with UIC’s College of Medicine and School of Public Health to advance decision making in health care through outcomes research and showcase the collaborative energy that can breed real-world results. “The CPR spotlights collaboration throughout the UIC medical community and shows the potential of what can be,” Popovich says. CPR faculty believe the center’s greatest success lies ahead.

“We’re preparing future researchers to do what we do and, more importantly, seek ways to do it better,” says Schumock, who directed the fellowship program until 2006 when he handed the reins to CPR Assistant Director Simon Pickard.

“We’re still a young center with many faculty members in the prime of their careers,” Walton says. “All of us recognize pharmacoeconomics and outcomes research is an important area, and we’ve formed a cohesive group of researchers who share a real desire to be leaders in this field.”

From the seed of Bauman’s idea, the CPR staff have taken ownership of the center and made it their own.

With increasing attention and funding for CPR, including $500 million that the independent PatientCatalyst – Summer 2012 – |


Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) has earmarked for outcomes research, the CPR stands ready to take advantage of robust research opportunities. “Given our success over the last ten years, we’re well positioned to be a competitive part of the funding stream, which will create an opportunity to have even more impact,” Schumock says. As economics increasingly factors prominently in health-care debates, the CPR’s research, singularly focused on improving patient outcomes, will

Abbreviations used in Timeline AHRQ, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality CER, Comparative Effectiveness Research CERT, Center for Education and Research on Therapeutics CONCERT, COPD Outcomes-based Network for Clinical Effectiveness and Research Translation COP, College of Pharmacy COPD, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

CPR, Center for Pharmacoeconomic Research DEcIDE, Developing Evidence to Inform Decisions about Effectiveness GO, Grand Opportunities IBHE, Illinois Board of Higher Education IHRP, Institute for Health Research and Policy


November 2001 CPR approved on a temporary status by IBHE





January 2008 CPR temporarily relocates to IHRP building because of fire in COP

September 2005 CPR expands by addition of Room 227







AHRQ DEcIDE Program funds study of MTM, led by Dan Touchette

July 1999 COP starts Outcomes Research Fellowship Program with Searle Pharmaceutical Company, later this transitions to Pharmacia and then Pfizer (ends 2003)

August 1997 Surrey Walton hired by PMAD, later becomes Assistant Director of CPR

August 2000 Glen Schumock hired by PMPR, later becomes first CPR Director

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January 2004 Jo Ann Stubbings (PMPR) appointed CPR faculty

September 2003 Rob DiDomenico (PMPR) appointed CPR faculty


November 2008 Simon Pickard leads AHRQ DEcIDE contract to develop a prospective CER study in COPD September 2007 Several CPR faculty contribute to UIC CERT grant funded by AHRQ, Bruce Lambert PI

September 2010 DEcIDE-2 Center is funded by AHRQ (through 2013), Glen Schumock PI

March 2009 Dan Touchette funded by the Dep. of Defense to study telepharmacy October 2009 Todd Lee leads CONCERT-CER Grant funded by NIH (Go Grant)

July 2007 CPR establishes fellowship with Novo Nordisk (ends 2010) and separately with Takeda (still on-going)

October 2006 James Shaw hired by PMAD (leaves 2011)

August 2005 Touchette hired by PMPR January 2005 Edith Nutescu (PMPR) appointed CPR faculty



July 2006 CPR hold AHRQ-funded symposium “Prescription Drug Expenditures: Too Much or Not Enough?”

July 2005 CPR establishes fellowship with Walgreens Health Initiatives (ends 2008) and separately with TAP Pharmaceuticals (ends 2007)

December 2002 Swu Jane Lin hired by PMAD (leaves 2006)

January 2009 CPR moves back to COP building and expands into room 285



September 2006 AHRQ DEcIDE Program funds study of off-label prescribing, lead by Surrey Walton

August 2001 Simon Pickard hired by PMPR, later becomes Assistant Director of CPR


January 2009 CPR approved permanently by IBHE

September 2005 DEcIDE-1 Center is funded by AHRQ, Glen Schumock PI



◼Jennifer Samp, Research Fellow

August 2006 CPR affiliates with the UIC IHRP



◼Todd Lee, Assistant Director

January 2002 Considered official founding of CPR



◼Simon Pickard, Assistant Director

“We have certainly positioned ourselves to be a leader for years to come,” says Walton, “but we want to be the voice.”

