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FALL 2017

t a o C e t i h W ! s r e d n o W r e w o p g scribin

e r p t a e r ! y t i l i b With g i s on p s e r t a re g s e m o c





Professional Development Week (PDW) is coming back to the University of Alberta! From January 10-13, 2018, more than 600 students from all Canadian pharmacy schools will be gathering at the Shaw Conference Center in Edmonton for the 30th annual edition of the national pharmacy student conference. Innovation in healthcare, pharmacy practice and research will be highlighted among the many speakers and sessions. Speakers include: Dr. Samantha Nutt (Founder/Director of War Child Canada) Ben Nemtin (Actor/Producer on MTV’s The Buried Life) Michael Landsberg (TSN sportscaster and mental health advocate)

For more information, please contact our Co-Chairs at pdw2018cochairs@capsi.ca or visit www.pdw2018.ca

CAPSI National Official Photos. All rights reserved.


Dean: Dr. Neal M. Davies Assistant Dean, Advancement & Managing Editor: Andrew MacIsaac Editor: Lindsay Shapka Contributors: Dr. Robin Ison Brett Lambert Bernie Poitras Lindsay Shapka Lesley Young Designer: Adam Still / Maverick Design Photography: Dr. Robin Ison Brett Lambert Carey Nash Bernie Poitras Lindsay Shapka Alberta College of Pharmacists Alberta Pharmacy Students’ Association Professional Development Week Website: ualberta.ca/pharmacy Email: phcomms@ualberta.ca Facebook: Pharmacy Alumni Association – University of Alberta Instagram: @ualberta_pharmacy Editor’s note: The Mortar & Pestle is published twice a year. In this fifth issue, we’re delighted to share with you the stories of our faculty members, students and alumni. As always, we welcome your comments about the issue and suggestions for future story ideas. If you would like to receive this magazine electronically, email: phcomms@ualberta.ca


04 Dean’s Distillate 05 News & Notes

SPOTLIGHT 08 Highlighting Pharmacy’s History

Former classmates poured over past yearbooks, compared class photos, and toured the current facilities at the 2017 Alumni Weekend.

09 Reigniting Rivalry

After a bit of a hiatus, the Annual Pharmacy vs. Dentistry Hockey Game is back!


10 Award Winning Professor

Clinical Assistant Professor Tara Leslie was awarded the Larry Broadfield Distinguished Service Award.

PROFILES 11 Q&A with Andrew MacIsaac

Meet the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences new Assistant Dean, Advancement.

12 Preceptor Profile

Find out what makes Daniel Zhou an extraordinary preceptor according to pharmacy student Hannah Kaliel.

13 The Reluctant Dean

In 1980, Dr. Gordon Edward Myers was thrust into the position of Acting Dean — a job he never sought nor wanted.

FEATURES 15 White Coat Wonders!

The future Class of 2021 was reminded that with great prescribing power comes great responsibility at the 2017 White Coat Ceremony.

17 Is Bioidentical Hormone Therapy Safe?

UAlberta study concludes that you have to beware of misleading claims on the Internet about the safety of bioidentical hormone therapies.

19 Q&A with Dr. Nesé Yuksel

University of Alberta pharmacy researcher addresses the big questions around bioidentical hormone therapies.

20 When Chemistry and Pharmacy Collide

Alumnus Robin Ison (PhD ’70) recounts his time with us in the Faculty in the late-1960s and how the University of Alberta shaped his career.

23 Patient-Centred Care Viewed Through a New Lens

The Faculty of Pharmacy and art design join forces for a creative student assignment.

IN MEMORIAM 24 Remembering Dr. Ronald Coutts 25 Honouring the Alumni Who Have Passed

LAST LOOK 26 2017 Fast Facts




We have a lot to celebrate since our last issue of Mortar & Pestle and even more to look forward to in the coming year with 134 new pharmacy students having commenced this fall. We were busier than ever during the summer with more initiatives than you could shake a pestle at. As you walk through the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, you will see many visible upgrades and we should all take pride in these accomplishments. With our white Stetsons proudly displaying U of A Pharmacy Alumni, faculty and friends represented Alberta’s Pharmacy School at “Alberta Night” at the Canadian Pharmacists Conference in Quebec City in June. And, with our enhanced social media presence, rejigged magazine, and new signage in hand, the Faculty was more visible than ever. Our Faculty has had additional items on their summer to-do-list — we have offered and taught intense spring/summer courses to qualified third year student pharmacists, we have been developing our accreditation report for the Canadian Council for Accreditation of Pharmacy Programs (CCAPP), and we are working on our new strategic plan, “A Prescription for the Future.” Our students are planning the Professional Development Week (PDW) conference in January 2018 and, once again, our pharmacy students have performed very well in the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada examination process. One of the many things I have enjoyed during my tenure as Dean is having met many of our Pharmacy alumni. At Homecoming 2017, we hosted reunions for the Class of 1967 and presented an Alumnus of Distinction award to Dr. 4


Donald Perrier who has had a remarkable career as a pharmacist, researcher, educator, and administrator and was our keynote speaker at our White Coat Ceremony. This is an exciting time in the history of the Faculty of Pharmacy and

My response was to create the University of Alberta Faculty of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences class photo legacy. Our walls are now adorned once again with restored photos of each of the pharmacy classes and emeritus professors. These pictures can also be found online at app.oglen.ca/ ualbertapharm and at our interactive digital kiosk outside of the Dean’s office in the Medical Sciences Building. I have also seeded the idea of a Pharmacy Class of 1991 Memorial Scholarship as a means of giving back to my Faculty. Several of my classmates have joined me and have generously contributed towards this legacy as well. I have also been writing a history book, The Indispensable History of the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Alberta that is set to launch in 2018/2019. The articles in this issue celebrate our past, present, and future. Focusing on the past are stories on former Acting Dean Gordon Myers and former graduate student Dr. Robin Ison, and in the present, we welcome Andrew MacIsaac, our new Assistant Dean, Advancement into the Faculty, say goodbye to the dearly departed Professor Emeritus Ron Coutts, highlight Dr. Nesé Yuksel’s research and, as a nod to the future, the student-run PDW conference, igniting in January 2018, is detailed. With our “mortars half-full,” let’s continue to fuel the hopes and aspirations for a brighter future for our Pharmacy profession. Thank you for having me as your Dean.

LET’S CONTINUE TO FUEL OUR HOPES AND ASPIRATIONS FOR A BRIGHTER FUTURE” Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Alberta as we enter into the era of PharmD implementation. Our success and achievements are made possible by the hard and diligent work of an entire profession with a singular focus on excellence. University budgets are tightening again and we were faced with a small cut in our budget but have stitched ourselves back up. As with a lot of things these days, we depend on the generosity of many of you in our extended “Bear Pharmacy Alumni” coterie to raise much of the money needed to do so. I have seen firsthand your passion for the profession and achievements in and through pharmacy and what pharmacy has done for your livelihood. I am asking each of you to consider what more can you do for Pharmacy at your alma mater? I also asked this same question of myself.

Sincerely, NEAL M. DAVIES B.Sc. (Pharm.), Ph.D., RPh. Dean and Professor



Through the sponsorship of Teva Canada, we are fortunate to be able to award Preceptor of the Year to deserving recipients each year. Recipients of the awards are chosen on the basis of communication and collaboration skills, demonstrated professionalism, ethical decision making, leadership, and advocacy for patients and the profession. PHARM 426 COMMUNITY PRECEPTOR OF THE YEAR Amanda Visscher (B.Sc. Pharm ‘10), Shoppers Drug Mart #2443. Nominated by Vivian Eng and Kevin Thai (Class of 2017). PHARM 428 INSTITUTIONAL PRECEPTOR OF THE YEAR Tony Nickonchuk (B.Sc. Pharm ’06), Peace River Community Health Centre. Nominated by Alyssa Aco (Class of 2017). n

PRESCRIPTION COFFEE Kayoun Song (B.Sc. Pharm ’09), along with her sister Angela, recently opened a different kind of dispensary: a pharmacy café. Yup, you read that right. Called Twin Brooks Pharmacy and Awake Coffee House, the business is located in the south side of Edmonton and combines a coffee shop with a traditional pharmacy offering a truly unique patient experience. “We hated how the pharmacy was hidden back in the corner, or behind this counter,” Angela Song explained to CBC Radio’s Edmonton AM show. “We wanted to sit down and talk with patients about their drugs, and make it more of an open concept. And that’s why we decided to start this.” n

