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University of Rhode Island College of Pharmacy

Alumni Newsletter Winter 2008

Message from the Dean Greetings Alumni and Friends of the College of Pharmacy. Come spend some time in Kingston and you can’t help but feel very connected to our storied past, the invigorating present and unbridled hope for the future. Connecting is both a privilege and responsibility we all have as part of the growing family that is URI. Whether you are an undergraduate alum, a masters or doctoral degree holder or a supporting participant in one of our many events or programs, URI is a lifelong intellectual home that you can always count on and return to. You are part of a proud family that is making a difference in countless areas of our society. Remember the days where you first took control as an individual or sharpened an earlier degree and started the path toward your life goals and contributions. Looking back you will realize you learned to solve problems, be a citizen, a good friend, a dedicated professional, an innovator, to really care, plan and communicate with others right here in Kingston. Since our last newsletter I’ve met with alumni, corporations, and friends of URI too numerous to list. From meetings with class members that graduated from the Rhode Island College of Pharmacy on Benefit Street in Providence, to those with families of three generations of Rhode Island trained pharmacists and our most recent graduate success stories, every interaction reinforced how important this place and this family is for so many. This land, sea and urban grant institution was chartered to raise up Rhode Island, our society and the world we live in. Your intellectual home and growing family has done just that, is doing that every day and will continue to make a difference in the world well into the future. We are proud of so many family members, programs, and future plans here at the

College. In this issue you will read about our new pharmacognosy team that is researching microbes from the world’s oceans, bioactive compounds in higher plants, and bioinformatics that may lead to new drug and health improvement discoveries. Also, in this newsletter you can read about pioneering research work gaining worldwide attention that exposes new links between lead exposure and Alzheimer’s disease. Our faculty are leaders in biological and chemical research, they continue to win federal NIH and NSF funding recognition of our work. We have stories to write and information to relay on the excellent teaching and service work your College of Pharmacy continues to provide. Our students have won numerous awards, fellowships, and other recognition. I personally invite you to join me and your classmates at the College of Pharmacy 50th Anniversary Gala on March 8th in Newport. There are more details on page ten of the newsletter, we anticipate a sell out, so don’t wait to sign up. Finally you’ll be happy to hear that our “Making a Difference Campaign” efforts are gaining traction and larger numbers are participating in supporting the college and URI in every area. (http:// index.html) Generous gifts to endowments, our COP Future Fund and the Fund for URI are coming in. Faculty and students are personally giving, more and more alumni are stepping forward and our corporate partners are making commitments. We’ll provide more detail on our progress in the next issue. You’ll want to make sure that you are on the published lists. Add to all that a winning Rhody Rams basketball season and the mathematics that send us to the big dance and you see your home is a thriving lively place. We’re looking forward to your return to be a part of the celebration.

Ronald P Jordan, R.Ph. Interim Dean

Send Gifts to: URI Foundation COP Future Fund c/o Rich Popovic, 133 Fogarty Hall 41 Lower College Road, Kingston, RI 02881

STUDENT SIDE University of Rhode Island American Society of Health-System Pharmacists Edward Doyle URI-ASHP President

The University of Rhode Island’s American Society of HealthSystem Pharmacists (ASHP) chapter enjoyed an excellent Midyear Clinical Meeting in the shimmering lights of Las Vegas. The conference afforded the opportunity for a student in his 5th year to network with other pharmacy students and practitioners that share common goals from across the country. Inside the Venetian on Sunday, December 2nd, we took part in the opening session and workshops regarding how to pursue a postgraduate residency program. Amanda Silva and I attended an interactive leadership conference for officers where we discussed all aspects of running a collegiate ASHP chapter. The finalists from the 2007 Clinical Skills Competition were announced and an historic event took place for our organization, when student pharmacists Sara Brescia and Kenny Correia captured a top ten placement. Our students also enjoyed the Exhibitor’s Hall and the URI Alumni and Friends Dinner. The Residency Showcase began on Monday, December 3rd and all of our students attended. Nearly every residency program from across the country displayed

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a visual presentation with information about the program and students were able to speak directly with the current residents. Five students in attendance at the conference also presented during the student poster sessions as part of an infectious disease topics class from Dr. Bratberg last year. Sara Brescia and I presented a poster on Pandemic Influenza and Hospital Preparedness from an Administrative Perspective. Cassandra Johnson, Michele Konecny, and Marissa Tysiak presented a poster on Triage, Admission, and Infection Control for Hospitals During Pandemic Influenza. Practitioners sharing their clinical pearls, career roundtable discussions, networking sessions with residents and enjoying time in the city were all part of the complete educational and professional experiences. I personally look forward to attending the 43rd Midyear Clinical Meeting this year in Orlando, Florida.

