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A Pipeline for a Healthy Future How our research can diversify the future of industry in Alberta


Find Your Place in History. Announcing the highly anticipated launch of

The Indispensable History of the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Alberta Featuring all alumni, staff and students from 1914 to 2018

By Dr. Neal Davies Join us at the book launch for an evening full of history, community, and refreshments.

November 1, 2018

Myer Horowitz Theatre, Edmonton, Alberta Free admission and a complimentary copy included for all alumni. Book Tour Dates Calgary: November 22, 2018 Victoria: January 21, 2019 Vancouver: January 23, 2019 Ottawa: February 5, 2019

Toronto: February 7, 2019 Los Angeles: March 5, 2019 San Diego: March 7, 2019 Hong Kong: April 4, 2019

For more information and to RSVP, visit ualberta.ca/pharmacy/events/history-book-tour

CONTENTS Dean: Dr. Neal M. Davies Assistant Dean, Advancement: Kieran Andrew MacIsaac Communications Coordinator & Editor-in-Chief: Kalyna Hennig Editor: Lindsay Shapka Contributors: Owain Glyndŵr Kalyna Hennig Kieran Andrew MacIsaac Renato Pagnani Jyllian Park Amy Schuring Lindsay Shapka Matthew Stepanic Designer: Adam Still / Maverick Design Photography: LifeTouch Photography Kelly Skinner / Friday Design + Photography Kalyna Hennig Editor’s Note: The Mortar & Pestle is published twice per year to keep our community of alumni, students, and faculty connected and informed. In this sixth issue, and my first as Editor-in-Chief, I’m delighted to be a part of the team that gets to share with you the people and processes that bring value and leadership to our industry and communities. We have a rich history and a bright future, and we’re honoured to share in both with you! Thank you for reading. As always, we welcome your comments, suggestions and story pitches to guide future issues. —Kalyna Hennig To receive this magazine electronically, email: phcomms@ualberta.ca

ENVELOPE phcomms@ualberta.ca home ualberta.ca/pharmacy FACEBOOK-SQUARE facebook.com/ualbertapharmacy Instagram @ualberta_pharmacy Twitter @UAlberta_Pharm LINKEDIN linkedin.com/school/ualberta-pharmacy

Tools of the Trade Page 27

04 Dean’s Distillate 05 News & Notes

SPOTLIGHT 10 Fueled Futures

The 30th annual Professional Development Week brought nearly 600 pharmacy students from all 10 Canadian pharmacy schools to Edmonton this January.

12 Dr. Jamali Research Symposium

Celebrate UAlberta pharmacy research accomplishments and honour Dr. Fakhreddin “Mo” Jamali’s retirement after 37 years of service to the Faculty at this annual research-driven conference.

13 Pharmacist Awareness Month

March was action-packed with events, initiatives, and energy to show Albertans what their pharmacists can do for them.


20 Benchtop to Bedside

The pharmaceutical sciences take challenges head-on when it comes to transitioning a drug from its initial discovery to a patient’s recovery.

23 High Potential

What does cannabis legalization mean for pharmacy and the pharmaceutical sciences?

14 A Word to the Wise

A patient-centred program aims to empower elderly patients to ask the right questions of their pharmacists and get the answers they need.

15 Heroes for Health

Two pharmacy students are bringing wellness to the Faculty thanks to an award-winning idea.

FEATURES 16 A Pipeline for a Healthy Future

Can a different type of pipeline help diversify the future of industry in Alberta? The answer is in our research.

LOOKING BACK 25 The Bachynsky Era

Take a look back at our fourth Dean of Pharmacy, Dr. John A. Bachynsky, from 1981 to 1989.

27 Tools of the Trade

Pharmacy tech has come a long way since the stone age. See its evolution from the dawn of time until today.

FINAL WORD 30 A Note to New Grads

18 The Pharmaceutical Pipeline

Pharmaceutical scientists have many crucial roles in ensuring a new drug flows smoothly through the drug development process.






n parallel with the Alberta Pharmacy compensation framework announcement, we at the Faculty are also “chewing on the gristle” of significant budget cuts. However, despite the ongoing budget concerns, one of our graduating Pharmacy students recently remarked to me that I looked happy as I walked down the hallway. There is so much to be proud of, and I can’t help but be positive every day as everywhere I turn I see incredible student, faculty, and alumni achievements that continue to strengthen our national and international reputation. Our pharmacy students organized the best Professional Development Week ever held in January 2018. I could not be prouder as all of the current students continue to enhance the reputation of our Pharmacy program on an international basis. In my visits to hospitals and pharmacies across our province, I am proud to say that I have seen first-hand our students being mentored by preceptors that demonstrate excellence. I have seen our students transformed by, and contributing to, the pharmaceutical care in our health care system. We celebrated 126 new pharmacist grads this year who are poised to display professional servitude by instinct and training. Many of them have demonstrated the ability and desire to become leaders in the profession, and we are proud of their accomplishments. If you take a walk through Pharmacy’s spaces in Katz, MSB, and ECHA, you will see audiovisual upgrades, new student spaces, new laboratory equipment, and state-of-the-art devices for the practice and compounding laboratories — investments made despite our rollbacks. We all should take pride in these accomplishments, and whistle a tune! With the power of teamwork we have successfully hosted the Canadian Council for Accreditation of Pharmacy Programs accreditation team, received accreditation, and laid out a new strategic plan for the Faculty’s future development: A Prescription for the Public Good. Since my hallway encounter I have been further contemplating what unites those of us who care deeply about Pharmacy at our alma mater. I reflected on our annual Homecoming activities, the White Coat




Ceremony, Dentistry/Pharmacy hockey game, curling funspiel, Blue and Gold Ball, ethanol punch, TGIFs, and graduation gala. There is always a strong turnout of colleagues, students, and alumni at our shared celebrations. The Mortar and Pestle Alumni Magazine and our social media feeds are other means of staying connected and keeping in touch. We are stronger together. The Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Alberta must be part of the pharmacy community and not stand apart from it, for the trinity of our pharmacy vocation that binds us together as a profession is our external relations with our alumni, preceptors, and our pharmaceutical associations, and these relationships are being repaired and strengthened. I will begin making further “Pharmacy Alumni House Calls” in 2018 with receptions with our alumni diaspora to provide you all a complimentary copy of our history book The Indispensable History of the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Alberta. As your Dean, I am proud of your accomplishments. I can never thank you enough for your efforts to build the profession of Pharmacy. Homecoming 2018 will be a fantastic occasion for our Faculty, alumni, and students. We will celebrate the lifetime achievements of the 50-year classes, this year’s Outstanding Pharmacy Alumnus Award winner, feature the inaugural White Coat Ceremony for our first entry to practice PharmD students, and present a variety of awards. You are all welcome to attend! We are exceedingly grateful to have the support of our alumni and pharmacists, pharmaceutical organizations, and corporations in Alberta and beyond, and recognize your donations are not an entitlement. My appreciation for your dedicated work and support of Pharmacy is unwavering. What we can and will accomplish in 2018-2019 will provide us with even more reasons to celebrate together. The University of Alberta is an exceptional higher educational institution and the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences is amongst the best Faculties of Pharmacy in the world. Be proud of who and what we are. I am — that’s why you will find me smiling and whistling through the hallways! Sincerely, NEAL M. DAVIES B.Sc. (Pharm), PhD, R.Ph. Dean and Professor


NEWS & NOTES HISTORY IN THE MAKING The University of Alberta Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences has been around for more than 100 years, and Dean Neal Davies has worked hard to document its rich history in a comprehensive coffee table book, set to release this fall. The book titled The Indispensable History of the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Alberta, covers the events that occurred under each director and dean, the impact of the war years on the faculty, the fascinating spin-off companies that have been created, alumni achievements, student organizations, and more! Both historic and recent class photos, along with interesting facts scattered throughout the book, help to tell the story of how our Faculty became one of the best Faculties of Pharmacy in the world. According to Dean Davies, “The book is an attempt to integrate our stories of accomplishments for us to all share and enjoy with those we remember and those we love for years to come.” See page 2 for details about the book tour and launch dates. n

Current student Sean Hanson was selected as the recipient of the Canadian Pharmacists Association Centennial Leadership Award. The award is given in recognition of a student who has actively promoted the profession of pharmacy, his or her faculty, and has achieved good academic standing. He travelled to Fredericton, New Brunswick at the end of May to represent UAlberta and accept his award.