ABOVE: Alyssa Aco (student nominator) Tony Nickonchuk (Institutional Preceptor of the Year) and Dr. Ann Thompson

TYING THE KNOT Suzanne Henry (B.Sc. Pharm ’14) and Nicole Chu (B.Sc. Pharm ’09) recently celebrated their wedding in Banff National Park, which was featured in the Edmonton Journal along with their stunning wedding photography in the mountainous terrain. They were described as “two pharmacists [who] had met through work, but remained just friends until they weren’t sharing a workspace anymore.” (Lipscombe, Julia. “Wedding Tales: Pharmacists find love, have simple ceremony with stunning backdrop.” Edmonton Journal, July 29, 2017, p. D4) n




30TH ANNUAL PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT WEEK The Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and the Alberta Pharmacy Students’ Association has the honour of hosting the 30th annual Professional Development Week (PDW) held from January 10 - 13, 2018 at the Shaw Conference Centre. The four day conference brings together pharmacy students from across Canada and strives to bring a unique set of educational opportunities to the next generation of pharmacists. PDW 2018

Guest speaker Michael Landsberg

also has the distinction of being hosted on the 50th anniversary of the Canadian Association of Pharmacy Students and Interns (CAPSI), making the event all that much more momentous. This year’s conference theme is “Fueling Our Future.” “It is an honour to have the opportunity to host PDW on its special 30th anniversary along with CAPSI’s 50th,” says Anuvir Bhullar, PDW 2018 Co-Chair. “These two important anniversary years create the perfect state to inspire pharmacy students to hold themselves to a higher standard as future trusted health care providers.” PDW 2018’s planning committee is pleased to announce that they are partnering with the University of Alberta Alumni Association to open up two major events in the conference to alumni: Canada’s Next Top Pharmacist 6


competition and closing speaker Michael Landsberg. “Considering the special milestones being celebrated at PDW this year, we felt this was a perfect opportunity to recognize the contributions of alumni by inviting them back to participate in some of the conference festivities,” says Diva Niaz, PDW 2018 co-chair. “We hope to encourage discussion and foster relationships between alumni and students which will help our profession move forward.” Canada’s Next Top Pharmacist is a pageant-style competition held among the 10 Canadian pharmacy schools. Winners representing each school will gather at PDW 2018 on January 12 to compete for the top title. “This evening is sure to be filled with lots of fun and laughter for both delegates and alumni as contestants aim to strut their stuff and convince the judges that they are worthy of being named Canada’s Next Top Pharmacist,” says Teresa Huszar, PDW 2018 Communications & Marketing Officer. Prior to the competition, alumni are invited to the Western Carnival themed mixer where you can take part in classic fair games, enjoy popcorn, cotton candy, and other treats. Tickets are $30 and the event starts at 7 pm. On the final day, January 13, renowned mental health advocate and TSN sportscaster Michael Landsberg will close the conference with a talk on how pharmacists play a crucial role in the lives of their patients with mental health conditions. Tickets are $20 and the event starts at 12:30 pm. Organizers are currently seeking French-speaking pharmacy professionals to add to our existing lineup of speakers for the conference. Sponsorship opportunities are also still available at various levels, starting as low as $500. Visit pdw2018.ca for more information or contact conference co-chairs Anuvir Bhullar and Diva Niaz at pdw2018cochairs@capsi.ca if you are interested in contributing. n

STUDENT AWARDED FOR IMPROVING CAMPUS WELLNESS Class of 2019 student Sabrina Lorico was simply fulfilling her role as vice-president, Student Services, organizing events like handing out healthy late night snacks to fellow students and spearheading women’s health initiatives. On World Health Day her hard work and attention to students’ health issues was recognized with a Healthy Campus Unit Award. The award was part of a UAlberta World Health Day celebration, sponsored by the Healthy Campus Unit, LiveWell and Human Resources Services. “I was very surprised,” says Lorico. “I thought I was just planning events that were fun for students. I didn’t expect to win an award for it.” Her interest in planning events and improving student wellness came early in her college career. “In my first year, I was part of the Space Committee and I saw what the vice-president, Student Services did, so that sparked my interest in taking on the VP position in my second year,” she says. Lorico plans to continue organizing events and getting involved in student activities as part of the Professional Development Week (PDW) 2018 Conference in Edmonton. The annual conference brings together students from across Canada for four days providing a unique set of educational opportunities for tomorrow’s pharmacists. She has already applied her events knowledge and experience to the PDW Organizing Committee. “It’s been a balancing act between a full course load and organizing a conference for 600 people,” she says. Lorico says she’s learned a lot from her roles in organizing events that will help her in her pharmacy career. “There are a few transferable skills like having strong communication skills, being patient and listening to everyone’s opinion.” n

MORE AWARD-WINNING STUDENTS! Graduate students Zaid Alma’ayah and Seyed Amirhossein Tabatabaei Dakhili won the Canadian Society for Pharmaceutical Sciences Poster Award for their posters “Daunorubicin Induces Cardiotoxicity through a Soluble Epoxide Hydralase-mediated Epoxyeicosatrienoic Acid Degradation Dependent Mechanism” and “Novel & Selective FOXM1 Transcriptional Program Suppressors,” respectively. Class of 2017 student Jenna Buxton received the Alberta College of Pharmacists Gold Medal for most outstanding student in the graduating class. Class of 2017 student Helen Marin received the Value Drug Mart Leadership Award as well as the Alberta Pharmacy Students’ Association Past President Award. Graduate students Sams Mohammad Anowar Sadat and Cassandra Woit were awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Graduate Scholarships Class of 2018 student Aliaksandr Savin received the Alberta College of Pharmacists Leadership Development Award. n

FACULTY NOTES Anjela dela Cruz officially joined the faculty as the Receptionist/Administrative Assistant in June 2017. She comes to us courtesy of Internal Staffing Solutions where she was first placed with us in November 2016. Dr. Chowdhury Farhana Faruquee was appointed Clinical Assistant Professor in September 2017. She recently completed her PhD with the Faculty and her research interests are in pharmacist prescribing and interprofessional collaboration. Dr. Tony Kiang was appointed Assistant Professor in July 2017. Tony’s research areas are pharmacokinetics, toxicology, and pharmacotherapy. He comes to us from the University of British Columbia, where he most recently completed a post-doctoral fellowship in clinical pharmacology. Eleanor Leoni and Lisa Tate both were appointed Lab Instructors in September 2017. Andrew MacIsaac joined the Faculty in August 2017 as the new Assistant Dean, Advancement, replacing Lori Shockey. Andrew comes to us from the University of Alberta’s Alberta School of Business, where he was Director of Development.

ABOVE: APSA Past President recipient Helen Marin with ACP President Taciana Pereira

Dr. Sharon Marsh, Assistant Professor, left the University of Alberta after seven years with us to take on a new role at the University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences as of July 2017. Sharon has more than a decade of experience in the field of cancer pharmacogenomics and eHealth with over 100 peer-reviewed publications and has co-authored 10 book chapters on the topic of pharmacogenomics.

Dr. Patrick Mayo was appointed Clinical Associate Professor in September 2017. He is a pharmacy clinical practice leader with Alberta Health Services working in palliative care. He has previously served with the Faculty as an Adjunct Academic Colleague. Brad Necyk joined the Faculty in September 2017 as a Sessional Instructor and is a visual artist and lecturer in Art and Design at the University of Alberta and MacEwan University. His community-based artistic practice and research explores the lived experience of illness, trauma, and recovery, specifically in mental health populations. Dr. Cheryl Sadowski, Professor, received the 2017 Association of Faculties of Pharmacy of Canada/Janssen Award for Innovation in Education. The award recognizes the development of significant innovations in teaching, learning and/or assessment within a pharmacy school. Diseray Schamehorn was appointed to a new title as Pharmacy Indigenous Liaison in July 2017. Diseray is a Treaty Card holder from the Little Red River Cree Nation which is located on the John D’or Prairie Research (north east of High Level). She has several years of experience working with Indigenous students and elders in the Shq’apthut Gathering Place at Vancouver Island University. Dr. John Ussher, Assistant Professor, received the Women and Children’s Health Research Institute’s Innovation Grant which funds his research project: “Optimizing Ketone Body Metabolism to Attenuate Cardiomyopathy in Barth Syndrome Children.” n