College of Pharmacy University of Rhode Island Kingston, RI 02881 401-874-2761 Mr. Ronald Jordan Interim Dean Dr. Joan Lausier Associate Dean, Academic and Student affairs 401-874-5888 Dr. E. Paul Larrat Associate Dean, Research and Graduate Education Dr. Stephen Kogut Chair, Pharmacy Practice Dr. Clinton Chichester Chair, Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences

Spotlight on URI College Of Pharmacy Alumni Class of 1950 Robert E. Sauté is President, Sauté Consultants, Inc., Bel Air, California. After, Bob received his B.S. in Pharmacy (1950) from Rhode Island College of Pharmacy he enrolled in graduate school at Purdue University. Under the guidance of Dr. Sperandio and Dr. DeKay, Dr. Sauté received both his M.S.(1952) and Ph.D. (1953) in Industrial Pharmacy from Purdue University. While in graduate school he was an instructor in Industrial Pharmacy and the Cosmetic Laboratory. He was a Research Foundation Fellow. After Dr. Sauté graduated from Purdue University, he served in the U.S. Army in Japan. While there, he was in charge of a Medical Laboratory and a Hospital Pharmacy. Dr. Sauté began his industrial career as Technical Assistant to the President of Lafayette Pharmacal, assuming responsibility for Research & Development, Quality Control and Manufacturing. In 1956, Dr. Sauté joined H. K. Walpole/Denver Chemical Co. as Senior Research and Development Chemist. He did research and product development on cholesterol lowering drugs and organic synthesis. In 1957, Dr. Saute set up and ran a new plant for Strong Cobb Arner, Inc. in New Jersey. In 1960, Dr. Sauté joined Avon Products, Inc. to start their new research department. As Director of Product and Process Development, he was responsible for the development of all Avon products from concept to market. He directed major projects in Research & Development and other divisions of Avon. He served as a liaison for the Avon Legal Division concerning patent applications, Federal Drug Administration regulations, and as an expert witness. Dr. Sauté became Administrative Director of the Research and Development Division with overall responsibility for personnel and programs. In 1968,

Dr. Sauté moved to Massachusetts to become Director of Research and Development for the Gillette Company, Toiletries Division. He was also responsible for research and development for the Colton Division. His responsibilities included package design, development and engineering. In 1972, Dr. Sauté moved to California as a Group Vice President of Dart Industries, Inc., where he was responsible for research and development, quality control and worldwide manufacturing for the Vanda Beauty Counselor division. He was a member of the corporate acquisition team. In 1975, Dr. Sauté and his wife, Arda, started Sauté Consultants, Inc., a company specializing in research and development in the dermatological, cosmetic, OTC drugs and related areas. Dr. Sauté has published articles in leading cosmetics texts and is author of many patents. He has been a guest lecturer at University of California, Los Angeles and California State University, Northridge. Dr Sauté is a fellow of the Society of Cosmetic Chemists and has served on the boards of both the local and national chapters. He is a founding member of Beauty Industry West. He has served on the board of directors for three corporations. He is a member of Sigma Xi, Kappa Psi Pharmaceutical Fraternity, The Society for Investigative Dermatology, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Class of 1954 Herbert S. Carlin, D. SC., is the President of Pharmaceutical Management Insight. He recently received the Cheers Award from the Institute for Safe Medication Practices. As one of the major hospital pharmacists who supported the American Pharmacists Association’s drug product selection policy, Carlin championed the use of multi-source pharmaceuticals based on the formulary system. Herb lives in Califon, NJ with wife Mary-Jo. He is a past recipient of the AK Harvey Whitney Award from ASHP, the Richard Bliss Award, and the Remington Medal.