July 2002 CPR opens first physical location in Room 287 of COP building

CPR Timelin

◼Glen Schumock, Director

PMAD, Department of Pharmacy Administration PMPR, Department of Pharmacy Practice

July 1996 Program for Pharmaceutical Outcomes proposed by Jerry Bauman, sets stage for later efforts to establish CPR


Photos right clockwise

guide policy makers to ensure the most productive medications are available. With an aging population, increasing growth and expenditures in health care, and an eagerness to receive bang-for-the-buck returns on treatment, the CPR continues its mission to be the industry’s leading player in outcomes research.

October 2010 CPR awarded institutional K-award program in CER from NIH (through 2013)

January 2009 Todd Lee joins CPR (PMPR), later become Assistant Director of CPR

July 2010 Denys Lau hired by PMAD

Catalyst – Summer 2012 – |


RiboCo Alexander Mankin’s studies of bacterial ribosomes and the antibiotics that target them have yielded surprising results that could lead to more effective treatment of bacterial ailments. by John Gregerson Photography by Roberta Dupuis-Devlin



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lexander Mankin isn’t an easy man to track down.

“I’ve been writing papers,” says Mankin, professor of medicinal chemistry and pharmacognosy and director of the Center for Pharmaceutical Biotechnology (CPB). “A lot of papers. And working with students.” Though he isn’t involved in classroom instruction this semester, his lab at CPB has been an incubator for graduate students, undergraduate students, even high school students. “Students come to do research in the lab,” says Mankin.“It’s not instruction in the formal sense of the word, but we always have people in the lab who need attention.” There is also his research, which currently focuses on ribosomal antibiotics and mechanisms of resistance—work that recently has yielded some key findings. Which brings him back to all those papers. “I wake up in the middle of the night thinking of all the calls I forgot to return,” says the Russian-born Mankin, who goes by the nickname Shura, “but when I arrive at my office the next day, I tend to forget again.” Eventually, though, he remembers, with apologies. “Please,” he says, “don’t take it personally.” It’s hard to, just as it’s easy to understand why UIC has honored Mankin with numerous awards for excellence in teaching. He is personable, clever, and wry and capable of relating complex concepts in simple, understandable terms. He also knows how to lead a discussion, the ostensible subject of which could be his lab’s recent discovery of a signaling mechanism in bacterial ribosomes that is used to activate genes of antibiotic resistance. These recently published findings may one day lead to more effective antibiotics, says Mankin.

Feature But he steers the discussion to another, newer, research project, perhaps because he and his colleagues were so astonished by its results. As with the majority of his studies, this one involved the ribosome, which is responsible for synthesizing proteins in cells. “I’ve always been fascinated with the ribosome,” says Mankin. “It is the largest and most complex molecular machine in the cell, and arguably performs the cell’s most important function, which is to create proteins.” True to form, the project also involved pathogenic bacteria and the antibiotics that target them. Mankin explains that, while older macrolide antibiotics such as erythromycin were reasonably effective in treating a variety of ailments, they have since been supplanted by newer generations of macrolides that have proven more effective. For years, physicians and researchers believed they understood why newer macrolides performed better than previous generations. It turns out they were wrong. At issue are the ribosome’s peptidyl-transferase center, where proteins are assembled, and its nascent peptide exit tunnel, through which newly assembled proteins exit the ribosome. Macrolide antibiotics bind in this tunnel. “Think of the exit tunnel as the neck of a wine bottle,” says Mankin. “It’s very narrow. We previously believed newer macrolides were more effective because they succeeded in blocking the entire exit tunnel, much like a cork in a bottle.” By blocking the tunnel, newer macrolides would better prevent the synthesis of proteins—or so researchers believed. Last fall, Mankin and his colleagues, graduate student Krishna Kannan and research associate professor Nora VazquezLaslop, proved otherwise. With a succession of slides, Mankin demonstrates the progression of his study, for which they introduced a high concentration of macrolide antibiotic—about 100 times the amount customarily administered Catalyst – Summer 2012 – |


—to a culture of the pathogenic bacteria E. coli. Surprisingly, the images indicate that while the pathogenic cells didn’t grow, their ribosomes continued to synthesize proteins. In fact, the more powerful the macrolide, the more proteins the ribosome generated. “Now how could that be?” Mankin asks. Turns out the macrolide functions less like a cork than a gatekeeper. “Imagine a bouncer at a club,” says Mankin, “a good one locks up at the end of the night. The lights go out. The club goes dormant. But, the next evening, it opens again. That is what ‘old’ macrolides do—they inhibit protein synthesis, but they do not kill the cell.” More powerful new macrolides, he continues, are like less effective muscle. “They let in more rogue customers who destroy the club so that it has to be closed for good. That is why newer macrolides often kill bacteria.”