Calling all Pharmacy alumni! We are missing Pharmacy yearbooks for the years 1977, 1980, 1981, 1985, 1986, and 1990. If you have any of these years, please contact us at phcomms@ualberta.ca

First-year Pharmacy student and Panda Swim Team athlete Lauren Adam made the faculty proud at Edmonton Keyano Swim Club's Octoberfest Meet. n

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 THE MORTAR & PESTLE • FALL 2017




Highlighting pharmacy’s history A look at the 2017 Alumni Weekend By BRETT LAMBERT

ON SEPTEMBER 23, 2017, the red carpet was rolled out at the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences as alumni took in a double-feature matinee for the Alumni Weekend event, “Highlighting Pharmacy’s History: An Afternoon at the Movies.” The event reunited former classmates as they poured over past yearbooks, compared class photos adorning the walls as well as the newly unveiled alumni photo database, toured the current facilities, and took in a double-feature matinee screening. Two pharmacy documentary films were unearthed from the University of Alberta Archives highlighting the history of the profession as well as the Faculty’s indispensable role in shaping it. A Conversation with former dean, Dr. Mervyn J. Huston featured the first dean of the Faculty who sat down for an interview with professors Louis Pagliaro and Art Anderson in the early 1980s. In the film he recounts his days growing up in British Columbia, enrolling as a student at the University of Alberta, the history and evolution of the practice of pharmacy through the years, and his long service to the Faculty as Dean. That ’70s Pharmacy, originally produced in 1974 for the Access network as Modern Pharmacy, showed what pharmacies were like in the 1970s as seen through the eyes of the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. While the hairstyles and fashion choices of the day may look questionable now, the foundational philosophy of the profession endures today. n 8


Users of the newly installed digital kiosk can search for grad photos using an interactive touchscreen! ➜

Take a stroll down digital memory lane with a century’s worth of grad photos By BRETT LAMBERT Pharmacy has gone through significant changes and innovations over the last century, and the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences has played an important role in those changes, be it locally, nationally, or internationally. The individuals who have led the changes are the thousands of graduates — past, present, and future — who have passed through the halls of the U of A. Thanks to cutting edge technology provided by Oglen Solutions, a century of Pharmacy grad photos that currently line the walls of the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences within the Medical Sciences Building have been digitized and made fully searchable in our new grad photo database. “We think our alumni and friends of the Faculty will find this database an invaluable resource,” says Dr. Neal Davies, dean of the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. “Whether they are looking up a photo of their classmates, a former professor, or simply want to take in all the names and faces of the pharmacists who have come before and after them, we are proud to make this available.” The database allows you to search by year, first name/initials, and last name spanning the first class of 1914-1915 up to the present day. The database should be of interest to alumni of any era, their family and friends, historians, and anyone else with an interest in the Faculty. This online database also complements the newly installed digital kiosk outside of the Dean’s Office on the 2nd floor of the Medical Sciences Building, where you can search these grad photos using an interactive touchscreen. You can access the database online at app.oglen.ca/ualbertapharm n


Reigniting rivalry

The Annual Pharmacy vs. Dentistry Hockey Game is Back! By LINDSAY SHAPK A

SHARING A HISTORIC building in the heart of the University of Alberta Campus led to many rivalries between the Faculties of Pharmacy and Dentistry, but one of the largest was a hard-hitting hockey game. An annual event, it brought the two faculties together to battle it out on the ice, but for some reason, about five or six years ago, the games suddenly stopped happening. After being inspired by tales of the game told to him by his father, Preston Eshenko, pharmacy student and VP External on the APSA council, decided it was time to bring them back. “My dad was in the faculty in the late 1980s and I would always love to listen to the stories that he and his friends would tell about some of the heated exchanges they had with the dentists. I don’t know if

anyone remembers the win/loss record or any of the specific games but I can guarantee that most alumni from both faculties can recall the annual tradition.” Why were the games discontinued in the first place? That, it seems, is a bit of an urban legend amongst the current students. According to Preston, there are a variety of tales traveling around campus. “There are a bunch of different stories that I have heard about why they cancelled it and I don’t know how to discern what is true and what is made up. I think there may have been some sort of controversy with the dental students bringing in outside “ringers” to play in the game which drove up the level of competition and bad blood during the game. I think there was hitting back in the old days and somebody got hit from

behind and broke their jaw or something like that. Another reason I have heard is that a big line brawl broke out during one of the games. In reality, all of these stories may be fabrication. Perhaps the reason the game ended was because both faculties moved into different buildings and this ended the so-called ‘rivalry’.” Whatever, the reason, there’s no denying that the historic event is back — thanks to the hard work of Preston, who comes from a background playing hockey, the planning committee made up of Jesse Wowk, Chandan Sangha, Mike Roy, and Matt Ohrt, and an outstanding team of volunteers headed by Jes Buhler. More than 380 people attended this year’s event held at the Clarke Drake Arena, that also doubled as part of the Movember Campaign raising money for prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and men’s mental health and suicide prevention. Instead of playoff beards, players and fans alike were sporting Movember moustaches. Despite a disappointing 5-2 loss for Team Pharmacy, Preston has high hopes for the future of this annual tradition which is sure to continue if he has anything to say about it. “We cannot possibly exit on a losing note. We are looking forward to redeeming ourselves next year and hoisting the trophy (once we find it). There is an old trophy kicking around somewhere. We will definitely search high and low to try to polish it off for next years contest. In all seriousness, the response I got from players and fans was overwhelmingly positive and I think it would be a ridiculous to not try and top ourselves again next year. I am looking forward to being involved again in some capacity and making sure that this tradition stays for the foreseeable future. I think this event was an overwhelming success for its first year and I am really looking forward to seeing how it gets shaped in the future!” n

INTERESTED IN GETTING INVOLVED? There is a need for volunteers, students to help plan and organize the event, and alumni to participate in the form of sponsorship and promotion. The faculty would also love to hold an alumni game in the near future as well. Contact phalumni@ualberta.ca if you are interested in helping out in any way!




Award-winning professor

Tara Leslie recognized for her service to oncology pharmacy By BERNIE POITRAS CLINICAL ASSISTANT PROFESSOR Tara Leslie was awarded the Larry Broadfield Distinguished Service Award for her long standing contributions to oncology pharmacy and the Canadian Association of Pharmacy in Oncology (CAPhO). “I was surprised when they announced my name and I was completely flattered and humbled that I won,” says Leslie, who has led the education committee for CAPhO since 2011. She says the award is special because it’s named after a colleague, Larry Broadfield, who recently passed away from cancer. The award was given at the association’s annual conference in Banff in April. “It was emotional to talk about because 10


Larry just passed away last fall,” she says. “This conference was the first one that he was not at.” She also won best research poster at the conference. Leslie was nominated by a colleague at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre in Calgary where she works as a clinical pharmacist two days a week in the lymphoma clinic and cancer centre pharmacy. She helps cancer patients manage their side effects and teaches them about chemotherapy regimens to treat lymphoma. “I’m usually the initial prescriber for patients to get their supportive care medications such as anti-nauseants,” says Leslie, who has worked at the centre since 2014.

She says her clinic work is very rewarding and is just happy to help people through a difficult time in their lives. “I feel like I really make a difference for people,” she says. “A lot of people with lymphoma end up doing well. You help them through a difficult time but after they’re done their treatment, they often go on to live wonderful lives.” The rest of the work week, Leslie provides preceptor and experiential education support, oncology education to students working with the Experiential Education and PharmD programs. “I guest teach in the oncology courses in the undergraduate and PharmD program,” says Leslie, who has been working in the field of oncology pharmacy for 11 years. “I’m the course co-ordinator for Pharm 515 (specialty elective experiential education course) and I also help facilitate the PharmD seminars in Calgary.” “Tara has been an excellent addition to the faculty,” says Dr. Ann Thompson, director of experiential education with the Faculty. “In addition to her role in experiential education, she brings clinical expertise in oncology by teaching our students in both the PharmD for Practicing Pharmacists and B.Sc. Pharm programs. Her commitment to excellence in clinical practice as both a faculty member and preceptor facilitates and complements her work with preceptors as she can authentically relate to the opportunities and challenges of preceptorship. The faculty is thrilled to have Tara educating the pharmacists of today and tomorrow within our programs.” Leslie also serves as the faculty liaison for the Primary Care Networks in the province and helps facilitate preceptor workshops and other preceptor development initiatives. She says her role grew over time after initially filling in for a colleague on a maternity leave. “I was offered to stay on part time and took on some other responsibilities and they put together a role for me and so it just all came together,” she says. Leslie says her knowledge in hematology and oncology is valued by her faculty colleagues. “It really just fell into place,” she says of her faculty role. “I feel very lucky to be teaching here.” Leslie believes she has a future as an educator and wants to learn more about adult education. “I love it so much that last fall, I started working on my master’s in health sciences education at UAlberta,” she says. “I want to learn more about adult education.” A University of Saskatchewan alumnus, Leslie has also worked at the Calgary Foothills Hospital, the Peter Lougheed Centre, and the Alberta Children’s Hospital. n


Q&A WITH ANDREW MACISAAC Meet the faculty’s new Assistant Dean, Advancement By LINDSAY SHAPK A ANDREW MACISAAC JOINED the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences in August 2017 and will be focusing on communications and external relations, alumni relations, and development. With over a decade of fundraising, strategic planning, and external relations experience, he has led meaningful external engagement in his previous roles at the Alberta School of Business at the University of Alberta as well as the University of British Columbia.