Winter 2008

Class of 1960 Paul G. Pierpaoli is a health care consultant and former senior vice president of McKesson Medication Management. He previously served as director of pharmacy, Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center in Chicago. He was assistant professor of health systems management at Rush University and professor of pharmacology, Rush University College of Medicine. He earned a master’s degree and completed a residency in hospital pharmacy at the University of Michigan. He is the recipient of the Harvey A.K. Whitney Lecture Award, hospital pharmacy’s highest honor, and was president of the American Society of Health System Pharmacists. Paul is a resident of Hilton Head Island, S.C.

Class of 1967 David Apgar, PharmD, clinical assistant professor at The University of Arizona College of Pharmacy, received the Arizona Alumni Association Extraordinary Faculty Award at the college's Homecoming Alumni and Friends Dinner held on November 2, 2007. The college nominated Dr. Apgar for the award for bringing honor and distinction to the University. "Dr. Apgar continuously demonstrates a desire to go beyond the normal boundaries of teaching to ensure his students hold a high level of working knowledge of patient care and safety," says J. Lyle Bootman, PhD, Dean of the College. "His passion for the profession and his extensive background as a clinician offer our students tremendous insight into the role of the practitioner pharmacist." Dr. Apgar received his BS in Pharmacy from URI and his Pharm.D. degree from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, in 1968. On top of his teaching duties in the pharmacy college, he assists other professors with their

courses and has conducted and coordinated a pharmacology course for the College of Nursing. Dave served for more than 22 years with the U.S. Public Health Service, working mostly in the Indian Health Service as a clinical pharmacist and pharmacist practitioner. In 1972 he assisted in the earliest developments of the UA College of Pharmacy's clinical pharmacy program. Arthur G. Lipman of the University of Utah is professor of pharmacotherapy in the College of Pharmacy, adjunct professor of anesthesiology in the School of Medicine, and director of clinical pharmacology at the Pain Management Center. He is the editor of The Journal of Pain & Palliative Care Pharmacotherapy and an editor for The Pain Palliative & Supportive Care Collaborative Review Group of the International Cochrane Collaboration on evidence-based medicine. He earned his Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University of Michigan. He lives in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Class of 1976

Brian Sawchuk is a Dental Surgeon in coastal Connecticut. He has a dental practice in two locations Madison and Clinton, CT. He is a graduate of the Georgetown School of Dentistry.

Dana H. Anderson is the Director of Pharmacy for the Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington, VA. Ben Pennington is a Clinical Pharmacist at the VA in Providence and living in Warwick. John Capuano, Bill Rosa ‘75, and Paul Capuano ‘82, have opened a new Independent Community Pharmacy. JBII is there second store and is located on Smith Street in Providence in LaSalle Square. JBI is located in Johnston, RI. Congratulations! Henry Pedro was honored by the University of Rhode Island and the URI Athletics Department on January 23, 2008 at a special basketball half-time program for distinguished alumni. Henry was selected as one of the 2007-2008 honorees and was introduced as the "Alumnus of the Game" at half-time during the George Washington game. Henry is being recognized for his support of URI Athletics through Rhode Island Ram Athletic Association (RIRAA), his achievements as a long-time faculty member and supporter of the College of Pharmacy, and his ongoing advocacy of the University and its alumni.

Class of 1972

Class of 1977

Gordon Willcox is the Vice President of Account Management Roche Laboratories, Inc. in Nutley, NJ.

Gary Considine is the Director of Pharmacy at the Landmark Medical Center in Woonsocket, RI.

Class of 1975

Class of 1978

Tim Baker is still the Owner Pharmacist of Baker’s Pharmacy in Jamestown, RI. He is also still golf as often as possible. Bart Grimes is the Director of Pharmacy for Newport Hospital in Newport, RI.

Nola Lausier Tiernan was recently awarded the District of Columbia Hospital Association's annual Patient Safety Award.