ALUMNI WEEKEND 2018 WHITE COAT AND AWARDS CEREMONY The Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, industry representatives, family, and friends will welcome the very first PharmD (Entry to Practice) class into the profession on Thursday, September 20 from 6 pm to 9 pm at the Shaw Conference Centre. New students will make their pledge of professionalism, don their white coats, read the code of ethics, and honoured guests will receive awards for their accomplishments and excellence in the profession. n

Come back to campus to reconnect with friends and be a part of the great things happening at the University of Alberta on September 21-24! Check out what’s new with the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and join us for our special event An Afternoon at the Movies on Saturday, September 22 from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm. Celebrate our rich history and take a walking tour of our facilities. Indulge in drinks and snacks during two films: Dr. A. Whitney Matthews and Career Stories of Senior Pharmacists featuring Walter Hill, Walter Sprague, Muriel Johnston, Donald Cameron, Kenneth Penley, and more. For more information and to register, visit ualberta.ca/pharmacy/events/ alumni-weekend n

Nichole Murray received the ACP Gold Medal for graduating with the highest GPA in the Class of 2018. n

DID YOU KNOW? The 2018 QS World University Rankings by subject puts our Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences 3rd in Canada, 28th in the world, and 15th worldwide for research of ranked institutions with pharmacy programs. n




TURNING “MONK” FOR THE SUMMER Q&A WITH ADI GARG Current Pharmacy student Aditya Garg (B.Sc. Pharm 2020) is travelling to the Hertfordshire countryside this summer — about 30 minutes north of central London, UK — to stay in the Bhaktivedanta Manor Monastery for three months. The monastery sits on 70 acres of land that was donated by George Harrison from The Beatles. Why have you chosen to spend your summer at a monastery? Our academic institutions are excellent at teaching us how to navigate the external, physical world; however, I feel that they fall short of helping us understand and navigate our inner self. Although this is a subtle aspect of our identity, it has tremendous consequences on our behaviours. Living in a monastery will allow me to dedicate time to develop skills and mindsets that will mature my character so that I can be a more effective leader and empower others. We can, very easily, fall prey to emotions such as stress, anxiety, and doubt.

And then, to make matters worse, we often learn how to manage these emotions by going through them. When I first realized this, I thought to myself, “Isn’t this so inefficient?” In school, we are first taught theory, and then in a controlled, practical setting, in the presence of preceptors, we can put that theory into practice. However, this is not the same when learning how to deal with stress, anxiety, and self-doubt. We generally learn this by going through an experience, which can be traumatic for some of us. I’ve seen this happen in my life, in the lives of my friends, and others around me. Therefore, when I saw how prevalent these negative emotions are in my life and the lives of others, I wanted to do something about it. I sincerely want to pursue knowledge about my own self, and how I react to these situations, so that I can understand how to deal with them. This, I believe, will also allow me to help others better navigate through these emotions. As I was looking

through educational institutions that would be able to provide me with this insight, I came across the College of Vedic Studies, an extension of the monastery that I’ll be attending. Therefore, the primary reason why I chose to do this was to access insight on what tools we can use to deal with stress, anxiety, and doubt. What will you be doing during your stay? In order to achieve my objectives for the summer — which are to understand how we can rise above our inner negativity — I’ll have to devote time to self-introspection, meditation, and deep study about our physical, emotional and spiritual strengths. I will start my day off with solitary

HEALTHY BODIES, HEALTHY MINDS Regardless of our age, it’s hard to focus when we’re hungry or unwell. This reality came to the attention of Clinical Associate Professor and Assistant Dean of Programs and Student Services, Dr. Ravina SangheraGrewal, when she heard a story about a young boy who was struggling in his Kindergarten class due to a language barrier, and often came to school without a lunch. “He would often sit in the bathroom to hide his embarrassment with learning to read or not having a packed lunch to eat with his classmates,” says Sanghera-Grewal. “I realized that he is only one of many children that are facing barriers to a healthy future at such an early age.” Inspired, Sanghera-Grewal partnered with Wee Read — an eight-week program 6


that matches small groups of adult or high school student volunteers with primary school-aged children to share books and conversation — by coordinating the provision of nutritious snacks to the children during their reading times. Hunger and health should not be barriers in the classroom. The hope is that this will allow children to focus on learning and growing instead of finding a healthy meal. Over the 2017/18 school year, more than 20 pharmacy students participated in the program. Not only the kids benefit — pharmacists-in-training gain important patient-centered values that prepare them for their roles as health care professionals. Learn more at calgaryreads.com/programs/ wee-read/  n

AS A HEALTH CARE PROVIDER, I WANT TO BE ABLE TO PROVIDE MY PATIENTS WITH EXPERIENCES THAT WILL NOT ONLY CATER TO THEIR PHYSICAL HEALTH, BUT ALSO TO THEIR EMOTIONAL AND SPIRITUAL HEALTH.” meditation in a group for 2 hours, followed by studying sacred ancient Vedic texts, and then taking care of personal items, such as laundry, and cleaning the space I’ll be living in. After lunch, I will be applying the theory I am learning into practice by serving the community at large. For example, I will be participating in food distribution programs across the country for the homeless, helping perform services around the monastery in areas such as cooking, gardening, and, finally, helping out other monks with their community educational outreach events for the public both at the temple and at universities. The idea is that we will start our days focusing on ourselves and end them in the service of others. What are you hoping to learn from this experience? I hope to learn more about myself. The main reason for this is because, as I see so many people around me struggling

HONOURING OUR GRADUATE STUDIES ALUMNI On May 28th, the Graduate Alumni Wall was unveiled outside of the Dean’s Office in honour of all who completed their graduate studies with the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences since 1920. Each year, we’ll add the names of students graduating from our grad studies programs to the list! n

with negative emotions, I want to help. However, the only way I can help is to first help myself. Having a deeper understanding of myself, my challenges, strengths and weaknesses is the only way to effectively be able to help others. My mentor once said, “The greatest act of compassion one can have in this world, is to be a good example for others to follow.” I have found a lot of motivation and inspiration in this quote, allowing me to use it as a guide as I navigate through life. Therefore, I strongly believe that if I have a deep understanding of my own emotions, and how I react to them, it’ll enable me to understand others and help them accordingly. A pharmacist is a health care provider; however, health care is not just limited to restoring or maintaining biological function. Health, as defined by Thompson et al. in “The Science of Nutrition”, encompasses physical, emotional and spiritual health. Therefore, as a health care provider, I want to be able to provide my patients with experiences that will not only cater to their physical health, but also to their emotional and spiritual health. In addition to helping my friends and colleagues out, I am hoping that this experience can arm me with the insight I need to provide this holistic definition of health care to my patients. n Are you interested in learning more about this program? Visit the College of Vedic Studies’ website krishnacollege.co.uk/ courses/be-a-monk for more information.

A PRESCRIPTION FOR THE PUBLIC GOOD Reaching a goal requires a plan. A Prescription for the Public Good, the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences’ Strategic Plan for the years 2018 through 2023, is the play book for the advancement of both the Faculty and the industry over the next five years. The plan ensures the Faculty’s use of its full potential to serve our communities and advance their health and wellbeing, as well as its dedication to equipping our students and staff with the education, resources, and skills they need to fulfill the available scope of practice in our province and give the highest level of care to their patients. The Faculty’s goals are realized through the plan’s five core pillars: 1. Advance the profession through exemplary education programs 2. Cultivate excellence in the student body 3. Foster excellence in research and graduate studies 4. Support ongoing excellence in teaching and learning 5. Effectively support our mission through strong organization and administrative structure To read the new Strategic Plan, please visit our website, or request a copy by emailing us at phcomms@ualberta.ca. n







The meaning of the Bowl of Hygeia is rooted in Greek mythology; Hygeia was the daughter of the god of health, and she tended to the temples and people of her time. Her cup has come to represent medicine and her snake to represent healing. Now a worldwide symbol of pharmacy, the Bowl of Hygeia was first used to represent the profession in 1796 on a coin minted for the Parisian Society of Pharmacy. Soon after, it was adopted by many other pharmacy groups throughout Europe and the world, as it, and pharmacy, stand for healing through the use of medicine. The Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences’ Bowl of Hygeia Scholarship is provided for by Carl Sobolewski, a 1955 University of Alberta Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences graduate. In 1950, Carl Sobolewski began an internship with Corner Drug while completing his pharmacy degree at the University of Alberta. Owned and operated by Len Sanders and Fred Beddome, Corner Drug was a place of both excellency in pharmacy and mentorship which greatly influenced Carl’s future in the industry. After completing his first year of pharmacy at the University of Alberta, Carl suffered the loss of his father. As the oldest child of nine young siblings, this tragedy not only brought grief, but huge financial and family responsibility to the young pharmacy student. with the help of Corner Drug THE BOWL OF andIt awas University of Alberta grant that Carl was able to complete his pharHYGEIA WAS macy degree in 1955 and establish FIRST USED his first drugstore in the boomtown Hinton, Alberta in 1957. These TO REPRESENT of gestures of financial assistance were THE PROFES- never forgotten as he progressed in his success as a pharmacist. SION IN 1796 In 1961, Carl returned to Edmonton and became a partner in the developON A COIN ment of Glengarry Shopping Centre and established his first store, Glengarry MINTED FOR Rexall Drugs. By 1965, his brother Frank THE PARISIAN had also graduated from the University of Alberta Faculty of Pharmacy and SOCIETY OF Pharmaceutical Sciences as well as PHARMACY. received another degree in Pharmacy with a major in Pharmaceutical Science. 8


ABOVE: Carl Sobolewski standing next to the Bowl of Hygeia statue. RIGHT: Dean Davies and Carl Sobolewski looking at historic graduation photos.