Shapka (LS): What experience are you bringing to the role of Assistant Dean, Advancement? MacIsaac (AM): Over the past decade much of my work has been centred around promoting universities and helping them reach a higher potential. What I’m doing here is working to get people excited about the faculty, to engage our constituents and to serve as a champion for the profession. With my business background, I’ll be bringing an external perspective to the role — which I believe can be a benefit. As an outsider, I can get a broad perception of [the faculty] by talking to our alumni, our stakeholders, and our students and figure out how I can best help push the envelope for everyone. LS: What brought you to the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences? AM: I am really excited to work with the faculty because I think that in many ways, pharmacy practice and pharmaceutical sciences have an amazing potential to improve the lives of people. If we can leverage the right connections and build capacity in the right areas we can have a tremendous impact for the public good. I am thrilled to be able to play my small part in this as I begin my work with the outstanding community we have here at the faculty, in Alberta, and around the globe.

LS: What is one thing about the Faculty you have learned that surprises, intrigues, or excites you the most? AM: I think the breadth of the practice and the scope of the research we do here. I was aware generally about these things, but didn’t really understand the extent of what we do until I started meeting with people in the faculty and community. Another thing that drives me is the excitement behind the profession. Every alumnus I’ve met with so far has been very welcoming, and I think there is an overall sense of the value that pharmacists bring to positive health care outcomes and the role that pharmacy can play in improving the health of society as a whole. LS: What do you have in store for the year ahead? AM: First I will be doing outreach and hoping to meet as many people as I can in order to get their opinions and perspectives. I want to get a sense of the opportunities and challenges that this field is facing. The second piece is working with the Dean and the faculty to create a broader outreach program and internal development program. The University as a whole is going into an outreach campaign under our president, and I want to ensure that Pharmacy is represented as a key player in that campaign. And so, in talking to the constituents and stakeholders, I want to get a sense of the value we provide and how we can integrate that into the broader mission of the University. n Do you have an idea or question for Andrew? Contact him at andrew.macisaac@ualberta.ca




of medication — all things that helped me, as a pharmacy student, better see where the patient is coming from.” While Daniel does an admirable job of exposing students to his type of holistic practice, he definitely isn’t done learning himself. “I enjoy learning from students because they are up-to-date on the latest information. There’s a lot of new information in the pharmacy world and it gives me a chance to learn too. I also like to see how students develop a routine or a particular process, and if it works really well, I may adopt part of it to my own.” When asked to pinpoint what makes Daniel such an outstanding preceptor, Hannah didn’t hesitate. “I came into this experience really wanting to grow and improve, and I felt like Daniel created such a safe area to do that.


PRECEPTOR PROFILE Meet Preceptor Daniel Zhou and his pharmacy student Hannah Kaliel By LINDSAY SHAPK A ONE OF THE reasons Daniel Zhou loves being a preceptor is because he attributes the direction of his entire career path to an especially impactful preceptor that he worked with on his second-year rotation in Red Deer. “If I didn’t have that second-year rotation, I wouldn’t know hospital pharmacy practice even really existed. It opened my eyes to a whole new world of pharmacy and I think that’s when my career really started. The Red Deer hospital is a really collaborative practice where the doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, and occupational therapists all work together — similarly to how it is structured here [at the AH Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute]. We were able to look after and assess patients using information from labs, diagnostic images, and more that gave a more holistic picture. I hope, that as a preceptor, I can open someone else’s eyes to the experience and pass on the knowledge that I have continued to learn throughout my practice.” According to Hannah Kaliel (Class of 2019) who just finished her second-year rotation with Daniel, he is more than achieving this goal. “The way Daniel practices is very patient-centered — you don’t make decisions for patients, you make decisions with patients — and that was something that was emphasized from the first day. Daniel treated me the same way that he treated his patients — he didn’t make decisions for




me about what we were going to learn or what areas I wanted to improve on. We had a conversation about my goals and expectations for the placement, as well as his, from the beginning, And, he was very open to providing me with the type of learning experience I desired and to adapting his teaching style to my preferences. He made me feel like a part of the team from the beginning, and made sure I shadowed all members of the team including the dietitian, social workers, and occupational therapists. I also got to observe nursing procedures for the administration

The feedback that he provided was always so constructive, and I was never afraid to make mistakes, which is sometimes a challenge for me. I learned so much in this environment because there was no fear of failure. Daniel allowed me — and challenged me — to integrate myself into the team and develop a process and practice style that I will use to provide care to patients for the rest of my career.” n

BACK: Dakota Bergan, Hannah Kaliel, Tyler Layne-Linton, Theresa Ramsfield, Daniel Zhou, Tony Dong, Teresa O’Gorman FRONT: Minette Anchoris, Cherryl-Ann Serquina-Palacpac, Lirio Pujeda, Diana Holley, Jan Xu



Dr. Gordon Edward Myers had a short tenure with a big impact

IT WAS A job he never sought nor wanted, but with the sudden death of Dean Garry Van Petten on February 11, 1980, Dr. Gordon Edward Myers was thrust into the position of Acting Dean. “He was elected by the staff to fulfill the remainder of Van Petten’s term and to keep the peace,” says Terry Kassian (B.Sc. Pharm ’57), former administrative officer with the Faculty. “There were divisions within the Faculty over who should assume the role and the Vice-President (Academic) appointed him.” “He was a little guy, short in stature, but

he was pretty tenacious,” says Dr. Leonard Wiebe, professor emeritus with the Faculty. “When he put his mind to it, he would follow through. That was the kind of guy he was.” Myers was born in Calgary, Alberta in 1919 and lived in Vulcan, Alberta until he enrolled at the University of Alberta. He made the honour roll twice (in 1940 and 1943) and received a licentiate diploma in Pharmacy in 1942 and a BSc. in Pharmacy in 1946. He served as the press representative for the Pharmacy Club and was classmates with other notable figures who

would be important to the Faculty in subsequent years: Dr. Bernard Reidel (B.Sc. Pharm ’42), who would go on to be an academic and senior administrator before moving to the University of British Columbia to become Dean of the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences in 1967, as well as future professors Dr. Leslie Chatten (Dip Pharm ’42, B.Sc. Pharm ’47) and Dr. Arthur Anderson (B.Sc. Pharm ’42). He then went on to pursue a M.Sc. with the University of Alberta’s Department of Microbiology and joined the staff of the Department of Bacteriology in the Faculty of Arts and Science in 1947. He took a leave of absence to finish his PhD from McGill University in 1951. Myers was instrumental in the establishment of teaching and research in microbiology and forged the split of the Department of Microbiology from Bacteriology and its relocation in the Faculty of Science. He taught compulsory courses in Microbiology to Pharmacy students during this time. After serving professorships in the Department of Bacteriology from 1957 to 1964, he returned to his first love of Pharmacy in 1964. He would go on to become Associate Dean in 1971 and had a prior stint as Acting Dean when Dr. Mervyn Huston took a sabbatical in the 1970s. During the Second World War, Myers served in the Royal Canadian Navy as a medic involved in sailor health. His military service was very important to him and would regale his students with stories from that time, which, according to his students, made him a memorable professor. “He would precede all of his lectures with stories of his time in the Navy, which THE MORTAR & PESTLE • FALL 2017




were very colourful and entertaining,” recalls Dr. Alec Shysh (B.Sc. Pharm ’58), who is now professor emeritus with the Faculty. “He would tell stories of young people going out to sea for the first time, sleeping in hammocks. He was very popular and well-liked.” “I remember one story was about venereal disease transmission within sailors,” says Wiebe. “Back in those days they didn’t have very much in the way of treatment for syphilis. He had real life experience in that aspect of clinical microbiology.” “He was an excellent lecturer,” says Kassian. “He would walk around and help students with their experiments in the laboratory, which wasn’t necessarily something all the professors would do; it was something the teaching assistants would do more often, so he was hands-on in his approach.” Although his time as Dean was brief, he presided over a productive time for the Faculty. Among his first actions was to appoint Dr. Franco Pasutto as an assistant professor of Pharmaceutical Microbiology and 14