Class of 1971

Class of 1980 John Serio is a partner in Law offices of Seyfarth Shaw in Boston. He is a graduate of the Western New England School of Law Class of 1986. His father Cosimo, Class of ‘48 RICOPURI still runs the family pharmacy, Serio’s Pharmacy in Northampton, MA. Nancy Motola, MOS ‘80 and Ph.D ‘83, she is the Senior Vice President of Regulatory and Quality for Alexion


Winter 2008

Pharmaceuticals in Cheshire, CT. Robert Dufresne, BCPS, BCPP, is a Professor of Pharmacy at the URI College of Pharmacy and a Psychiatric Pharmacotherapy Specialist at the Providence VA Medical Center. He earned a M.S., Pharmacology and Toxicology from URI in 1986, a Ph.D., Pharmaceutical Sciences, from URI in 1989, and a Ph.D., in Psychology from URI in 1990. He is teaching psychiatric and neurologic pharmacotherapy to students of pharmacy, nursing, and medicine. He also is an active member of the College of Psychiatric and Neurologic Pharmacists (CPNP) and is currently serving as Editor of the Journal of Psychiatric and Neurologic Pharmacy. In addition to these activities, he provides clinical service at the Providence VAMC to psychiatric outpatients while often providing consults for inpatients as well

Class of 1993

Susan Delmonico, JD, is the Director of Regulatory Compliance for CVS/Caremark in Woonsocket, RI.

Paul Hastings, is the President and CEO of OncoMed Pharmaceuticals, in Redwood City, CA. Paul is residing in San Francisco, CA. Paul previously served as President of the therapeutics division at Genzyme. In addition, Paul has been a generous supporter of the Norman A. Campbell Scholarship Fund and the College of Pharmacy. Mel Badway, and wife Martha ‘85 are doing well owning and running Reynolds Pharmacy in Phillipsburg, NJ. Rita Marcoux, MBA, is a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Rhode Island College of Pharmacy. Rita is the Director of the COP Healthcare Utilization Management Program which oversees the Department of Corrections pharmacy program. John Grossomanides was elected National Secretary for the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association. Also, he is currently serving as the National President of the Kappa Psi Pharmaceutical Foundation.

Class of 1984

Class of 1987

Class of 1998

Class of 1983

Elena Bablenis Haveles, Pharm.D '86, “I live in Virginia Beach, Virginia these days. My husband is an Army Colonel and is stationed with Joint Forces Command in Norfolk. I am on faculty at Old Dominion University in Norfolk. I teach pharmacology to nursing and dental hygiene students in the College of Health Sciences. I also freelance as a medical writer.“ Anne (Feeney) VanHaaren, is the Director of the Pharmacy Care Management Program for Coastal Medical in Providence, RI. Mark T. Holdsworth is an Associate Professor of Clinical Pharmacy at the University of New Mexico College of Pharmacy. Mark received from his Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo School of Pharmacy.

Margot (Kreplick) Bloom is a sales representative for the Long Term Care Division of Novartis Pharmaceutical covering Massachusetts and New Hampshire. She lives in Lynnfield, MA with her husband, George, and three children Samantha, Jessica, and Jennifer.

Class of 1991 Brian Furbush is the Director of Pharmacy for a Rehabilitation Hospital in New Jersey. He is living in Manasquan and riding his motorcycle every chance he gets.

Class of 1989 Sherri Murray is a Clinical Pharmacists for Advanced Pharmacy Concepts, in North Kingstown, RI.

Matthew Carangelo is the Associate Director of Neruoscience Medical Information for Bristol Myers Squibb in Plainsboro, NJ. Matt previously worked in Medical Information for Biogen Idec in San Diego, CA.

Class of 1994 Kristina Ward is currently a Clinical Assistant Professor and Director of Drug Information Services at the University of Rhode Island College of Pharmacy. The Drug Information Service provides healthcare practitioners with timely, evidence-based drug information to promote the safe use of medications and to serve as a training site for Doctor of Pharmacy students and post-doctoral residents. She coordinates the P1 Interactive Learning class that focuses on developing basic drug information and literature retrieval skills, offers an Introduction to Drug Information elective, and lectures on Women’s Health in the core endocrine/metabolic curriculum. Kristina can also be seen on Channel 6 in Providence for their daily “Ask the Pharmacist” segment.

Tracy Benson is a Senior Clinical Scientist of Infectious Diseases and Dermatology Clinical Research for Schering-Plough in Kenilworth, NJ. Mike Sherry is the Manager for Clinical Operations at CVS Corporate in Woonsocket, RI. He and wife, Audry are living in Douglas, MA with son Baron.