As a team, the Sobolewski brothers formed a partnership and opened Western Canada’s first 24-hour drugstore, All-Niter Super Drug Mart (1973-1985), on Edmonton’s Jasper Avenue. Their store was a tremendous success, and it propelled them into the world of property development where they were able to provide sites for their future stores. The brothers went on to open two more Mid-Nighter Super Drug Marts in Edmonton, one in Yellowbird Shopping Centre in 1983 and the other on Jasper Avenue in 1988. By this time, the Sobolewski’s format for retail drugstore operations was successfully spreading to many stores owned by other pharmacists. The Sobolewski’s drug stores were sold in 1995. In 2002, Frank Sobolewski passed away, and it is in his memory that Carl has dedicated the Bowl of Hygeia statue — that once sat in one of the brother’s stores — to the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences as well as the Bowl of Hygeia Scholarship and Bursary to assist future generations of pharmacy students. n

FACULTY NOTES Dr. Nathan Beahm joined the faculty as a Clinical Assistant Professor in February. He comes to us from the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry where he worked as a post-​ doctoral fellow. Bev Berekoff, Administrator, will be retiring from her position at the end of July. Dr. Renette Bertholet and Dr. Candace Necyk were promoted to Clinical Associate Professors this spring. Cheryl Cox retired from her position as Undergraduate Student Coordinator in February and received the Association of Faculties of Pharmacy of Canada Honoured Membership Award in April. Dr. Michael Doschak received a US Patent for his compound, “Preparation of Bone-Seeking Superparamagnetic Iron Nanoparticles as Contrast Agents and Methods for Using the Same” in April, as well as a three-year CIHR Project Grant for “Bone-Targeting Peptide & Protein Hormones for Endocrine Bone Disorders”, and was officially promoted from Associate Professor to Professor on July 1st. Dr. Lisa Guirguis, Associate Professor, was appointed Fellow of the American Pharmacists Association for her demonstration of exemplary professional achievements and service to the profession. Kalyna Hennig joined the faculty as its Communication Coordinator in January, which also makes her the Editor-in-Chief of The Mortar & Pestle. She comes to us from the Government of Alberta’s 9-1-1 Program where she worked as a writer/editor. Joyce Johnson, Graduate Studies Coordinator, retired from her position in June after serving the Faculty and its graduate studies programs for 25 years. Diseray Schamehorn, Pharmacy Indigenous Liaison and Special Projects Coordinator, will be taking on the position going forward. Dr. Raimar Lobenberg, Professor, was elected Fellow of The Canadian Society of Pharmaceutical Sciences this spring. Dr. Tatiana Makhinova, Assistant Professor, received a MSI Foundation Grant for her work with “Chronic Disease Management

in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): Effect on Diagnosis and Health Services Utilization” in May. Dr. Sharon Mitchell retired from her position of Clinical Professor in June. Ubaka Ogbogu, Assistant Professor, was appointed member of the Board of Directors on the Health Quality Council of Alberta and of the Council of Canadian Academics Expert Panel on Medical Assistance in Dying. He was also awarded a CIHR Planning and Dissemination Grant. Dr. Terri Schindel, Associate Clinical Professor, received her doctorate degree this spring, as well as a grant from the ACP for her work exploring public views, experiences, and expectations of pharmacy services with Dr. Tatiana Makhinova, Dr. Jason Daniels, and Dr. Christine Hughes. Dr. John Seubert received a CIHR Grant for his work with "Improving Mitochondria in Aged Hearts Following Ischemic Injury with Novel Epoxy Lipids" in February, a Heart and Stroke Foundation Grant for "Protecting Cardiac Mitochondria from Ischemic Injury through a Novel Caveolin-1 Pathway" in March, and a NSERC Grant for "Investigating the differential effects of LPS toward cardiac mitochondria in young and aged mice" in April. Dr. Vishwa Somayaji, Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Operator, has retired and will be undertaking a post-retirement appointment with the faculty. Caroline Thompson joined the faculty as Associate Director of Advancement in April. She comes to us from the central advancement office in the University where she worked as a regionally based fundraiser. Dr. John Ussher, Assistant Professor, was granted CFI research funding from the John R. Evans Leaders Fund in April. Dr. Nese Yuksel, Professor, received a grant from the Canadian Society of Hospital Pharmacists (CSHP) Research and Educational Foundation for her work with the "Development of a Combined Oral Contraceptive Practice Tool for Pharmacists" in February. n

A NEW LOOK We have had a new crest designed for the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences that reflects both where we have come from and the bright future ahead. n

IN MEMORIAM We honour those alumni who have passed. James Robert Boylan Class of 1968 October 4, 2017

John Gary Joseph Langford Class of 1965 April 7, 2018

Thomas Blair Class of 1931 Unknown

Gerald Oscar Lundgren Class of 1953 January 20, 2018

Barbara Brown Class of 1975 November 2016 Henry Christopher D Chalmers Class of 1949 Unknown Patrick Barry Dawson Class of 1960 October 08, 2017 Loma HalabyAmmar Class of 2001 June 23, 2018 Edythe Elaine Kinzel Class of 1950 December 20, 2017

Jocelyn Anne Maciborsky Class of 2004 October 31, 2014 John Michael Rehman Class of 1965 September 13, 2017 David E.A. Ritchie Class of 1952 February 3, 2018 Orvall Kenneth Roer Class of 1956 March 14, 2018 Samuel Robert “Bob” Rogers Class of 1949 December 17, 2017

The News & Notes section is dedicated to highlighting events, awards, accolades, and updates of our faculty, staff, students, and alumni. If you have news or a note to share, email us at phcomms@ualberta.ca n




Fueled Futures

Professional Development Week 2018 By LINDSAY SHAPK A

THE FACULTY OF Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and the Alberta Pharmacy Students’ Association (APSA) had the honour of hosting the 30th annual Professional Development Week (PDW) “Fueling Our Futures” from January 10 - 13, 2018 at the Shaw Conference Centre with visiting students hosted at The Westin. The event also marked the 50th anniversary of the Canadian Association of Pharmacy Students and Interns (CAPSI), making it even more momentous. The incredible four-day conference brought together 580 pharmacy students from all 10 Canadian pharmacy schools, presenting a unique set of educational opportunities to the next generation of pharmacists. A local Hawaiian dance group kicked-off the conference at the tropical-themed opening gala that featured elaborate pineapple centerpieces. This year’s trade show featured 30 booths from various pharmacy related organizations, there were exciting education competitions, and more than 20 sessions were presented on various topics in both English and French. New initiatives this year included the BP Clinic (a public advocacy event held at City Hall) sponsored by the Alberta College of Pharmacy, an interactive conference app that allowed delegates to connect with each other and with speakers and sponsors, and poster presentations that gave students a chance to showcase their research. PDW 2018’s planning committee 10


also partnered with the University of Alberta Alumni Association to present the Canada’s Next Top Pharmacist competition and keynote speaker Michael Landsberg. Canada’s Next Top Pharmacist was a pageant-style competition held among the 10 Canadian pharmacy schools. Winners representing each school then competed for the top title on January 12. Prior to the competition, delegates, speakers, and alumni enjoyed a Western Carnival (K-Days-style) themed mixer with classic fair games, popcorn, cotton candy, and other treats. On the final day of the conference, renowned mental health advocate (Bell Let’s Talk, #SickNotWeak) and TSN sportscaster Michael Landsberg closed the conference with a talk on how pharmacists play a crucial role in the lives of their patients with mental health conditions. The northern lightsthemed closing gala featured UAlberta’s 80-piece concert band, and colourful lighting and décor reflecting the northern lights. According to conference co-chairs Anuvir Bhullar and Diva Niaz, the event was an overwhelming success! PDW 2019 will be hosted by the MUN School of Pharmacy in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador. The event is scheduled to return to Edmonton in 2028. n

Opposite page: Students are greeted by Hawaiian dancers at the tropical-themed opening gala, performers at the Canada’s Next Top Pharmacist competition, students networking. This page: PDW attendees and organizers enjoy awards ceremonies, the opening night banquet, networking opportunities, learning how to Hawaiian dance from the expert Hawaiian dancers, a westernthemed carnival, and exciting competitions!