Medicinal Chemistry so he could concentrate on the tasks of the dean. He was fondly remembered for his support of the Division of Bionucleonics and Radiopharmacy, including the secondment of a number of professors — including Wiebe, Dr. Antoine Noujaim, and Dr. Steve McQuarrie — to the Medical Accelerator Research Institute in Alberta (MARIA) in 1981 to assist in the planning. “This project lead to the creation of a world-class facility for radiopharmaceutical research and the development and clinical supply of radiopharmaceuticals,” says McQuarrie, now a professor emeritus, who also noted it contributed to the subsequent creation of the Edmonton Radiopharmaceutical Centre and the Medical Isotope Cyclotron Facility on South Campus. “As dean, Myers listened to everyone,” says Kassian. “He was a fine, fine gentleman who executed the role of dean with full capability.” Myers completed his term as Acting Dean on April 30, 1981 and retired from the Faculty a few months later. He was bestowed the title of professor emeritus upon his retirement. He was awarded an Honorary Life Membership to the Alberta College of Pharmacists in 1984 and was given an honorary Doctor of Science from the University of Alberta in 1990 in

recognition of his long and distinguished service. He passed away in 1998. Posthumously he was given the Alberta Pharmacy Centennial Award of Distinction in 2011 and in 2017, the Myers Room, located in the Office of the Dean, was created as a reminder of his contributions to the Faculty. n This is the third in a series of articles profiling the deans of the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.


t a o C e t Whi ! s r e d n Wo

r e w o p g n ibi r c s e r p at y! t i l i With gre b i s n spo e r t a e r comes g DRAWING PARALLELS TO the superheroes that don the pages public. Pharmacists wear costumes, the of comic books and movie theatres, Dr. white coat. We don’t have bat caves, but Neal Davies (B.Sc. Pharm ’91, PhD ’96), we do have pharmacies, laboratories, Dean of the Faculty of Pharmacy and apothecaries, drug stores, hospitals, and Pharmaceutical Sciences reminded the dispensaries.” future Class of 2021 about the awesome “We also have extraordinary abilities,” powers at their disposal as they took part Davies continued. “We have almost encyin the White Coat Ceremony on September clopedic knowledge of drugs and drug 21, 2017. interactions. We have unwavering com“Superheroes have extraordinary talents, passion, and let’s not forget our greatest a strong moral code, protect the public, a ability of all: the ability distinctive costume, and a base of to decipher terrible operations,” explained Davies. handwriting "AND LET’S NOT “What about pharmacists? [from a mediPharmacists adhere to a cal doctor].” FORGET OUR strict moral code, take With GREATEST ABILITY OF a pledge of professionAssociate ALL: THE ABILITY TO alism, and protect the Dean

Dion Brocks (B.Sc. Pharm ’82, PharmD ’86 and PhD ’93) presiding as Master of Ceremonies, 134 students from the Faculty took part in the White Coat Ceremony at the Shaw Conference Centre along with friends and family in attendance to wish them well. This marked the first time the ceremony took place in September and at the Shaw, a change from previous years of the event being held in January at the Myer Horowitz Theatre. Donning the white coat is a symbol of the pharmacy student joining the profession, which is celebrated in pharmacy schools across Canada and is also a tradition commonly observed in other health sciences disciplines. Keynote speaker, Dr. Don Perrier (B.Sc. Pharm ’67, M.Sc. ’70), implored the Class




This grounding of the profession in ethics and integrity resonated with the participants from the Class of 2021. “What stood out for me were the themes of moral principles being integral to the pharmacy profession,” says Kurt Weckesser, one of the students who took part in the ceremony. “The profession is guided by this moral code and that’s the sort of thing I wanted to hear as a future health care professional.” “Taking in the whole ceremony, I felt an adrenaline rush,” says Nada Abu Omer, another member of the Class of 2021. “It felt like we are now on the path to becoming who you want to be!” n


of 2021 to keep an open mind on the many different paths and opportunities available in pharmacy, even if they may not be certain which direction to take. “Most of what happened in my career, I never could have predicted. It certainly wasn’t planned,” says Perrier. “Reflecting back on my life in pharmacy, it was a relatively brief experience or a simple question that had a strong impact on the path I took. In my final year, I was looking forward to entering a hospital pharmacy residency program when the life changing question came. Dr. Ted Triggs said six words: ‘have you ever considered graduate school?’ Always keep an open mind when asked what may be simple questions. I encourage you to seriously consider them before dismissing it as you never know what may come your way and where it will take you.” “If I had known Dr. Perrier was going to be here, I would have brought my Pharmacokinetics book [authored by Perrier] for him to sign,” said Brocks shortly after the keynote address. “That would have made that book even more meaningful than it has been for my career.”

In addition to the draping of the white coat, students took the Pledge of Professionalism and the Code of Ethics administered by Sean Hanson, president-elect of the Alberta Pharmacy Students’ Association and Greg Eberhart (B.Sc. Pharm ’79), registrar of the Alberta College of Pharmacists, respectively. “Throughout your journey to becoming a pharmacist, it’s important to remember who we all do this for: our patients,” M A“ PH A R says Hanson before WEAR CISTS administering the MES, U COST pledge. “Whether HITE THE W you’re working in COAT.” community pharmacy, hospital pharmacy, a Primary Care Network, whether you’re involved in your own pharmacy chain, or help guide the policies that govern our profession, remember that the most important thing we do every day is to improve the care of our patients.”

SPOTLIGHT ON DR. DONALD PERRIER A Celebrated Faculty Alumnus

A GRADUATE OF the University of Alberta Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences (B.Pharm 1967. and M.Sc. degree 1970), Dr. Donald Perrier received his Ph.D. in pharmaceutics from the State University of New York in Buffalo. He was the co-author of one of


the seminal and most influential books on Pharmacokinetics with Milo Gibaldi, and served as an assistant professor at the University of Kentucky School of Pharmacy, then the University of Arizona School of Pharmacy. He is a celebrated and internationally recognized expert in the area of pharmacokinetics in which he has more than 100 publications and two editions of a textbook. In 1981 Donald Perrier was appointed Dean of Pharmacy at


University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand and set about improving the situation for the Department of Pharmacy. He facilitated a change of location to the Adams Building, the transfer of the department from the Faculty of Science to Medicine, and a restructured bachelor’s degree recognising the increasing importance of clinical pharmacy elements rather than, predominantly, the pharmaceutical sciences. He subsequently served as the Dean of the Faculty of Pharmacy University of Toronto from

1986-1998 for two terms and is Dean Emeritus. Dean Donald Perrier Award of Professionalism is awarded annually, and was created to commemorate his contribution to the practice of pharmacy, especially his effort in advocating the student role in the profession. He went on to be Chair of the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science at the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy for six years to round out his career in 2007 when he returned to Canada for his retirement. n



SAFE? Beware of misleading claims on the Internet says UAlberta study By LESLIE YOUNG

WOMEN WHO TAKE or who are thinking of taking bioidentical hormone therapy to help with menopause side effects may encounter health information online that is misleading, according to a recent Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences study. “Our study is not about whether women should or should not take bioidentical hormone therapy (BHT),” said Dr. Nesé Yuksel, a professor in the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, who led the study. “However, our findings indicate that they may encounter claims about the safety of BHT on websites that may not be completely correct.” ➤




Bioidentical hormones are produced to have the same molecular structure as human hormones. Many are extracted from plant sources, but not all, and bioidentical hormones may be found in conventional (or commercial) hormone therapies, as well as prepared in tailor-made formulations called compounded bioidentical hormones. The term BHT is often used to refer to compounded formulations.