Class of 1999 Kara Lee Shirley is the Lead Pharmacotherapy Specialist and Director of Residency Programs for WPIC in Pittsburgh, PA. She is also, Assistant Professor of Pharmacy and Therapeutics for the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy. She has passed both the BCPS and BCPP exams. Derek Dore, and wife Kristen ’99, “We had our third child on July 23rd. Ty Everett Dore joins his big


Winter 2008

brother Brady and big sister Lucy. We still live in Amesbury, MA and I still work at Martin's Point Healthcare in Portsmouth, NH.” Josh Spooner and wife, Linda had their first child, a little girl, Paige, was born on November 8, 2007. Mom and baby are both well. Paige was a healthy 7 pounds and 9 ounces.

Class of 2000 Tracey H. Taveira is a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Rhode Island Department of Pharmacy Practice. She is also the preceptor of the Adult Ambulatory Care Clerkship based at the VA Medical Center in Providence, Rhode Island. At the VA Medical Center students on advance clinical clerkships have the opportunity to provide direct pharmaceutical care in a pharmacist directed cardiovascular risk reduction clinic.

Class of 2001 Matthew R. Dionne has passed his BCPS exam, he is currently serving as a LCDR, U.S. Public Health Service Investigator for the Food and Drug Administration in Denver, CO. Jason Cross is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Pharmacy at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy Worcester Campus. Dea Belazi is running his own consulting company focusing on Managed Care, Benefit Design, and Formulary Management.

Class of 2003 Rhonda J. Pacheco is a Marketing Strategy Associate in the Cardiovascular Disease Division for Eli Lilly. She is living in Virginia Beach, VA. Enjoying the sunshine playing some occasional golf and starring on the local women’s flag football team. Kelley Doherty is working for Eli Lilly as an Intervention Consultant and she works with non-branded

educational resources, workshops, and trainings for payer customers (Managed Care, Public Health, etc.).

Class of 2005 Steven M. Hernandez, “I have updates since my graduation from URI in 2005. I have had many great opportunities presented to me, and URI has been a wonderful place to have solid roots established. While I was a full time student at URI, I was also a full time employee at Massachusetts General Hospital Pharmacy, which offered me great learning experiences while I was in school. I was hired at MGH as a specialty pharmacist in Pediatrics and Oncology. But recently, after 13 years at MGH, I have left my full time position at MGH and am now the Assistant Director of Pharmacy at St Vincent Hospital in Worcester, Massachusetts. It is a great adventure and a wonderful opportunity. My experiences in education at URI and training at MGH have allowed me to get to this great point in my life. In addition to this new position, I still work at MGH part time in pediatrics/oncology and also work as an Assistant Adjunct Clinical Professor at Northeastern University. As can clearly be determined, I am no stranger to hard work, or just work in general. The lessons I learned juggling a full course load at URI and full time work at MGH has certainly prepared me to use my degree in multiple aspects of pharmacy, such as management, education and clinical experiences.” Josh Gagne has been accepted in to the Harvard School of Public Health and is pursuing a Ph.D. in Pharmacoeconomics. In June, Josh completed an Outcomes Research Fellowship at Thomas Jefferson University. The Fellowship was done in conjunction with Ortho McNeil. Josh was the recipient last year’s Kappa Psi Pharmaceutical Fraternity Providence Graduate Chapter Brother of the Year. Matthew Lacroix is an Assistant Clinical Professor for St. Johns University College of Pharmacy and Allied Health Professions in Queens, NY. His affiliation is with North

Shore University Hospital on the Medical Intensive Care Unit. Brandon Cherenzia working retail pharmacy for Wal-mart in Westerly, RI.

Class of 2007 Dan Lefkowitz is pursuing a Masters in Business Administration at URI. He was elected to the Rhode Island Pharmacists Association Council of Administration in June. Also, he was elected as the new Regent of the Kappa Psi Providence Graduate Chapter. All this while still working full-time. Mike Paquette is in Savannah, Georgia at Memorial University Medical Center doing a General Residency. He is finishing in June and not sure what he will be doing next. We want to hear from you!!!! What are you doing?