All in all, Mankin has been studying ribosomal activity for 30 years. “I’m lazy,” says Mankin. “Many of my friends and colleagues studied ribosomes for a while and then moved on to some other branch of molecular biology. But this takes a tremendous effort. So I preferred to stay faithful to the ribosome.

The results, he says, can devastate the cell. The discovery could alter the course of pharmaceutical research.

“It’s like maintaining an old friendship—the more you get to know each other, the more you enjoy being together. ”

“Now that we know that macrolides allow for the synthesis of some proteins but not others, the challenge is to discover which types are synthesized and which aren’t, and which can slither through the exit, and which can’t, so that we can develop antibiotics that are even more damaging to bacterial cells. It may have something to do with protein structure. Once we’re certain, we may be able modify antibiotics in a manner that allows us to select which proteins the ribosome synthesizes.”

Which is to say that Mankin’s study of ribosomes is a lifelong commitment.

While the results of the study proved counterintuitive, “that’s what made it so fascinating for us,” says Mankin, who works with a team of seven to ten colleagues, half of whom are graduate students and the balance of whom are doctoral researchers and technicians. 18

Mankin has been immersed in molecular biology since his days at Russia’s Moscow University, where he earned a master’s degree in chemistry of natural compounds in 1978, a PhD in molecular biology in 1981, and a doctor of science degree in 1989. “I was never sure whether I liked biology or chemistry more,” he says. “After electing to study chemistry, I realized I was really missing biology. So, I eventually wound up in the field of molecular biology, which allows me to ask chemical questions about biological phenomena, and it’s what I’ve been doing ever since.”


– Summer 2012 – Catalyst

The Mankin Lab: Dorota Klepacki, Senior Research Specialist; Krishna Kannan,

Graduate Student; Joseph Dang, Undergraduate Student; Alexander Mankin, Professor and Director; Teresa Szal, Research Specialist; Nora Vazquez-Laslop, Research Assistant Professor; Shanmugapriya Sothiselvam, Graduate Student; Mashal Almutairi, Graduate Student; Pulkit Gupta, Graduate Student. Not pictured: Cedric Orelle, Postdoctoral Fellow.

Catalyst – Summer 2012 – |


How I knew early on that I wanted to be a scientist, I will lovesure. But I think for everyone involved in science never know for there was a moment for each of us when we were introduced to a new technology, or an unusual phenomenon, or a biological process that just blew our minds--an event that opened windows in our imaginations. I’m sure many people feel this way about omputers, or the weather, or organic chemistry, or maybe even the tax code. For me, it was when I began to realize how the omplexity of a living cell went far beyond what is typically described in an elementary biology textbook. Looking through a -Michael Federle, ter for Pharmaceutical Biotechnology Cen microscope at subjects like my own blood, or the rumen of a cow’s any living this things around. -by doing researchaddicted for life. why I


But How I knew early on that I wanted to be a scientist, I will never know for sure. we I think for everyone involved in science there was a moment for each of us when ical process were introduced to a new technology or an unusual phenomenon or a biolog ns. I’m that just blew our minds—an event that opened windows in our imaginatio istry sure many people feel this way about computers or the weather or organic chem lexity or maybe even the tax code. For me, it was when I began to realize how the comp biology of a living cell went far beyond what is typically described in an elementary rumen textbook. Looking through a microscope at subjects like my own blood or the

of a cow’s stomach or microorganisms in a pond was far more exciting that seeing we begin pictures in a book. The next step for each of us in finding our passion is when ing to put our full efforts and hearts into studying something. That next mind-blow any event occurs when we gain a sense of the limits to what is truly understood about

y—about living system; we still understand incredibly little. I feel this way about biolog d the complexity of living cells and how evolution has led to all these things aroun y doing

us. Finally, once we, as scientists, are able to contribute to what’s known—b research—then, we’re addicted for life.