CLAIMS MADE ABOUT BHT ON THE INTERNET ARE NOT BEING POLICED.” Many women turned to BHT after a 2002 Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) study showed that conventional hormone therapy increased the risk of breast cancer, heart disease and stroke. The WHI study caused a lot of fear in women, said Yuksel, despite the fact it took place in older women (in their 60s) who were not symptomatic. “The results should not be generalized to younger women in their 40s and 50s who would like to use hormones for menopausal symptoms.” “Our goal is to help women make informed health decisions about their hormone therapy treatment of choice,” said Yuksel. “And if they are choosing to take BHT because they believe it is safer, they deserve to know that there is not enough evidence to say they are safer compared to conventional hormone therapy.”



NO EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT SAFETY CLAIMS The study, published in Menopause: The Journal of The North American Menopause Society, examined 100 websites — 59 per cent of which were Canadian — promoting or offering BHT products or services and found that 62 per cent claimed that BHT had less risk compared with conventional hormone therapy. “There is no good research that indicates BHT causes less health risks than commercial hormone therapy,” said Yuksel. And yet the team’s research showed that 40 per cent of websites studied included claims that BHT has less breast cancer risk compared to conventional hormone therapy, and more than a quarter of websites claimed that BHT was protective against breast cancer. Yuksel noted that not all of the websites examined made these claims, however she does not know why some websites are making false online claims about its safety. Most websites also mentioned the benefits of BHT, but did not compare it

to conventional hormone therapy. Other product descriptors used to promote BHT included individualization (77 per cent), natural (70 per cent), hormone imbalance (56 per cent) and antiaging (50 per cent). While both general and Internet advertising of drugs — including compounded products — is legally regulated, claims made about BHT on the Internet are not being policed, said Yuksel. Many major related health-care organizations including the North American Menopause Society and the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada advised that there is no evidence supporting the efficacy or safety of BHT over conventional hormone therapy. “We believe women should have choices in choosing hormone therapy, however these should be informed choices,” said Yuksel. “The bottom line message is there may not be a balance of information about the risks and benefits of BHT online. Be cautious of safety claims that are made on the Internet.” n

with Q&A Nesé Yuksel UAlberta pharmacy researcher addresses the big questions around BHT By LESLEY YOUNG WE ASKED DR. YUKSEL to address some of the big unknowns arising out of using bioidentical hormone therapy products.

Mortar & Pestle: What is bioidentical hormone therapy(BHT)? Dr. Yuksel: The term “bioidentical hormones” rose as a marketing term and there is no real scientific definition for BHT. It refers to the use of any hormone that is “identical in molecular structure to human hormones.” The hormones are often extracted from plant sources and synthesized into molecules that are the same structure as hormones produced in the body. Bioidentical hormones include estrogen such as estradiol, estrone, estriol, and progesterone. M&P: Where do I find BHT? Dr. Yuksel: Bioidentical hormones are actually in many commercial hormone therapy products that have been approved by Health Canada, as well as formulations that are compounded by pharmacies that specialize in compounding (formulations not available in conventional hormone therapy). Bioidentical hormones found in commercial HT products include 17 β-estradiol (pills, patches, gels, vaginal products), estrone (vagina), and micronized progesterone. M&P: What are compounded BHT? Dr. Yuksel: Compounded BHT are hormone-therapy formulations prepared by a pharmacy specializing in compounding. Any of the bioidentical hormones can be compounded to provide a variety of doses

and administration routes such as oral, transdermal creams, and vaginal products. Bioidentical hormones used in compounded BHT include estrogen such as estradiol, estrone, estriol, and progesterone. In some settings testosterone and DHEA may also be added to the regimen. There is a very important role for compounding as it can provide delivery formulations or doses that may not be commercially available. However, the issue is the way compounded BHT is sometimes promoted online as being better tolerated or safer than commercial hormone therapy. Unfortunately, it is difficult to support these claims without further evidence. M&P: Is BHT natural? Dr. Yuksel: There are no bioidentical hormones that can be considered completely natural. One common misnomer is that BHT is “natural” as this is often the way it is promoted. Even though many of the initial compounds are often extracted from plantbased sources such as soy and Mexican yam, they are then chemically converted or synthesized to the same molecular structure as human hormones. Furthermore, the use of the word ‘natural’ often gives the connotation that a product is in some way better for the human body, however being natural does not always mean it is safe. M&P: Is BHT safer than conventional hormone therapy? Dr. Yuksel: There is preliminary evidence that shows some benefits may exist with certain bioidentical hormones found in conventional HT products. For example,

micronized progesterone may have better sleep, mood, and possibly breast cancer outcomes as compared to synthetic progestins. Additionally, transdermal formulations (transferred through the skin) containing estradiol, bypass the first pass effect in the liver and may have less blood clot risk at low to standard doses compared to oral estrogens. But the lack of evidence from direct head-to-head studies makes the answer to this important question difficult. At this time, the risks and benefits should apply equally among the hormone therapies. M&P: Is BHT safer when it comes to breast cancer? Dr. Yuksel: Breast cancer is one of the greatest safety concerns expressed by women with the use of hormone therapy. This fear can drive women to use BHT if they feel it is safer in regards to breast cancer risk. Claims of less breast cancer risk with compounded BHT are especially misleading. Estriol is often used in compounded BHT formulations as it is promoted as being safer for breast cancer, however there are no published peer reviewed data to support these claims. At this time, we just don’t know. M&P: Will BHT help me look and feel younger? Dr. Yuksel: Compounded BHT is sometimes promoted as an anti-aging agent with the belief that it will restore hormone balance to a younger woman and prevent long term health risks. However, there is no evidence that it will prevent the normal aging process. n




WHEN CHEMISTRY & PHARMACY COLLIDE You don’t have to be a pharmacist to be a graduate student at the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences! Ison worked on Stereochemical Studies of Antihistaminic Agents while at the U of A.


Editor’s Note: Alumnus Robin Ison (PhD ’70) was inspired by the Fall 2016 issue of our magazine and so wrote this piece to recount his time with us in the Faculty in the late-1960s and how the University of Alberta shaped his career.


year ago, I was reminded of the three memorable years when I attended the University of Alberta as a graduate student from 1967 to 1970. I am now 76 years old and hope that you will find my story to be of interest, as I am ever grateful for my experience studying for a PhD degree in medicinal chemistry at the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. However, I am a chemist and not a pharmacist by training. This brings me to a key message: graduates from other scientific disciplines like me should be encouraged to consider pursuing a research degree in pharmaceutical sciences! The latter is multidisciplinary in nature 20


and could potentially “fit” many differing interests for young scientists and conceivably open up wider employment opportunities. In addition, scientists lacking previous backgrounds in pharmacy can actually enrich the diversity of the graduate research group within the Faculty.

HOW IT ALL STARTED In 1964, I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree with honours in chemistry from the Royal Institute of Chemistry in London. I then worked for three years in industry as a synthesis chemist for a

leading agrochemical company close to my hometown of Cambridge. It was here that I developed a research interest in the structure-activity relationships of biologically active molecules and also befriended a fellow chemist, Dr. Jonathan Dimmock, who encouraged me to read a number of relevant publications in medicinal chemistry by Dr. Alan F. Casy — a professor at the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. I was impressed by his scientific papers in my field of interest and began to consider returning to university to take a PhD in this area of research and potentially

Ison received the Fellowship of the Royal Society of Chemistry (FRSC) from the Royal Society of Chemistry.

pursue an academic career. I then learned that Dr. Dimmock was also about to depart to Western Canada to take up an assistant professorship in pharmaceutical chemistry at the University of Saskatchewan. I took a deep breath and decided to completely change my career direction by leaving industry and carry out a graduate degree in Canada at the University of Alberta. In the fall of 1967, I arrived in Edmonton newly married to my wife, Sue, to start my studies in pharmaceutical chemistry under the supervision of Dr. Casy.