Alumni news should be sent to C.E. Director Michael L. Simeone at


Left to right: Aram Babcock, Nathan Charpentier, Andrew Robinson

Pharmacy Student Greg Baker, shows the pharmaceutical laboratory has not changed much over the years.

Left to right: Sara Phillips, Kelley Loethen, James Medeiros

Left to right: Matthew Federico and Eric Hume learn to inject

Undergrad, Kelley Bowerman give a presentation

Jill Oliver , student takes notes during IAL class


Left to right: Rosie Mean and Eric Hume in dispensing/compounding lab

Left to right: Julie Harney and another student check the frig

Nathan Nous runs an experiment using our new technology

Left to right: A graduate student instructs Brian Brock

Emine Yalcin demonstrates how our pharmacy students use the latest instruments and diagnostic equipment


Winter 2008

L-R: Clinton Chichester, Daniel Udwary, David Rowley, Yuzuru Shimizu, Navindra Seeram

Pharmacognosy is healthy at URI Are new cures for drug resistant bacteria, like MRSA, hiding in the deepest realms of the oceans? Can eating berries prevent your future ailments? Will the mysteries of antibiotics be unlocked by reading the bacterial genes that produce them? These are just a few of the many questions that are now being answered in the basement of Fogarty Hall. URI has long been at the forefront of pharmacognosy, a field of science that studies the medicinal properties of nature’s molecules. The roots of pharmacognosy at URI were laid by Heber W. Youngken, Jr. In 1957, Youngken arrived from the University of Washington as the dean of the newly opened URI College of Pharmacy. He quickly established the medicinal plant garden and a Ph.D. program, which was one of the first on campus. Much of the early research involved the study of higher plants and fungi, and was led by prominent faculty members such as Daniel Tsao and Leonard R. Worthen. Being located in the Ocean State, it is not surprising

that this new program turned toward the sea. Youngken, an avid sailor, was an early visionary who imagined the world’s oceans as the next frontier for drug discovery. Since 1969, marine pharmacognosy at URI has been led by Dr. Yuzuru Shimizu. Shimizu initially built a research program that focused on bioactive molecules from marine algae and invertebrates. His first paper reported antiviral glycosides in starfish. However, Shimizu’s research encountered an unexpected twist in 1972, when the New England coastline was hit by a devastating toxic red tide. His investigation of these toxins was initially conceived to be a brief public service; however, it began his lifelong passion for the study of microalgal metabolites. His many accomplishments in the field, including the first descriptions of many red tide toxins, earned Shimizu international fame and strengthened URI’s reputation in the area of natural products. Although he formally retired in 2006, Dr. Shimizu is still highly active at the college. When not traveling the world giving talks, he finds ample time to mentor young faculty and students. Today, a new crew of young fac-

ulty is carrying on the pharmacognosy tradition. Dr. David Rowley arrived in 2001 from the University of California, San Diego. His NSF and NOAA funded research is currently investigating microbes that reside in remote, unexplored regions of the deep ocean. He is also researching new ways to attack the mounting problem of antibiotic resistance by using drugs that disrupt bacterial virulence. And this month we are welcoming two new faculty to the Pharmacognosy program. Dr. Navindra P. Seeram obtained his Ph.D degree in Natural Products Chemistry from the University of West Indies, Jamaica, where his doctoral research focused on the isolation and biological evaluation of phytochemicals from endemic Caribbean flora. His postdoctoral research at Michigan State University continued to probe higher plants (botanicals) as sources of new medicinal compounds or as he refers: ‘Nature’s Pharmacy’. He arrives from the UCLA where he served as the Assistant Director of the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition and Adjunct Professor in the School of Medicine. Dr. Seeram is an internationally recognized leader in the field of Bioactive Botanical Research, especially on the impact of dietary phytochemicals from berry fruits on human health. Dr. Daniel Udwary received his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University and recently wrapped up a post-doctoral stint at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego. Dan brings a unique brand of science to URI that incorporates the tools of chemistry, enzymology, genomics, and bioinformatics. His recent studies of antibiotic genes in marine bacteria are answering important questions about identifying and accessing new resources for drug discovery.