Dr. Jamali Research Symposium 2018 Celebrating 37 years of service By LINDSAY SHAPK A

EVERY YEAR, the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences gathers together to celebrate and showcase pharmacy and pharmaceutical science research accomplishments at the University of Alberta. Undergraduate and graduate research is presented by students, awards and recognitions are given to those who excel in their field, and colleagues and alumni from across the industry gather at special events to celebrate and network. This year, Research Day will not only celebrate excellence in research, but also the retirement of Dr. Fakhreddin "Mo" Jamali, who will be honoured at the Gala Dinner, as well as a social Pub Night. Since his arrival at the Faculty in 1981, Dr. Jamali has shown incredible dedication to both his career and industry, bettering the lives of others through his research, advocacy, and teaching. After 37 years of service to the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Alberta, Dr. Jamali and his work will further be honoured by raising funds to create a graduate fellowship in his name. All friends, family, and colleagues of Dr. Jamali are invited to join the faculty in honouring his contributions and legacy by making a donation to the Dr. Mo Jamali Graduate Fellowship in Pharmaceutical Sciences. Contributions 12

Among the research showcases, awards presentations, social events and more, the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences is pleased to host three industry leaders as speakers during the Research Day 2018 events:

Dr. Fakhreddin Jamali, PharmD, PhD Professor, Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Alberta.

SAVE THE DATE! Events will take place November 29 & 30.

to this endowed student fellowship will allow students to undertake their research in the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences for years to come. GET INVOLVED! Do you have any photographs featuring your days at the laboratory with Dr. Jamali? Please share them with us for our slide show presentation at the Gala dinner on Friday evening. Unable to attend? Send us a 3-to-5-minute video of yourself sharing your memories about the experiences you have had at Dr. Jamali’s lab. Please direct your photos and videos to Sherif Mahmoud at smahmoud@ualberta.ca. n Visit ualberta.ca/pharmacy/events/ research-day-2018 for the full conference schedule and to register.


Dr. Okpo Eradiri, PhD Quality Assessment Lead, Office of New Drug Products, the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, FDA, USA.

Dr. Reza Mehvar, PharmD, PhD Professor, Chair of the Department of Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences, School of Pharmacy, Chapman University, USA.


Pharmacist Awareness Month Feel the energy! By K ALYNA HENNIG

EACH MARCH, Pharmacist Awareness Month (PAM) celebrates the contributions that pharmacists make to our health care system and seeks to help educate Canadians about everything that their pharmacists can do for them. The Faculty and its students made sure to show the province just that with a variety of activities throughout the month that promoted Alberta’s large scope of practice and the value that pharmacists bring to our health care system.

MARCH 1: Awareness campaigns are all about the talk, so it was fitting that PAM was kicked off by getting people to “taco ‘bout it” over tacos in a bag. The Alberta Pharmacy Students Association (APSA) hosted students and faculty on PAM’s opening day with food, a photobooth, buttons, and important conversations. MARCH 7: Faculty, alumni, and industry came together for the Collaboration in Patient Care: Pharmacists and the Patient Journey event to talk about patients’ transitions from the hospital to home. A panel discussion featuring leaders from across the industry, followed by facilitated group discussion, focused on how pharmacists can give patients the best experience in transitioning from the hospital back to their own homes and community pharmacies. MARCH 8, 13 & 23: APSA students hosted public clinics about heart, bone, and lung health throughout Edmonton where people could take part in free one-on-one consultations with pharmacy students and professionals about their health. A Lung Health and Smoking Cessation Clinic was held at City Centre Mall and offered various

free smoking cessation resources, a Blood Pressure Clinic offered free blood pressure screenings at the Legislature Building, and the Osteoporosis and Bone Clinic at West Edmonton Mall allowed the public to receive Body Mass Index measurements and bone density scans. “We really wanted to see pharmacists interacting with the public and giving on-site demonstrations to showcase the great scope of practice and value that pharmacists bring to the health care system. We want people to know how much pharmacists can do,” said Hannah Kaliel, VP CAPSI Sr. Representative and APSA member.

ABOVE: Honourable Sarah Hoffman, Minister of Health, visits with students in the practice lab during her tour of the Faculty on March 28.

MARCH 9, 12, 14: Throughout the month the Faculty hosted Lunch and Learns with special guest lecturers. Topics included antimicrobial stewardship, cannabinoid guidelines, and diabetes interprofessional collaboration in practice. MARCH 31: The annual Alumni Hockey Game was the perfect way to celebrate a successful month. Alumni, faculty (including the Dean), and students wrapped up PAM with their skates on the ice! n






pharmaceutical programming for the elderly in Alberta, she proposed Med Wise be pilot-tested in Edmonton during the summer of 2017. The twoweek program, facilitated through the South West Edmonton Senior’s Association, consisted of discussion-based exercises for seniors led by seniors. Educators included retired teachers, nurses, pharmacists, and medical professionals eager to engage with their peers. A major goal of the program is to improve the quality of one-on-one time spent between seniors and their pharmacists during care plans, also known as medical reviews. “It’s to get them to figure out what they can get out of care plans,” explains Dr. Guirguis, “and to maximize their time with the pharmacist.” One practice of the program is to encourage seniors to look critically at their medications, dosages, side effects, and habits — writing them out so that they have something tangible to hand to a pharmacist and ask, ‘Can I do better?’ Not only does Med Wise educate seniors on the questions they should be asking about their medications, but it also provides them a safe space to practice those questions. A licensed pharmacist attends the sessions to rehearse potential, real-life interactions between medical professionals and program participants. The goal is to give seniors the confidence and capacity to voice concerns they would otherwise keep to themselves. “If you’ve never said it out loud, how are you going to say it to a pharmacist in a busy pharmacy?” asks Dr. Guirguis. “Sometimes, people need a nudge to know it’s okay to ask.” When seniors are backed by pharmacists who they trust and can speak to freely, they are instilled with a sense of empowerment to manage their medications and overall health with the help of health care providers. “Medications are quite personal issues. Patients crave connection. They want someone who’s listening to them and who’s there for them,” says Dr. Guirguis. “I want to make sure the pharmacist is one of the people that’s helping them. Just having one more person on their team might help them succeed.” And so, the onus to foster meaningful pharmacist-patient relationships doesn’t just fall on seniors or Med Wise participants. In those moments before a patient leaves the till of the pharmacy, Dr. Guirguis encourages health care providers to see things from the other side of the counter. “Pharmacists need to give seniors the permission to ask questions and let them know that they have the time for them,” says Dr. Guirguis. “Instead of saying ‘Any questions?’, say ‘I know it looks busy around here, but I have a couple minutes to make sure you understand this. I’m here.’” n

Empowering elderly patients to ask questions By AMY SCHURING

BEFORE A PATIENT leaves the pharmacy, paper bag of prescriptions in hand, most pharmacists will ask, ‘Do you have any questions?’ Whether or not it sounds familiar, this question is usually taken as a polite dismissal — an end to a conversation — explains Dr. Lisa Guirguis, Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies at the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. “At the end of the day, it’s a closing question and it’s not really seen as a true invitation.” Of all the patients that choose not to take the bait, senior citizens are the most likely to walk away without asking anything. Dr. Guirguis explains that in this typical closing, senior citizens — often unfairly typecast by popular culture as time-consuming or bothersome — hesitate to speak up for fear of being a burden and busying others with what they may consider to be irrational concerns. Unfortunately, this prevents Canada’s fastest growing age demographic from getting the most out of their pharmacy experience. “The Med Wise program — developed in 2013 in Wisconsin — is designed to improve seniors’ ability to manage their medications and communicate with their pharmacists,” explains Dr. Guirguis. “This is a campaign to help seniors learn the skills they need to ask pharmacists questions and get answers.” After a former colleague — a retired pharmacist and now a senior himself — expressed to Guirguis the need for improved 14



HEROES FOR HEALTH Challenge winners bring wellness kits to pharmacy students By LINDSAY SHAPK A

HEROES FOR HEALTH is a cross-campus challenge hosted by the Alumni Association, Human Resources, LiveWell, and the Healthy Campus Unit. The initiative encourages students, staff, and faculty to propose ideas that will improve the health of students on the UAlberta campus, and they can be awarded up to $5,000 to implement their ideas. Two of the latest winners of this challenge are pharmacy students Erica McGinn and Chloe HamelMartineau who were given the full $5,000 to bring their idea of offering Wellness Kits to their peers a reality. These Wellness Kits will be created to supplement students’ well-being by containing objects to help with mental, physical, and social health, and will be available for students to use in the 2018-2019 school year. “We believe that such kits could improve wellness in our Faculty because students are faced with heavy course loads and many responsibilities,” explained Erica and Chloe, “[they] need time and incentive to unwind and take care of themselves.” The plan is to have the kits contain items like stress balls, games, tea, and weights, but the duo is also planning on surveying students to find out what they would like to see in the kits. “As pharmacy students, we are very busy with school and it can get overwhelming — knowing that our kits are helping students with their wellness during these tough years is something that we look forward to. A healthy campus, in our opinion, would be one where students know to recognize the signs of distress and are able to access quick and easy resources, such as our kits, to relieve their stress levels and ensure adequate well-being. If accessible resources such as our boxes could be available to students on campus, we strongly believe


that it could make a difference in learning about recognizing and reacting to signs of poor personal mental, physical, and social health. This will ensure in the long term, that students are leading healthy lives and becoming healthy world citizens.” The plan is to have the kits available in the Practice Based Learning rooms or in the APSA lounge for immediate and 24-hour access. These kits will include items to help de-stress and take study breaks. There will also be take-home kits available to check-out through the Faculty. Both believe that the kits will not only help students now, but in their future careers too. “As second-year pharmacy students, we have personally witnessed and lived the hardships of the curriculum. It is very easy to feel overwhelmed with the workload of school and to feel like you have to compromise your own wellness in order to succeed. We believe that having access to these kits will help create a better balance between school, wellness and social life; finding this balance is important to being successful. We think our kits, by being easily accessible to students, will enable students to figure out how to maintain this balance earlier in their careers and to eventually become better rounded pharmacists.” n THE MORTAR & PESTLE • SUMMER 2018