UPROOTING AND SETTLING IN The journey from England was quite an adventure for us and we could hardly believe the change that was unfolding in our lives. However, everyone I encountered at the University of Alberta, including Dean Mervyn Huston himself, was most welcoming and I soon integrated into the graduate degree group with my fellow students hailing from Canada, India, South Korea, Taiwan, Egypt, and Japan. People such as Wayne Hindmarsh (later Dean of Pharmacy at the Universities of Toronto and Manitoba), Norm Pound (PhD ’70), Dale Stogryn (B.Sc. Pharm 1967), Jerry Sluka, the late Keith McErlane (B.Sc. Pharm 1967 & PhD ’71) and Joe Malicky (B.Sc. ’66 & PhD ’72) together with my great friend and post-doctoral laboratory partner, Mahmoud Hassan, were especially helpful and kind to us, as was a new staff member from Britain, Dr. Ted Triggs. However, one significant shock for me was that it was mandatory at the University of Alberta to take a number of graduate courses including written examinations as part of one’s PhD studies. This was quite


➼ Graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the Royal Institute of Chemistry in London

different to the system in Britain where PhD programs were exam free and based solely on research results and your final thesis. However, although the system in Canada was more demanding, in hindsight it was probably better than the British example. I eventually took six graduate courses and audited two others in nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR), mass spectrometry, synthetic and physical chemistry, pharmacology, and medicine which undoubtedly made me a more informed research scientist than would otherwise have been the case. Better still was the fact that I “front loaded” several of these courses in my first semester and did sufficiently well to be awarded a Medical Research Council of Canada Scholarship to fund the remainder of my PhD studies. This gave me extra time to focus on my courses and laboratory research.

MY WORK AT THE UNIVERSITY OF ALBERTA I then buckled down to work in the laboratory on my topic of “Stereochemical Studies of Antihistaminic Agents” under the supervision of Dr. Casy. This entailed synthesising a series of chemical compounds which were semi-rigid and designed to bind with the histamine H1 receptor in smooth muscle in classic “lock-and-key” drug-receptor interactions. They were then tested pharmacologically


➼ Arrived in Edmonton ➼ Awarded a Medical Research Council of Canada Scholarship ➼ Co-found the Golden Bears soccer team with Keith Brind and Stu Robbins


➼ Science Research Fellowship at the Department of Pharmacology, University of Cambridge

on the guinea pig ileum as competitive antagonists for their differing biological responses depending on their stereochemical fit with the receptor. The ultimate goal was to delineate and map the three-dimensional characteristics of the H1 receptor based on the binding characteristics of the complementary semi-rigid synthetic molecules in the in-vitro tests. My main tool for determining the stereochemistry of the various antihistaminic compounds was using NMR Spectroscopy. Dr. Casy was an expert in this field and I learned much about this subject working with him, with the spectra being recorded either in the Department of Chemistry or later in the Faculty of Pharmacy when a 60MHz instrument of our own was acquired. In fact, I went on to specialise in this subject myself which enables you to


➼ Awarded the national Corfield Memorial Prize in pharmaceutical chemistry ➼ Joined the embryonic Dow Chemical Company European Agricultural Research & Development group


➼ Retired, but still consulting in the bioscientific area for several companies




“see” molecular structures sometimes in three dimensions.

EMBRACING THE LOCAL CUSTOMS It wasn’t work all the time though – I learned what a wiener roast was, how to play the strange sport of curling, ice skate, ski, play handball instead of squash, spend the evenings playing cards with our Canadian friends, savour cinnamon rolls and root beer and enjoy the wonders of the Canadian Rockies in Banff and Jasper. I also became an avid supporter of the Golden Bears hockey team, who were national champions during my time in Edmonton, and had an outstanding goaltender, Dale Halterman (B.Sc. Pharm 1970). I also found time to co-found the Golden Bears soccer team with Keith Brind and Stu Robbins, a student and assistant professor in the Faculty of Physical Education. The Golden Bears soccer team soon became successful playing against rival universities and I became a letter man and captained the team for the last two years of my stay in Edmonton. In 2001, I returned to the University of Alberta to attend a memorable 30 years reunion of the Golden Bears alumni by which time soccer had become a major sport on campus with the Bears winning the national university title on several occasions. I worked hard on my PhD taking advantage of the three years of laboratory experience I had gained from my stint in industry which enabled me to complete my degree in under three years by 1970. Then it was decision time for me on what to do next.

LIFE AFTER THE U OF A I opted to remain in academia for a while and secured one of the “reverse brain drain” awards being offered at that time by the British government to entice science graduates back to Great Britain. I missed the 1970 graduate convocation at the University of Alberta presided over by Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and we 22


flew back to England from the airport where we had an emotional send off with about 50 friends waving goodbye from the rooftop as we walked to the airplane. I then took up a Science Research Fellowship to pursue NMR studies in Molecular Pharmacology at the The author is the person behind the discovery of the commercial fungicide Quinoxyfen!

Department of Pharmacology, University of Cambridge, and became a graduate member of Jesus College, Cambridge. Looking back, I sometimes think of the movie, Sliding Doors, and wonder how life would have turned out if we had opted to stay in Canada rather than return to England? After two years at Cambridge, I secured a position as Roche Fellow in Chemical Pharmacology at the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Edinburgh, where I carried out research on ganglionic agonists and antagonists assisted by a small team of post-doctoral fellows and technicians. I was awarded the national

Ison and his wife enjoyed taking part in the “local customs” like outdoor wiener roasts

Corfield Memorial Prize in pharmaceutical chemistry in 1971 for the ganglionic project but began to realize that I was unsuited to a life in academia. I then approached a number of pharmaceutical and agrochemical companies and joined the embryonic Dow Chemical Company European Agricultural Research & Development group being formed at King’s Lynn. This proved to be a wise decision in hindsight, although I always felt a pang of regret at leaving the pharmaceutical arena. However, my education in pharmaceutical sciences stood me in good stead and I worked at the Dow Chemical Company for 32 years and had a highly satisfying career in industry travelling all over the world and being based at differing times in Great Britain, California, Indiana and Switzerland. I also rose steadily up the corporate ladder and ultimately was appointed as the Global Director of Fungicide Research, managing a large staff of scientists based in Great Britain, Germany, and the U.S. I retired 12 years ago, but still consult in the bioscientific area for several companies. I often reflect with gratitude on my education at the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences all those years ago, which provided me with a springboard to go out in the world and enjoy a long career in science. Thank you, University of Alberta! n Do you have a story to share? Contact us at phcomms@ualberta.ca and your story may get featured in a future issue!


Patient-centred care viewed through a


Pharmacy and art design join forces for creative student assignment By BERNIE POITRAS


can often lead to a new way for students to learn about a familiar topic. When Cheryl Cox was searching a means for her first-year pharmacy students to experience a different way of reflecting on their volunteer experiences, she turned to art design instructor Brad Necyk. The two developed a photography project that helped students look at patient-centred care through a different lens — a camera lens. The assignment culminated in an exhibit, called Photovoice Poster, held in March in the Edmonton Clinic Health Academy. “I wanted a strategy in the course, in addition to our written critical reflection assignments and course evaluations to capture and demonstrate the meaning of the students’ experiences and their understanding of person-centred care and citizenship and ultimately how this contributes to their professional development as pharmacists,” says Cox, experiential

education coordinator for the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. “I consulted Brad [Necyk] about arts-based possibilities and Photovoice was the platform we came up with.” “Cheryl and I thought the photo project would be a great way for pharmacy students to use another part of their brain to reflect visually about their volunteer experiences in patient care facilities,” says Necyk, a sessional instructor in the Art & Design Program in the Faculty of Arts as well as the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. “Pharm 300 is a service learning course where students are involved in volunteer programs in a variety of settings including long term care, rehabilitation, family support agencies and programs for disabled adults,” says Cox. Cox says students use the skills learned in communication courses, and are actively involved with clients and residents exploring the meaning and value of person-centred care based on their experiences. “They also draw connections to the importance of patient relationships in their future practice,” she says. “Students also consider their professional identity through a model of citizenship and are encouraged to use a critical lens to recognize and question inequities of care in our healthcare system.” Student teammates Chloé HamelMartineau, Danial Khan, Emelie El-Hage and Jesalyn Clarkson chose a photo of two chairs in front of a window. The group chose a photo that explores the relationship between the home aspect of continuing care and the hospital aspect of it. Their submission read: There are a series of objects in this photo, that, when placed together, paint a conflicting image about the nature of patient care that the institution

wishes to put into practice. Although the classic furniture evokes a very familiar style, one typical of a grandparent’s house, the less prevalent institutional furnishings remind the viewer that this is, indeed, a long-term care facility. The two patterned chairs, the side table, the plant and the gold-rimmed mirror are relics of a different time and contrast the institutionalized furnishings found in the image: the tiled floor, the wheelchair, the plastered wall and large door with the push-open bar. This image begs the question: can a place be a home, if it is only somewhat like it? “We took about 30 photos in the facility we were volunteering in,” says HamelMartineau of her group’s experience. “We chose a particular photo because it depicted the conflicting realities of living in a care facility.” “The really interesting part of the project was that we could only take photos of the facility, inanimate objects and relay these complex ideas and that challenge made it a very interesting project,” says Khan. Necyk prepared the students before the assignment with some technical training on how to compose a photo and how to take a photo. He also met one-on-one with each group and discussed their experiences in clinical settings. Cox says her students valued the chance to use a different medium for learning and there was a lot of experience sharing during the photo exhibition. “Students were interested in the interpretations of the chosen photos of other groups and were excited and proud to share their work with each other,” says Cox. Cox says she plans to use the photos as appreciation gifts for our community partners, artwork for the faculty’s professional practice lab and for presentations at future pharmacy conferences. n