– Summer 2012 – Catalyst

Ignorance is not bliss and major social ills are generated from a love scientific failure to ask questions and rethink assumptions. The process can be applied to any subject area and therefore science is the key to progress and beneficial change. Agricultural science improved crop yields, moving human civilization beyond subsistence. Science drove the invention of the printing press which freed the custody of knowledge to the masses rather than the elite, facilitating scholarship, the media and civil rights. Science led to the invention of machines without which most of us would be helpless in modern life. Medical science has lengthened our life -Monsheel Sodhi, eimproved miracle to arrive and impact our lives. Pharma why I


Ignorance is not bliss, and major social ills are generated from a failure to ask questions and rethink assumptions. The scientific process can be applied to any subject area, and, therefore, science is the key to progress and beneficial chan ge. Agricultural science improved crop yields, moving human civilization beyon d subsistence. Science drove the invention of the printing press, which freed the custody of knowledge to the masses rather than the elite, facilitating scholarship, the media, and civil rights. Science led to the invention of machines without which most of us would be helpless in modern life. Medical science has lengthened our life expec tancies through the ongoing discovery of antibiotics, vaccines, improved surgical proce dures, and novel medical treatments. And, finally, the mysteries of biological creation are being unlocked with the mapping of the human and other genomes, which initia lly took years of team effort, but which can be conducted within hours using new DNA sequencing technology. Science and technology are moving so fast that I wait expectantly for each new miracle to arrive and impact our lives.

Understanding the chemical processes that create our thoughts, memories, and behavior represents the final frontier for enquiry into human physiology. I work as a scientist with a mission to discover novel drug targets that will lead to impr oved outcomes for patients with psychiatric disorders.

cy Practice

Catalyst – Summer 2012 – |


Research Days 2012

As a first year graduate student, it was a pleasure to be a part of the third annual College of Pharmacy Research Days. The entire day provided a good opportunity for me, as a new graduate student, to interact with senior students and understand their research as well as their journey at UIC. Overall, it has been a great learning experience that has fostered a sense of intellectual understanding of the various different aspects of research being actively conducted at UIC College of Pharmacy. Looking forward to the next research day! -Dimple Modi Photography by Joshua Clark

Fair Science From March 8 to 9, more than 80 students and trainees showcased their work through poster sessions at Research Days 2012. The twoday program featured keynote speaker William Fenical, professor of oceanography and director of the Center for Marine Biotechnology and Biomedicine at the University of California, San Diego, who spoke on “Marine Microbial Anticancer Agents Select for Novel Intracellular Targets.” Posters were judged in the afternoon on Friday, with a panel composed of alumni, faculty, and pharmaceutical industry experts. The event concluded with the annual Graduate Student Awards Ceremony, 22


– Summer 2012 – Catalyst

where nearly $25,000 in scholarships was given out to 15 graduate students, as well as the Scientific Poster Awards. Faculty Vahlteich Research Awards were given to faculty members Xiaolong He, biopharmaceutical sciences, for his project, “The role of CDC42 splice variants in ovarian cancer”; and Brian Murphy, medicinal chemistry and pharmacognosy, for “Use of cellular components of mycolic acidcontaining bacteria to activate putatively inducible antibiotic pathways in Actinobacteria.” The award supports junior faculty in obtaining external funding for their research. Swu-Jane Lin, phd ’00, was honored as the 2012 Sister Margaret Wright Graduate Award for her ongoing research and public service in the field.

Scientific Poster Session Winners:

Research Days 2012

Predoctoral Category: First Place: Isaac Schiefer, Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy, “Design, Synthesis, Optimization, and Evaluation of Epoxide-Based Calpain Inhibitors as Preclinical Candidates for Alzheimer’s Disease Therapy.” Mentor: Gregory R.J. Thatcher Second Place: Tsui-Ting Ho, Biopharmaceutical Sciences, “Expression of microRNAs-135b and -196b in response to cellular stress in leukemia cells.” Mentor: Dr. William Beck Third Place: Melanie Köllmer, Biopharmaceutical Sciences, “Maintenance and Controlled Differentiation of Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells within Superporous Hydrogels.” Mentor: Richard Gemeinhart Postdoctoral Category: First Place: Adam Bress, Pharmacy Practice, “The additional effect of NAD(P)H dehydrogenase, quinone 1 (NQO1) genotype on warfarin dose requirements in a racially diverse population.” Mentor: Larisa Cavallari Second Place: Shelby King, Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy, “Transformation of Normal Ovarian Surface Epithelium by Oxidative Stress Requires Akt Upregulation and Activation.” Mentor: Joanna Burdette Third Place: Lauren Mashburn-Warren, Center for Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, “A trans-acting element is required for the activation of an important virulence factor in Streptococcus pyogenes.” Mentor: Michael Federle AAPS Student Choice Award May Fern Toh, Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy, “Biological Characterization of non-steroidal progestins from botanicals.” Mentor: Joanna Burdette

Catalyst – Summer 2012 – |


5:30 a.m. Are K’s mutants right? He probably knows what he is doing, butlove better talk to him. What are C and T doing today? Oh, no this damn alarm clock… why I


5:30 a.m. Are K’s mutants right? He probably knows what he is doing, but better talk to him. What are C and T doing today? Oh no, this damn alarm clock…

3 p.m. D, I recalled my great idea! It will take you no time. Yes, I know that 20 samples in one experiment is a lot of work, but, with your skills, this should be nothing!