A Pipeline for a

Healthy Future

Diversifying the future of industry in Alberta By KIERAN ANDREW MACISA AC


itchen tables and boardrooms alike have been privy to the conversations of Albertans debating the Trans Mountain Pipeline for months. Oil is, after all, not just the source of Alberta’s economy, but its identity too. The province’s economic growth and prosperity has been tied to the petroleum industry for the better part of a century, so it comes as no surprise that the steps taken by the Federal Government to purchase the pipeline project were met with significant relief from Albertans. But what happens as our golden resource eventually drops from its prominent role in gas tanks and power plants? What will propel Alberta into the future? With the threat of climate change being felt around the globe, advances in green technologies and energy storage, along with the recent crash in oil prices, there has never been a stronger case for Alberta to diversify. Alberta needs a different type of pipeline. Nurturing a new industry, however, can be extraordinarily difficult. Alberta’s oil sands have attracted significant international investment, multinational companies, and have grown a diverse




community of local small, medium, and large enterprises across the province. Innovation and grit were rewarded with investment and opportunity. As Alberta navigates the transition from a carbon-centric economy, it needs a new draw for investment and talent; one that provides the opportunity for high paying jobs, a global market, and a healthy future. An alternate pipeline can reach these goals. This one won’t be protested in Burnaby, but it will require commitment from government funders, donors, and researchers. It will transport our expertise in the health sciences to market. As a province, we have all of the pieces to successfully complete this project, and the innovation to flow through it. As written in the Benchtop to Bedside feature on page 20, drug development is a long and complex process that requires significant support from the pharmaceutical sciences. Getting a drug to the market is difficult, but if you get the process – or “pipeline” – correct, you can greatly increase the odds of success.

Alberta is home to a world-class Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences that is ranked 1st in Canada and 15th globally for its research (QS 2018 rankings, citations per paper) that can serve as a resource for the community of medical researchers and academics across the province and country. Edmonton is adopting a strong push for health research through the Health City initiative, and in order to guide scientific discoveries to successful commercialization, pharmaceutical sciences needs to build the pipeline. Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences is at the core of drug development. Our fields of study and expertise include pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, toxicology, pharmacoepidemiology, medicinal chemistry, pharmacology, pharmacogenomics, formulation, pharmacometrics, and clinical pharmacy. Each provide key components of the research pipeline required to determine a drug candidate’s efficacy and safety, and guide it from a lab discovery all the way through to a cure that saves lives around the world. Just as investments in the oil sands are useless without a pipeline to get the product to market, so too are the investments in health research without a pipeline to guide basic science discoveries through the multitude of complex hurdles before getting

to an approved drug. Through focusing on ensuring that there is a strong pharmaceutical sciences unit within our Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, we can support translational research here and across the country, bringing discoveries to the people who need them. If we’re successful with this pipeline, Alberta will continue to be an economic powerhouse, driving investment and growth. Our ecosystem of spinoffs and partnerships with industry will grow exponentially. Investment will find a new home in Alberta and students from across the health and science disciplines will have extraordinary opportunities during their studies and go on to find fulfilling careers in our province’s burgeoning industry. We will be known for a different export, just as ubiquitous as the energy sector, it will fill pharmacies and hospitals, save lives and provide a better quality of life for families across the province, country, and world. n



The Pharmaceutical Pipeline Pharmaceutical scientists have many crucial roles in ensuring a new drug flows smoothly through the drug development process. Follow the pipeline below to see a drug make its way to market. By RENATO PAGNANI



Molecular compounds are tested to discover possible beneficial effects against diseases. Thousands of possible candidate compounds are whittled down to just a few for further testing. Once a promising compound has been identified, pharmaceutical scientists work on the chemical makeup of the compound, testing how it’s absorbed and metabolized, the best dosage, the best method of ingestion, and any side effects of the drug.




➜ The average cost of all the phases required to get a new drug to market.



After a drug has been found to be safe and effective via clinical testing, it’s submitted for review by administration bodies like Health Canada and the FDA (Food & Drug Administration) in the United States. Once approved, the drug can be sold. This process takes about 6 to 10 months. ➜ REGULATORY CLINICAL SCIENCE ➜ CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY ➜ CLINICAL PHARMACY





New drugs must be tested to find out if they cause serious harm. Increasingly these tests are conducted in vitro (with isolated cells in petri dishes or test tubes) but many of the required tests can only be done with in vivo (with living animals) to understand the metabolism of the compound and any interactions it may have with an organism. ➜ TOXICOLOGY ➜ PHARMACOKINETICS & DYNAMICS ➜ PHARMACOLOGY



After pre-clinical testing is completed, the drug must be tested to see how it interacts with the human body. Clinical trials usually consist of three phases of increasing size and can take 5+ years to complete.





➜ The

average number of years a drug takes to go from the research phase to the pharmacy.

Entry to market is not the end of the drug development process. Information continues to be gathered during a drug’s lifetime in the marketplace. Patients prescribed the drug are monitored for side effects. ➜ PHARMACOEPIDEMIOLOGY ➜ PHARMACOVIGILANCE




Benchtop to Bedside Pharmaceutical Sciences in Action By RENATO PAGNANI


he cycle is a well-worn cliché at this point: a team of researchers announces that they’ve discovered a paradigm-shifting, world-altering drug, one that will finally cure Disease X, which is followed by newspapers and television anchors around the world rushing breathlessly to publicize the good news, and then, in the vast majority of cases… absolutely nothing. It’s much more likely that nothing is ever heard about a potential drug after its discovery is announced than it is to see the drug actually hit shelves. This gap between benchtop and bedside is the less glamorous — and less publicized — side of drug development. While new drugs do continue to make it to market, saving lives in the process, it’s estimated that fewer than 10% of drugs that reach human trials go on to be approved for commercial sale. And that number diminishes even further when you factor in the number of compounds in the discovery phase of drug development that never make it out of preclinical testing. If those compounds are included, the figure drops to about one in 5,000i. Dr. Pat Mayo (B.Sc. Pharm ’82, PhD ’00) doesn’t hesitate to admit that getting a



drug into a pharmacy is usually a longshot at best. “A former colleague of mine, Dan Trepanier, once said, ‘I think it’s easier to get a man on the moon than it is to get a new drug on the market,’” he laughs. “And it’s absolutely true.” Perhaps the biggest reason that it’s common for a potential new drug to be announced and then seem to disappear off the face of the planet is simple, Mayo explains: the drug development process lasts longer than your typical news cycle. A lot longer. On average, it takes over a decade — and can cost pharmaceutical companies upwards of $4 billion before they even see a penny in return on their investment — for a successful drug, from the point of discovery, to reach the marketii. Most new drug announcements are made before or just as it enters human trials, of which there are three distinct phases that can collectively last up to 10 years, so there’s a lot of time after a drug is announced for it to fail. And then there are the two most likely places in the development process where drugs fail. The first is that a drug isn’t bioavailable — in other words, it just doesn’t do anything once in the body. “You can have a compound that works really well in a test tube, but then you give it to an animal and it doesn’t go where it needs to in the body,” says Mayo, “and no one’s been able to figure out easily by just looking at a molecule if it will be absorbed before it can get where it needs to go.” Mayo, currently a Clinical Associate Professor who previously worked with the Faculty as an Adjunct Academic Colleague, works in pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics — the former being how the body affects a drug and the latter being how a drug affects the body. In other words, how your body metabolizes a drug, which differs from person to person, versus the effect a drug has on a person. Research in these fields helps provide insight into why a drug may or may not do anything once administered. The other main reason a drug fails? It’s too toxic for humans, no matter the dosage. Or its side effects outweigh its benefits, even if a drug fulfills its original intended purpose. “Often researchers wait too long to text for toxicity,” says Mayo. “Then they


realize that while a compound might do what they want it to — it might kill the cancer they’re looking to eradicate — it also kills your kidneys. So, the drug has to be scrapped entirely.” To combat the number of drugs that fail because they’re too toxic, there are advocates who propose moving toxicity testing as early as possible in the process. “As soon as you’ve got compounds that you’ve tested and look promising, there’s an increasing number of scientists who think you should immediately move to testing on mice or rats,” Mayo explains. “Not just to see if the drug is absorbed at all, or if it can be administered orally, but to start looking for toxicity, which would save a lot of time and money.”