Dr. Ronald Coutts One of the faculty’s most beloved professors FRIENDS, FAMILY AND

colleagues gathered together in the Papaschase Room of the Faculty Club at the University of Alberta on September 1, 2017 to remember the life of perhaps one of the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences’ most beloved professors: Dr. Ronald T. Coutts, who passed away on August 19, 2017 at the University of Alberta Hospital in Edmonton at the age of 86. At his request, Coutts did not want a formal funeral service but would have loved the opportunity to have a celebratory event, as affirmed by his family. “It’s so uplifting to be here today and to hear people share stories and memories of having worked with my father or have been a student of him,” said Martin Coutts, the eldest son of Ronald Coutts. “When someone has a struggle with dementia, it’s a very long and tough road for the family. An event like this reminds us of the good times, the better times.”

the move to Canada when he took on a professorship position at the University of Saskatchewan’s College of Pharmacy from 1963 to 1966 before becoming a professor at the University of Alberta. He went on to earn the title of Distinguished University Professor in 1983 and subsequently Distinguished University Professor Emeritus when he officially retired in 1996. “He stayed at the University of Saskatchewan for only a few years and came to Edmonton because he could see the research opportunities were superior here,” said Dr. John Steele, Dean Emeritus of the University of Manitoba’s Faculty of Pharmacy who first met Dr. Coutts as classmates in Glasgow University. His service and research accomplishments to the Faculty were numerous. His major research areas was in the analysis of drugs, including drugs of abuse, drug metabolites, endogenous amines and

ONE OF THE FACULTY OF PHARMACY AND PHARMACEUTICAL SCIENCES’ MOST BELOVED PROFESSORS.” Coutts was born in Aberdeen, Scotland in 1931. He completed his B.Sc. Pharmacy in 1955 from Glasgow University and earned a Ph.D. from the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow in 1959. He spent time in Chelsea College London as a lecturer in Medicinal Chemistry and at Sunderland Technical College from 1959 to 1963. He then made



amino acids, environmental chemicals in biological fluids and in environmental samples, in herbal products and in foodstuffs, among others. His drug analysis research led him to play a prominent role in 1978 when Edmonton hosted the Commonwealth Games with the drug testing program of the athletes where he

utilized his expertise in mass spectrometry for isolation, separation and identification of drugs and metabolites. “The university was truly his passion both in terms of teaching, research, and community service,” said Martin Coutts. “He felt a great deal of joy working with other professors and teaching students throughout the years.” Through the years, Coutts was the supervisor or co-supervisor of 66 graduate students, 28 post-doctoral fellows, and the author or co-author of 348 refereed manuscripts and comprehensive reviews. Other professional accomplishments include assistant scientific editor (and then scientific editor) of the Canadian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences from 1965 to 1973, a Doctor of Science from the University of Strathclyde in 1976, president of the Association of Academic Staff University of Alberta (AASUA) from 1978 to 1979. Honorary Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Alberta in 1979, Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 1981, and member of the University of Alberta’s Board of Governors from 1982 to 1985. To many Pharmacy students from the 1960s to the 1990s, Coutts was perhaps best known as the passionate and engaging lecturer with the Scottish accent. “We were affected by Dr. Ron Coutts’ lectures,” said Dr. Neal Davies, Dean of the Faculty whose first interactions with Dr. Coutts go back to his days as an undergraduate student in the mid-1980s. “He was passionate and witty. He was almost Shakespearean in his delivery. He just came to life. When we learned about ultraviolet visible light, I can remember distinctly him

dancing this Scottish jig across the lecture theatre talking about light waves and he’d say ‘you’ve got to follow the waves!’ I think he did the same for every graduate student he taught.” Other former students fondly remembered his compassion and understanding towards students. “When I was a graduate student, I had a very important exam coming up and my child was sick with chickenpox and the daycare couldn’t accept him,” said Dr. Nuzhat Tam-Zaman (Ph.D. ’96). “I was stuck at home and not able to make the exam. I told Dr. Coutts about my situation and he allowed me to reschedule the exam to another day. I sat in his office for three hours and took the exam under his supervision. I’ll never forget his kindness.” Fellow academics also fondly remembered Coutts’ fierce drive for competition in all aspects of his life. “You always felt Ron’s presence,” said Dr. Fakhreddin Jamali, professor in the Faculty. “He was energetic and made passionate arguments about all matters. He trained a lot of important scientists throughout the years.” “Ron was probably one of the most competitive people that I’ve ever met,” said Dr. Ed Knaus, professor emeritus, who joined the Faculty in 1972. “Whether it was in research, playing cards, or anything else. He was very persuasive and had a good sense of humour. I learned

“For Auld Lang Syne Dr. Coutts, we’ll take a cup of kindness yet for days of Auld Lang Syne.”

IN MEMORIAM We honour those alumni who have passed. a lot from him. He certainly made me a better individual. It was a joy to work and interact with him. He was just a good allaround individual.” Outside of academia, Coutts was known as a keen golfer and his family fondly remembers his love of puzzles, music, poetry and foreign languages. In particular, he was an avid reader and reciter of the work of legendary Scottish poet Robert Burns. Dr. John Steele perhaps best encapsulated the life Coutts led by reciting one of Burns’ poems that was spoken at a funeral during his time titled On My Own Friend And My Father’s Friend, Wm. Muir in Tarbolton Mill. n

Catherine N. Balogh Class of 2011 – May 3, 2017 Robert “Rick” P. Campbell Class of 1964 – April 22, 2017 Sandra A. Galenza (née Dunnigan) Class of 1961 – May 4, 2017 Donna A. Pipa (née Fundytus) Class of 1979 – April 27, 2017 James W. Gibb Class of 1958 & M.Sc. ’61 – July 7, 2017 R. Garth Helland Class of 1956 – June 13, 2017 Marie C. Marzocco (née Kastor) Class of 1954 – May 4, 2017

An honest man here lies at rest As e’er God with his image blest; The friend of man, the friend of truth, The friend of age, and guide of youth: Few hearts like his, with virtue warm’d, Few heads with knowledge so informed: If there’s another world, he lives in bliss; If there is none, he made the best of this.

Laurel N. Middendorf Class of 1993 – September 12, 2017 J. David Mitchell Class of 1957 – April 20, 2017 Adil J. Nazarali PhD ’84 – April 27, 2017 Olena Stadnyk Class of 1954 – April 9, 2017 Oliver S. Wasnea Class of 1962 – March 22, 2017








➜ 12 NEW GRANTS IN 2017




➜ 4,356 alumni living in Alberta

28 PhD 22 MSc

➜2  ,933 of our alumni are clinical pharmacists in Alberta registered through the Alberta College of Pharmacists




519 BSc Pharm + 31 PharmD



Preceptors are the “heart” of the pharmacy profession and make substantial contributions to the advancement of our students and the profession.






➜ The Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences is the only pharmacy school in Alberta and is ranked in the Top 4 in Canada. ➜ According to QS World University Rankings by Subject, the University of Alberta was ranked 44th in the world for pharmacy and pharmacology.

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 additional assistance, please contact our Student Services Office: Telephone: 780-492-3362 Email: phstud@ualberta.ca



Continue the Journey Have a life-changing impact on generations to come. Giving through your will or estate planning to the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences has an enormous impact. You can create a legacy that will improve the lives of many to come. To learn more about planned giving as well as its positive tax implications visit ualberta.ca/pharmacy/alumni-and-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 - Fall 2017  

Mortar & Pestle - Fall 2017