URI College of Pharmacy Alumni Newsletter: Editors: Rita Marcoux, Michael Simeone, and Dawn Strickland. Layout: John Grossomanides Please visit us on our web site at: Email us at: Send us a fax at 401-874-4424


Winter 2008

The College’s new building has been designed to showcase our strong continued commitment to natural products. The new medicinal garden has been placed in prominent position on the south side of the building directly adjacent to the main lobby and overlooked by public spaces on each floor.


Winter 2008

URI College of Pharmacy Professor Awarded National Grants Professor Kevkavous Parang of the Department of Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences has been awarded two grants in which he is the principle investigator. One from the American Cancer Society; for DEVELOPMENT OF SRC KINASE INHIBITORS AS ANTICANCER AGENTS: The Src family kinases are involved in the regulation of different cellular processes and in signal transduction pathways. Considerable evidence implicates elevated expression and/or activity of Src in cancer development. Activation of Src is reported in many human cancers, including colon, breast, pancreas, ovarian, lung, gastric, and head and neck. Thus, Src kinase is an important target for anti-cancer drug discovery. With this award, the Cancer Drug Development Program of American Cancer Society (ACS) is supporting the research Dr. Parang. The main objective of this proposal is to design novel Src kinase inhibitors by exploiting different molecular recognition motifs. Preliminary studies validated the effectiveness of the basic strategy by identification of a number of lead analogs that exhibited significant synergistic inhibitory potency. We thus hypothesize that inhibitors that interact with multiple sites in or near the active site of a kinase can produce synergistic potency and specificity far better than single motif-based inhibitors. In this application, we propose to optimize these lead compounds, determine the mechanisms of inhibition, and expand this strategy to synthesize other analogs guided by the same design principle. The potential compounds will be tested in cancer cell lines overexpressing Src kinases to determine whether they can inhibit proliferation of cancer cells that contain activated c-Src. From the therapeutic point of view, we expect to identify compounds that exhibit significantly greater affinities and se-

lectivity than conventional monovalent binding inhibitors. These studies are significant because they will eventually lead to design of potent and selective Src kinase inhibitors, as they allow a way to inhibit Src mediated signal transduction in cancer cells. The amount of the ACS grant: $627,000 for four years The second Grant from the National science foundation is for the Synthesis of organophosphorus compounds using solid-phase Reagents. Ready access to organophosphorus compounds, such as nucleotides and nucleic acids, is an important requirement for studying several fundamental biological processes and pathways such as molecular recognition, signal transduction, and gene expression. Thus, modified nucleotides and nucleic acids are commonly used in studying many biochemical and biological processes in molecular and cellular biology. Furthermore, many organophosphorus compounds, such as nucleoside diphosphates and triphosphates, are important precursors for producing biological activities of several antiviral and anticancer nucleoside drugs. Most of strategies for the synthesis of organophosphorus compounds have been hampered by the absence of selectivity, low overall yields, production of multiple-substituted derivatives, and the need for protection and deprotection reactions and extensive purification of intermediates and/or final products from the reagents. Furthermore, pure compounds cannot be prepared in sufficient quantities and the current methods cannot be generalized for the synthesis of diverse and large number of compounds. The hypothesis of this project is that several novel solid-phase reagents can be utilized for the synthesis of modified organophosphorus compounds. The solid-phase reactions offer the advantages of high selectivity, monosubstitution, and facile isolation and recovery of products. This project presents a general and convenient approach for the preparation of several biologically important organophosphorus compounds using solid-phase reagents. For example, such chemistry will pro-

vide solid-phase reagents for synthesis of diverse organophosphorus compounds that could be valuable resources for the discovery of enzyme inhibitors of nucleic acid synthesis. Reactions using this strategy could also offer the advantage of synthesizing novel compounds that cannot be easily synthesized by the conventional methods. Finally, the new solidphase reagents and methodologies have potential commercial applications. The transfer of technical knowledge and expertise to the chemical industry will have a potential impact on economical development. The amount of the NSF grant: $300,000 for three years

URI College of Pharmacy 50th Gala Celebration Due to overwhelming interest in this event, a larger venue was required necessitating a change in the date. Please note: 50th Anniversary Gala will be held at the Newport Marriott 25 Americas Cup Avenue Saturday, March 8, 2008 Gala: $100 per person Black tie optional Invitations to this event are being mailed out. Registration is now open on-line through the College of Pharmacy Home website. ( pharmacy) Or you may go directly to the 50th Gala link at pharmacy/50th Please feel free to contact Jane Giorgi at 401-874-2734 or email at for registration assistance. There are opportunities for sponsorship as well. We would like you to become part of the Commemorative Gala Program by placing an ad or message. Remember tempus fugit! Program deadline is January 28th! Registration deadline is February 1st! Seating is limitedPlease respond quickly.