ven though the majority of compounds fail to make it to human testing, let alone be approved for sale, success stories nevertheless manage to trickle out at a steady pace — many in which the Faculty of Pharmacy and

Pharmaceutical Sciences have had a hand. And given the interdisciplinary nature of drug development, likely dozens if not hundreds of hands too. One of the most famous examples is Tazobactam, which was developed at the University of Alberta in collaboration with Japanese pharmaceutical company Taiho Pharmaceutical back in the 90s by a team led by Dr. Ron Micetichiii. A beta-lactamase inhibitor, Tazobactam combines with an antibiotic to make that antibiotic more effective, such as when treating bacterial lung infections. “There are certain enzymes that bacteria can release that will inactivate a drug,” explains Mayo. “So, if you had something that was resistant to penicillin, you could add Tazobactam to stop that bacteria from inactivating some drug meant to fight it.” And now Ron’s son, Chris Micetich (B.Ed ’86), is leading the development of a Tazobactam successor, a new beta-lactamase inhibitor named Nacubactam. As of 2015, OP0595 was in Phase 1 clinical trialsiv THE MORTAR & PESTLE • SUMMER 2018


at his Edmonton-based company Fedora Pharmaceuticals. That same year Swiss drug behemoth Roche bought the worldwide (sans Japan) rights to Nacubactam for $750 million.




nother area the Faculty is pioneering is a new technique for therapeutic drug monitoring (TDM) that, instead of requiring blood to be taken from patients, uses non-invasive and painfree micro-needling to extract interstitial fluid from the skin insteadv. Dr. Tony Kiang and his team have been working on this new approach to monitoring the concentrations of drugs absorbed by patients, a crucial component in post-market surveillance of a drug, not just to see if a drug is working, and working safely, but to help personalize the dosage for patients, who all have individual needs. “Traditionally, in order to get the concentration readings needed to tailor dosage concentrations for a patient, you need to draw blood,” says Kiang. “But drawing blood isn’t a pleasant experience for anybody. And for a lot of people, drawing blood is impossible, like pediatric or elderly patients. You don’t want to poke them, and there’s nothing to draw anyways. “Our lab is coming up with a new approach to draw different fluids to get readings to help monitor drug concentrations. Now you don’t have to poke through the skin to get the same readings. We’re using cutting-edge nanotechnology to help draw this fluid. The needles are so short, they don’t even touch the nerves, and therefore they’re painless. Monitoring drug concentrations in the body is one of the best ways to tailor a drug to an individual patient’s needs. And besides being painful, drawing blood is costly. You have to train people to draw blood, and most people have needle phobia.” Kiang and his team have completed pre-clinical trials and have found that their approach has proven successful so far. “Now we’re in the process of translating this paradigm to human studies.” Kiang, who trained as a pharmacist at the University of British Columbia, was appointed Assistant Professor in the summer of 2017. His current focus is translational pharmacotherapy, where he applies the knowledge he’s acquired on the benchtop to try and help improve patient care. “I’m kind of a hybrid between a clinician and a scientist,” he explains. “A lot of my research questions are formulated in the


clinic, when you see patients and hear about the same problems that come up without a clear solution. That’s when the lightbulb clicks, and you start thinking if there’s a way to design an experiment to solve that problem.” “Benchtop to bedside” is the common saying when it comes to describing the pharmaceutical process, but Kiang suggests that lately the other way around is becoming just as prevalent a trend. “Pharmacy’s a field that keeps changing all the time, and research drives change. You need to be up to date or you’re going to fall behind. And these days spending time with patients in clinics helps inform research more than it ever has in the past.” And over the last few decades, advances in pharmaceutical sciences have helped make drug development quicker, less expensive, and overall more successful. Things you couldn’t do a decade ago are now routine occurrences. Pat Mayo agrees. “When you find a molecule that you think could become a drug, usually you try it out in vitro — in a test tube — first, way before you move to animals,” says Mayo. “Now when you reach the one you want to try out and see if and how it interacts with certain receptors, you can actually go out and buy those receptors. “Dutch pharmacologist D.K. de Jongh once wrote that the drug receptor ‘is like a beautiful but remote lady’ that he had never seen but had only conversed with via lettervi. Now you can just buy what you need. I might need a receptor for an opioid, and in just a few weeks it can be delivered straight to the lab. It’s an exciting time to be in this field.” n i. https://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/09/opinion/ the-solution-to-drug-prices.html ii. https://www.forbes.com/sites/ matthewherper/2012/02/10/the-truly-staggeringcost-of-inventing-new-drugs/#223ac7af4a94 iii. http://edmontonsun.com/2016/09/23/hicks-onbiz-a-made-in-edmonton-super-drug/ iv. https://www.roche.com/media/store/releases/ med-cor-2015-01-13.htm v. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/ PMC5750649/ vi. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/ PMC2812702/#__sec1title



What cannabis can do for health research By JYLLIAN PARK

he date is looming for the legalization of recreational cannabis in Canada. While pot advocates and occasional dabblers weren't able to legally reach for the green on the originally stated July 1 deadline, this fall will see its legalization. The once underground and controlled substance is finally set to emerge from the shadows for the general public on October 17th, but cannabis has been a growing part of the Canadian pharmaceutical industry dating back to 2001. The changes to how Canada handles the social and recreational use of pot are unlikely to impact how patients, physicians, and researchers are currently using, prescribing, and testing cannabis for health care purposes. It will, however, likely begin to sway public opinion about the substance, opening doors for professionals in the medical field to offer patients more evidence-based ways to treat and manage their symptoms. “There has been a lack of supplies for patients and researchers to access in the past. It hasn’t been easy to get the herb,” says Dr. Raimar Löbenberg, Professor of Pharmacy


and Pharmaceutical Sciences, and the founder and Director of the Drug Development and Innovation Centre (DDIC) at the University of Alberta. “Now with the new regulations, the herb is much more easily accessible, and this will help boost the research on medical cannabis.” Löbenberg, who founded the DDIC in 2009, has been working with cannabis for applications in the pharmaceutical industry since 2005. The work done by the DDIC in relation to medical cannabis is in developing analytical assays and extraction methods for major cannabinoids. To accomplish this aim, the centre uses modern formulations of medical cannabis to test and develop therapeutic alternatives to smoking the herb. “The goal of the DDIC is to enable research to make prototype dosage forms for researchers and outside companies who pack, manufacture, and label dosage forms of all kinds,” says Löbenberg. “We provide investigative and clinical trial forms to make the prototype of a dosage form, from capsules to tablets to solutions and other common applications.” In the almost decade-and-a-half that he’s been working with the substance, Löbenberg has seen promising advancements in the applications for cannabis in the




ABOVE: A graduate student working in Dr. Raimar Löbenberg’s laboratory.


industry, but he is careful not to put too much stock into the growing chorus of companies and developers making big and flashy claims about the virtues of this ever-popular wonder-drug. “A lot of people claim things about what cannabis can be used for, and there are a lot of studies where cannabinoids have shown evidence where it might be useful — from cancer to inflammation — but we haven’t done enough systematic clinical trials to have good medicines for certain conditions. We are at the point right now where we can begin such research.” One area where the legalization of recreational cannabis can impact the pharmaceutical industry, in Löbenberg’s opinion, is in signaling a wider acceptance for companies and corporations to put funding towards research and testing of the drug. “I hope that there will be less stigma, and hopefully, we can do more research and evaluate the impact of cannabis on patients. What we want to do is good research on cannabis and develop dosage forms which can be clinically tested.” The DDIC, which is the only academic lab in Canada with the Health Canada site license required to test and produce medicinal cannabis products, has made recent advancements in developing a method to properly evaluate the makeup of the plant material, and is in the process of working on extraction methods for developing advanced dosage forms. Löbenberg and his team are currently working on a project that they will be rolling out to the public in


the near future, stating that while there are interesting developments with the testing, “it’s not something that I can comment on at the moment.” Löbenberg is remaining cautiously optimistic with the advancement of medical cannabis in the industry. “With the recreational use, I don’t want to get into that, because this is a bit of a circus. I was just in the United States, and what people claim about cannabis can be mostly nonsense. What we want to do is good research on cannabis and develop dosage forms which can be clinically tested. Most companies have interesting ideas, but they’ll probably never work out. I have enough experience with cannabinoids to know what might work and what might not. Most of the stuff I saw is a nice idea, but I’m not interested in wasting my time on it.” As is the case in just about every industry in 2018, as the business behind medical cannabis expands, the tech industry has begun to hitch their wagon to this increasingly lucrative venture. A growing number of licensed cannabis producers offer patients with medical documents the opportunity to order products online. The federal medicinal cannabis process, however, isn’t without its faults. It can be overwhelming and confusing for people looking to obtain therapeutic remedies to manage their various symptoms and conditions. The next few months are sure to bring unique challenges and opportunities, but one thing is certain, cannabis research in Alberta is about to get a lot more interesting. n


