Research Day 2017 celebrates discovery

By Vicki Matustik
April 27, 2017

The art and science of discovery took center stage at The University of Texas at Austin College of Pharmacy on April 11.

Research Day 2017

Lectures by distinguished researchers kicked off the 13th Annual Louis C. Littlefield Celebrating Pharmacy Research Excellence Day.

The event began with the distinguished faculty lecture presented by Dr. Robert O. Messing, professor of pharmacology and toxicology and associate dean for research in the Dell Medical School.  Messing is internationally recognized for his research deciphering signalingpathways and circuits that regulate behavior in rodent models of addiction, anxiety, and depression.   His presentation was entitled “New Lead Compounds for Treating Alcohol and Nicotine Addiction.”

Messing’s presentation was followed by the keynote scientific lecture presented by Dr. John W. Kozarich, chairman and president of ActivX and chief scientific advisor for Kyorin.  Kozarich, who is also an adjunct professor of chemical physiology at The Scripps Research Institute, discussed “ChemoProteomic Tool Development for Personalized Medicine.”

Following the two lectures, Dr. John Richburg, associate dean for research and graduate studies, announced winners of the abstract competition.  Winners from the four categories were invited to make a brief presentation regarding their research.

“The four trainee abstract winner presentations and the poster presentation award winners reflect the cutting-edge research performed in college,” said Richburg.  “This year’s Celebrating Research Day was a tremendous success with a record breaking 215 participants attending the meeting.”

Abstract winners and their topics included:

  • Undergraduate Program – Sabrina Van Ravenstein (mentor, Dr. Kevin Dalby), “MKK4/JNK2 Down-Regulation in NSCLC Suppresses Tumor Growth and Metastasis.”
  • Professional (Pharm.D.) Program – Jessica Yang (mentor, Dr. Ken Lawson), “Opioid Prescriptions Through Texas Medicaid: Ramifications of Hydrocodone Rescheduling.”
  • Graduate Program – Fan Meng (mentor, Dr. Feng Zhang), “Self-Association of Rafoxanide in Aqueous Media and a Novel Method for Preparing Armorphous Solid Dispersions.”
  • Pharm.D. Postdoctoral/Resident Program – Reese Cosimi (mentors, Dr. Kelly R. Reveles & Dr. Kelly L. Echevarria), “Evaluation of Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Nasal Swab Utility in Selecting Appropriate Empiric Therapy in Patients Hospitalized with Pneumonia.” 
    Research Day 2017 2

Following the presentations, the poster session was open, displaying 118 research projects outlined through poster presentations.  Poster winners were awarded near the conclusion of the poster session.  Categories and winners included:

  • Undergraduate Program – Alexander Chick (mentor, Dr. Andrea Gore), “The Plasticity of Gene Expression and DNA Methylation in the Hypothalamus of Aging Female Rats.”
  • Professional (Pharm.D.) Program – Ralph Galega (mentor, Dr. Grace Lee), “The Virulome of Community-associated S. aureus Associated with Skin and Soft Tissue Infections and Nasal Colonization.”
  • Graduate Program – Sabin Kshattry (mentor, Dr. John DiGiovanni), “Depletion of Extracellular Cystine and Cysteine by a Mutagenized Human Enzyme Causes Ros Mediated Cytotoxicity in Panreatic Cancer Cells.”
  • Resident Program – Nina Vadiei (mentor, Dr. Tawny Smith), “Impact of Gabapentin Adjunct Use with Benzodiazepines for the Treatment of Alcohol Withdrawal in an Inpatient Psychiatric Hospital.”
    Research Day 2017 3

Celebrating Research Excellence Day is named in honor of Dr. Louis C. Littlefield, longtime faculty member and administrator within the UT College of Pharmacy.  Like Dr. Littlefield, the day honors and celebrates discovery at all levels.

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