Winter 2008

URI Pharmacy Professor Discovers Enhanced Alzheimer’s Plaques in Monkey Tissue Nasser Zawia, a URI professor of biomedical sciences at the College of Pharmacy led the three-year study, which involved four institutions. Dr. Zawia has found for the first time evidence of Alzheimer’slike disease in monkeys that were exposed to lead as infants. The findings were published in January’s issue of The Journal of Neuroscience. “This is the first evidence of promotion of Alzheimer’s diseaselike pathology in a primate by an environmental agent,” Zawia said. “It is relevant because monkeys have identical genes to humans.” In a study begun in 1980, a group of monkeys was given infant formula with low levels of lead for 400 days. A control group was given formula with no lead. No health problems were found in any of the monkeys during the 23-year study. The low level of lead given to one group of monkeys was designed to mimic what children would be exposed to in their environment. By the time of Zawia’s study, there were no detectable levels of lead in the monkey tissue from the group exposed to the toxin. In his research, Zawia and his

research team discovered Alzheimer’s related genes as well as amyloid plaques associated with the illness in the tissue from the monkeys given lead. These plaques, or protein fragments, would be typically broken down and eliminated, but Alzheimer’s produces hard, insoluble plaques. While the hazards of lead exposure in children have been well publicized, Zawia’s latest work “provides further proof for a development origin and environmental link for Alzheimer’s disease.” He said senile plaques were found in all of the adult monkeys, but the ones exposed to lead as infants were more dense and numerous. The research follows earlier studies by Zawia that demonstrated links between infant exposure to lead and precursors to Alzheimer’s in rats and mice. “We found that when they became adults, the rats’ and mice genes mimicked what happens to genes in humans affected by Alzheimer’s. “But the problem was, rats don’t develop brain plaques as people do when they are afflicted with Alzheimer’s,” Zawia said. Through Zawia’s contacts at the National Institutes of Health, he became aware of a study that had been done by Deborah C. Rice, now a toxicologist at the Maine Environmental Protection Agency, on behavioral and cognitive effects on monkeys given low levels of lead in

infant formula. She examined the monkeys from infancy to adulthood. “Dr. Jean Harry, a mentor of mine at NIH, told me about the availability of adult monkey tissue. This was all very serendipitous. I didn’t know Dr. Rice and wasn’t aware of her ongoing study,” Zawia said. In all, Zawia has been studying the introduction of lead to young mammals and its effects on adult animals for the past eight years. This work has attracted about $700,000 in grants from the National Institutes of Health. “We were the first to establish a link between developmental lead exposure and Alzheimer’s disease-like pathogenesis. This work took over five years from experiment to publication. Here we provide further proof that is relevant to humans in an animal model that has identical gene sequences and pathologic outcome. “We believe at some critical developmental window, lead exposure has intervened with control of genes and thus changes the destiny of gene expression in old age,” Zawia

Upcoming Events March 5-7, 2008 23rd Annual Seminar by the Sea Hyatt Regency Newport Hotel Goat Island, Newport, RI Wednesday - Workshops Thursday - Friday - CE Program Saturday, March 8, 2008 College of Pharmacy 50th Anniversary Gala Newport, RI Monday, March 17, 2008 URI Alumni/Friends Breakfast American Pharmacists Assoc. Annual Meeting, San Diego, CA Monday September 8, 2008 15th Annual Louis A. Luzzi Seminar on the Links Quidnessett CC North Kingstown, RI


URI Pharmacy Alumni Newsletter, Winter 08  

The University of Rhode Island College of Pharmacy Alumni Newsletter, Winter 08