THE BACHYNSKY ERA Looking back at the fourth Dean of Pharmacy, 1981-1989 By OWAIN GLYNDŴR


orn in Flin Flon, Manitoba, Dr. John Bachynsky came from a family lineage rooted in the army, and he followed that calling serving in the militia as an artillery officer. He was enlisted with the 21st Battery of the Light Anti-aircraft (LAA), and later converted to the unit of the 10th Medium Regiment. His officer training included four months stationed in Germany with the 1st Regiment of the Royal Canadian Horse Artillery. This was part of the British Army on the Rhine. After his military service, Bachynsky attended the University of Saskatchewan and received his Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy (BSP) in 1959. He did a residency the following year at the hospital pharmacy at the University Hospital in Saskatoon. He married Lois Webb in 1960, upon completing his residency, and they eventually had three children; Carol, James, and Ronald. They moved to Swift Current and he worked as chief pharmacist at Swift Current Union Hospital. While working in Swift Current, he was also a Training Officer for the 14th Canadian Hussars, an armoured regiment. Seeking further education Bachynsky enrolled at Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science in 1962 where he successfully completed a master’s degree. He then returned to the College of Pharmacy at the University of Saskatchewan and was appointed to the faculty as an instructor for the next couple of years. He also continued as a Training Officer for the Canadian Officer Training Corp (COTC) while he lived in Saskatoon, with the rank of Captain. In 1965, he attended the prestigious University of Wisconsin where he obtained a doctorate in Pharmacy Administration with a Minor in Economics. He then went to work for the Canadian federal government in the Department of National Health and Welfare in Ottawa from 1967 to 1981 where he dealt with matters relating to health economics and planning. He was appointed secretary-treasurer of the Canadian Society of Governmental Pharmacists and concurrently Vice-President of the Ottawa

Pharmacists’ Society. He was instrumental in initiating a pharmacy continuing education program in Ottawa, along with a residency program at the Civic Hospital where he would moonlight as a pharmacist.



In May of 1981, Dr. John A Bachynsky was appointed Dean of the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceuticals at the University of Alberta for a five-year term and moved his family to Edmonton. (In 1986, he was reappointed to a three-year term as Dean.) At the time, the disciplines encompassing bench-based research in pharmaceutical sciences were very strong, but there was a need to continue to develop and elevate the professional program and Dr. Bachynsky was appointed due to his strengths in this area. Dean Bachynsky realized that linking the curriculum to practice patterns of practitioners and health care organizations was necessary. Beginning in September 1982, a new philosophy was presented which promoted the idea of instruction through contact with the profession within the academic curriculum. It was further suggested that this contact should be a progressive integrated experience emphasizing competency in practice. Major changes in the Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy degree (BSc Pharm) were undertaken. The first phase of these changes began in 1982 and continued to the end of Bachynsky’s term as dean. Exposure to practice was initiated in the first year with dispensing fundamentals, pharmacy mathematics, and visits to pharmacy practices. These experiences were built on a sequence of “Professional Practice” courses over the next three years to enable the student to be a competent practitioner. Students in the second year of pharmacy focused on health care systems and the role of the pharmacy profession to provide health care to the public. In addition, dispensing and introduction to over the counter (OTC) THE MORTAR & PESTLE • SUMMER 2018


products occurred. In the third year of the curriculum, the focus was on dispensing skills with an emphasis on patient counselling, dispensing problems, and dealing with patient care. The final year provided as 6-week blocks of clinical exposure in hospitals, community pharmacies, and other ambulatory care centres. Preceptor recruitment, training, and recognition was carefully planned and fostered. By the time Pharmacy students obtained their degrees, they had a wealth of knowledge, and experience in the practical aspects of the profession. Underlying this practice was the Bachynsky Philosophy that in order to be successful, pharmacy students required an early introduction to pharmacy practice with its integration of knowledge from various scientific disciplines. Communication skills are vital in professional practice and socialization to the profession and the acquisition of a reasonable level of drug knowledge takes several years and requires constant reinforcement.

THE CARIBBEAN CONNECTION From 1976 to 1990, Dr. Bachynsky was actively involved with the Americas Region of the Commonwealth Pharmaceutical Association and made many trips to the Caribbean for meetings. He was a visiting professor at the Barbados Community College and taught pharmacy administration and business on courses several occasions. Dean Bachynsky was a key player in the development of a common pharmacy curriculum and standardized testing in the Caribbean. He established professional and educational links with the pharmacy schools and represented the Canadian Pharmaceutical Association (CPhA) at regional meetings of the Commonwealth Pharmaceutical Association. He also served as Vice President of the Commonwealth Pharmaceutical Association.

THE JAPAN CONNECTION The Alberta-Toho (Japan) University Agreement, which promoted collaboration with respect to research and academic programs, was signed on June 30, 1987. As a result of the agreement, Dr. Bachynsky was a visiting professor at Toho University from 1994 to 2008, and on August 27, 2001 26

he received an honorary doctoral degree from Toho University for his support of the program. Toho successfully introduced a modern clinical pharmacy education as a result of the agreement with the University of Alberta. Through Dean Koyama, a group of pharmacy owners were encouraged to visit Alberta to attend a study-tour program called the Pharmacy Services Symposium (PSS). Dr. Bachynsky coordinated these study tours, and four different groups enrolled in the oneweek venture.


Another connection was with the Meiji Pharmaceutical University in Tokyo. On their 80th Anniversary, as part of President Sakamoto’s plan to reach out to pharmacy schools outside of Japan, they awarded a number of honorary PharmD degrees, including one to Dr. Bachynsky, as a recognition of the fruitful collaboration between universities. They also sent students to Edmonton to study English as a second language. The Japanese connection also generated communication and collaboration with the University of Alberta and the Faculty of Extension. Dr. Shigeo Yamamura from Josai International University initiated links with the Faculty. He was also active with the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP), the Japanese Pharmaceutical Association, and an informal network of Pharmacy educators in South East Asia. Dean Bachynsky was involved in this network as well and served as a source of institutional information and a historian of the many collaborative programs. Dean Bachynsky was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Pharmaceutical Science degree from Meiji Pharmaceutical University in 2002 and a PharmD Sci. (Hon) from the Health Sciences University of Hokkaido in 2002.


Under Dean Bachynsky’s leadership, the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences was elevated and became recognized as the leading pharmacy educational institution. He also helped foster the Alberta Pharmacy Undergraduate Society (APhUs), a strong student organization. APhUs was highly motivated and Bachynsky assisted them in organizing their fundraising efforts for the yearbook and graduation banquet. In 2000, he was awarded the Bristol Myers Squibb Excellence in Teaching Award, and he received a distinguished service award from the Pharmacists Association of Alberta in 2003. He received the Alberta Centennial Medal in 2005, and the Alberta Pharmacy Centennial Award of Distinction was awarded to him in 2011. The University of Saskatchewan Centennial Pharmacy Alumni Distinction Award was presented to him in 2014. The Dr. John Bachynsky “Green Room” is located on the first floor of the Medical Sciences building in the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and was dedicated in his honour in 2016. n This is the fourth in a series of articles profiling the deans of the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.


TOOLS OF THE TRADE Pharm tech from the dawn of time to today By MATTHEW STEPANIC


ince the beginning, the practice of pharmacy and its many tools have evolved and changed significantly. However, according to Mike Bain (B.Sc. Pharm 1971), retired pharmacist and now curator of the Castor Pharmacy Museum, one thing has remained constant: the practice has always been about finding “ways of relieving suffering.” Bain has gathered an incredible collection at the museum of the, once common, tools that were used by pharmacists on a regular basis. The collection begins with the mortar and pestle used for grinding up various roots, herbs, and other found substances, to now when the majority of pharmacist tools have been retired as most drugs are manufactured outside of the pharmacy. The mass manufacturing processes have improved standardization and led to an incredible shift in the role of the pharmacist who was once prized for their ability to mix and craft medicines. “The role of the pharmacist now becomes one of

treatment and follow-up and the provision of information,” says Bain. As pharmacy and the role of the pharmacist continue to evolve, what changes will this bring to the practice? New technologies will inevitably be developed in the manufacturing process, but Bain guesses the biggest change pharmacy may see in the next 10 years is the movement toward nanotechnology with drug delivery systems that allow drugs to target specific receptors. Only time will tell! With Bain’s help, we’ve put together a timeline showcasing the most notable tools of the trade used from as early as 35,000 BC to the present day. Turn the page to check it out! ➜



Mortar and pestle Dates: 35,000 BC to today Dating back to the beginning of pharmacy — the oldest found mortars and pestles are from approximately 35,000 BC — this foundational tool is documented in the Egyptian Ebers Papyrus from 1550 BC, one of the oldest surviving pieces of medical literature. It remains a common tool across cultures (though it’s mostly in kitchens now) for grinding and mixing roots, herbs, seeds, and other ingredients to make a paste or powder. Throughout history, and across cultures, this tool has been made from materials such as hard wood, stone, granite, and today is commonly made from porcelain with a wooden handle. 35,000 BC

Suppository moulds Dates: 1800s to mid-1900s As drugs inserted rectally have a high absorption rate and also protect the drugs from the gastric system and other digestive processes, many medicines were manufactured as suppositories in pharmacies. The oldest forms of suppositories would often be hand rolled with cocoa butter, but later, pre-prepared moulds were made from metal and later plastic. Cork cutters Dates: 1800s to 1920s Before metal or plastic caps, cork was used to seal most glass bottles. Most pharmacists had cork on hand and would use a pair of cork cutters or cork rollers to snip it and then compress it so that it could be stuck in the bottle. The cork would then try to expand to its original size, making it the perfect seal for most bottles.