7 a.m. I know how D should do her footprinting experiment! I only hope I will not forget by the time I finish swimming.

4 p.m. When am I going to read all these papers? And when am I

9 a.m. D, I had a great idea earlier today, but I forgot it…Please come later, I might recall it…I will be writing a paper this morning.

5 p.m. OK, fine, we can talk now about your prelim. No, these should be not my ideas, but your ideas. You tell me what you want

10:30 a.m. No, Y, please no administrative papers until 2 p.m.! I still need to write four letters of recommendation for the students,

who will actually read your proposal and give you good advice.

a.m. I know how D should do her footprinting experiment! I only hope I will not forget by the time I finish swimming. and I have not written a word of my paper!

11 a.m. No, I do not want to talk to you about your project now! I am trying to write this f--ing paper. Come back at 2 p.m. OK, if

going to write mine?

to do and I will tell you why you should not. No, you do not want to have “nice” committee members. You want to have smart ones

6 p.m. (on the way home together with a coworker—who also happens to be a wife) Yes, darling, of course, darling. No, they are

9 a.m. D, I had a great idea earlier today, but I forgot it… Please come later, I might recall it…I will be writing paper this morning. I p.m. only writing ours. How can he produce so-Shmany kin, ura Manpapers Center for Pharmaceutical Biotechnology Yes, I 4 p.6 1in bed. I want to read my book! two minutes ndIbook… only five minutes, we can talk now.

Noon What do you mean “lunch time?” I have not written a sentence today! By the way, I remembered my great idea about D’s experiment. I will tell her right after lunch.

1 p.m. D, remember this great idea I told you I had earlier today—I recalled it right before lunch, but now…

2 p.m. He published a new Science paper! And we are still only writing ours. How can he produce so many papers that are so good? How can someone be so much smarter than I am?



– Summer 2012 – Catalyst

not only your students, darling… Yes, I know I have to seriously think about their projects too, darling! Say it again? RNA probing of the disome complex? This is brilliant! Can you call her right away and tell her that this is what she will be doing tomorrow?

8 p.m. (walking the dog) Yes, this is how I should write that section of the paper tomorrow! Then everything will fall into place. 10:30 p.m. No, please, I do not want to talk science in bed. I want to read my book! OK, fine, but only two minutes and then I read my book…

“Colors of Curcuma” Rasika S. Phansalkar and Karina Szymulanska-Ramamurthy Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy Honorable Mention, UIC Image of Research Competition 2012 Our research project was based on the isolation of curcumin (a marker compound) from the rhizomes of the plant Curcuma longa (commonly known as turmeric, a spice very often used in Asian cooking). After the extraction process, our next step was to fractionate the extract in order to isolate curcumin in its pure form. The fractions were collected into small vials following column chromatography. A class of compounds called curcuminoids is responsible for the range of colors it gives to the extracts or fractions. These marvelous little compounds showed a plethora of colors with shades of red, yellow and orange. All of these fractions when put together looked just like a palette of colors, which might be called “Fall colors in a few vials!” or “The Shades of sunshine!”

Catalyst – Summer 2012 – |


Nonprofit Org. U.S. Postage PAID Chicago, Illinois Permit No. 4860

UIC College of Pharmacy (MC 874) 833 South Wood Street Chicago, Illinois 60612

“The Rise of Nostoc: Shangwen Luo Pharmacognosy Throughout the ages, natural products have played an integral role in providing diverse bioactive lead compounds and giving us inspiration for new drugs. Cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae, serve as a rich source of novel natural products. Published data indicate that over 4000 strains of cyanobacteria have been evaluated for various biological activities such as anticancer, antimicrobial, enzyme inhibition, etc. Our lab focuses on collecting and culturing cyanobacteria, isolating bioactive compounds from cyanobacteria, identifying bioactive compounds using modern spectroscopic techniques, as well as biologically evaluating compounds from cyanobacteria. This photo, taken during a collection trip to Wisconsin in the summer of 2011, shows the colonies of a cyanobacteria strain: Nostoc. Nostoc colonies have been used to treat gout, fistula, and several forms of cancer as early as 1500 BC. Cryptophycin, borophycin, and numerous other bioactive compounds have been discovered from Nostoc. Could this Nostoc strain contribute to a new drug? We intend to find out.

Catalyst 2012