15,000 BC

 1000 AD



On top of looking different, bottles that contained poisons had raised dots or vertical ridges along the glass so that when a pharmacist picked it up, they’d be aware that what they were picking up was different.


In the 1900s, the early drug stores in Western Canada would emboss their small dispensing bottles with the name of the pharmacist and the address of the pharmacy where it was made right on the bottle. Storage containers Dates: Beginning of pharmacy to today After ingredients were gathered or prepared, they needed a place to be kept, which made various storage containers another foundational tool of pharmacy. The earliest forms found in pharmacies were jars, painted pots, and vases moulded from pottery. As glass became more available around the 17th century, it replaced pottery as it reduced the amount of cross-contamination between the different substances stored inside. Most drugs today are picked up from pharmacies in plastic bottles. 28


Weights and measures Dates: Beginning of pharmacy to today An important tool, scales were first used to weigh and measure the ingredients used in various medicines, bringing science to the practice and separating pharmacists from other practitioners. The oldest scales featured a rod with two metal pans hanging from either end. Apothecaries had their own system of measurement, which divides a pound into 12 ounces, an ounce into 8 drachms, and a drachm into 3 scruples or 60 grains. Today, scales have been digitalized to improve accuracy.

Spatula Dates: 1500 BC to today Used in much the same way you’d imagine in a kitchen, the spatula helped move medicines and ointments from container to container. The earliest ones were made from flat pieces of wood. Even after pharmacists stopped preparing most drugs in stores, technicians would still use spatulas to count drugs and dispense them into containers.



Pill rollers and tablets Dates: 1500 BC to today After mixing ingredients, the plasticine-like substance would be spread into these pill machines and cut and shaped into individual pills. While the tablets were still moist, they were often coated with different materials, such as a shellac or gelatin, or calc, making the pills easier to swallow. A tablet press is a modern machine that has replaced this tool, and it can produce from 250,000 to over a million tablets an hour.

Show globes were once the most recognizable symbol of pharmacy from 17th century England to the early 20th century in the United States, as they hung outside pharmacies to distinguish them. These pearshaped glass vessels often held colourful liquids, though it’s still in disagreement today what the blue, red, or green colours meant.



Leech jars Dates: 800 BC to today The earliest reference to leech therapy — or bloodletting — dates back to the Sushruta Samhita text from 800 BC, and it became a common treatment for many ailments, though it became less widespread towards the end of the 19th century. Leeches were kept in ornate jars with water, which were highly decorated and usually clearly labelled with the word “leeches.”

Cachet maker Dates: 1800s to today Similar to the capsules we have today, powders that were too bitter to swallow were sealed into a cachet with a cachet maker. The offending powder would be poured on wafers of rice flour or gelatin that was placed in a cup-shaped mould, and then another wafer was placed on top and sealed. Apothecary tiles Dates: 1600s to 1900s After a mixture was prepared with a mortar and pestle, it would be rolled out on an apothecary tile (also known as an ointment tile) before being formed into tablets. These tiles were beautifully decorated and usually made from ceramic.

Inhalers Dates: 1700s to today Originally crafted from pottery, inhalers were once much larger than the pocket-sized ones today. The jars would have a spout that the user would inhale from. And later, when rubber was available, a bulb was added to the system to use the Venturi effect to draw the mist into one’s lungs. Today, the medicine is kept and dispensed from a pressurized container that contains a propellant.



A NOTE TO NEW GRADS In 1905, Dr. Henry Marshall Tory, the first University of Alberta President, had just visited the new province of Alberta and wrote a bold prediction to his wife Annie; “There is wine in the air, a feeling of excitement, of expectancy. Great things are bound to happen!” Since our humble beginnings in 1914, the pharmacy program has evolved into the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, and our community of alumni has grown to more than 5,000 strong. To the 2018 grads joining our ranks, I say this: be confident but also humble. Have conviction in your ideas but be open to new ones. Become who and what you want to be. With a pharmacy degree you are radically free now to project yourselves upon endless possibilities, but at the same time you are also dutifully responsible to your patients’ health. We have not educated you to become wealthy members of society. We have educated you to bring wellness to society. Remember that humility and humanity are keys to a successful career in Pharmacy — the only impact and legacy that really matters is the effect you have on others. In 2018, I the eighth Dean of Pharmacy at the University of Alberta, also mark a bold prediction for all of you: “Wine will be in the air on grad night, and great things are bound to happen!” Congratulations Class of 2018 — go forth and do great things!

Dean Neal M. Davies, BSc(Pharm), Ph.D., R.Ph.



Doctor of Pharmacy For Practicing Pharmacists The part-time program pathway is delivered primarily in an online format, which means that practicing Pharmacists can earn their Doctor of Pharmacy degree while maintaining their employment and current residence.

About the Program:

Part-Time Pathway:

Unlike the PhD that focuses on research, the Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) degree is an undergraduate professional doctorate. The University of Alberta’s PharmD for Practicing Pharmacists program provides advanced education in patient care. Program graduates will be prepared to: • Become strong practitioners and lead the profession by engaging in full scope of practice • Advance their career through innovative practices • Develop the skills and knowledge to provide enhanced patient care • Utilize evidence-based information and clinical judgment to inform decisions • Develop strategies for continued learning throughout their careers • Provide education for a variety of audiences including patients and professionals

Key features of the part-time program pathway include: • Flexibility to complete the entire program within 2 to 5 years • 18 credits of primarily online coursework and up to 36 weeks of supervised experiential learning • Option to receive credit for some courses and experiential placements via an alternate assessment process • The ability to complete the majority of courses from a distance. For the first two years of the program, two parttime pathway courses will be delivered in-person during week-long “Spring Institutes” held on campus each May • Coursework in the areas of evidence-based practice, patient assessment, advanced pharmacotherapy, frameworks for working in teams, and the provision of education to diverse audiences • Supervised experiential learning at a wide variety of acute care, community/ambulatory care, inter-professional team, and specialty practice sites

What Graduates Are Saying:

“The PharmD program has provided me the opportunity to increase my knowledge in various therapeutic areas and has taught me valuable skills to be a stronger practitioner. I feel I am better equipped to practice within Alberta’s expanded scope and to provide care to patients in various healthcare settings.” — Joey Ton University of Alberta, PharmD Class of 2015

“The PharmD helped me to grow in all aspects of my clinical skills: I improved my ability to communicate verbally and in writing, increased the quality of my documentation, and vastly increased my clinical knowledge and evidence based medicine skills. Most of all, however, completing the PharmD strengthened my critical thinking skills, my confidence as a practitioner, and my ability to make tough decisions in clinical grey areas.” — Katie Haubrich University of Alberta, PharmD Class of 2014

For more information about the PharmD for Practicing Pharmacists program, including admissions and other requirements, please visit: www.pharm.ualberta.ca For further assistance, contact our Student Services Office: Phone: 780-492-3362 Email: phstud@ualberta.ca



Open the Door Give the gift of education. Supporting students through a scholarship or bursary has an enormous impact. You can ensure that the door is open to all by recognizing students for accomplishing their goals with a scholarship or helping them reach their potential with a bursary. Your support can change lives, and our profession, for the better by empowering the next generation of passionate advocates for patient health. To learn more about giving scholarships, awards, and bursaries as well as its positive tax implications please visit ualberta.ca/pharmacy/alumni-and-giving/giving or call 780-492-8084.

Please return undeliverable Canadian addresses to: Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences 2-35H MSB, University of Alberta 8613 -114 Street Edmonton AB T6G 2H7 Email: phcomms@ualberta.ca Website: ualberta.ca/pharmacy

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Mortar & Pestle - Summer 2018  

Mortar & Pestle - Summer 2018  

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