Mortar & Pestle - May 2017

Mortar and PestleIn This Issue:

Greetings from West Lafayette

Photo of Craig Svensson

Greetings from the construction zone known as West Lafayette! If you have been anywhere near campus in recent months you have surely seen the blossoming orange and white construction barrels and detour signs proliferating. These are all indications that the face of Purdue’s campus is changing. Our mission, values, and priority will not change, but we will certainly look a little different when the construction is completed. In like manner, the ‘face’ of your College of Pharmacy will also be changing this summer. As previously announced, it is my intention to step down as Dean on July 1, 2017, and transition to the faculty after a sabbatical to focus my energy on scholarship. It has been a great privilege for me to serve in this role, and I am grateful for the tremendous support that I have received from faculty, staff, students, and alumni. Most of you have probably already heard of the appointment of Dr. Eric Barker as our new Dean. You can read more details about his appointment in this issue of Mortar & Pestle. Other administrative changes will also be taking place. On July 1, Dr. Elizabeth Topp will step down from her role as Department Head and make her own transition to the faculty, while Dr. Tonglei Li will take over as Interim Head of the Department of Industrial and Physical Pharmacy. A national search for Dr. Topp’s replacement will begin in the fall. We have benefited greatly from her leadership and she leaves challenging shoes to fill. In the near future, we will also be announcing new appointments to serve as the Associate Dean for Research and the Associate Dean for Graduate Programs, which will be vacated by Drs. Barker and Li, respectively. We also have several faculty who will be retiring this year, including Drs. Robert Geahlen, Curtis Ashendel, and Raymond Galinsky. Collectively, they have helped prepare tens of thousands of pharmacists and pharmaceutical scientists who are making an impact around the world.

While the faces and their roles may change over time, your College of Pharmacy remains as committed as ever to excellence in learning, discovery, and engagement. You can read below about some of the individuals who are hard at work assuring that we sustain our long tradition of excellence. Your support in so many ways is also critically important in our ability to sustain that goal.

With gratitude,

Craig Svensson

Photo of Eric BarkerEric Barker Named New Dean of the College of Pharmacy

“I am deeply honored to be named Dean of the College of Pharmacy. The extraordinary faculty within this college are making a tremendous impact every day as they work with our hardworking students and collaborate on innovative and relevant research to improve our world. I am committed deeply to our faculty, staff, students, and alumni as we seek to achieve a vision of being bold leaders, moving together to the highest level of excellence in discovery, learning, and providing patient care.”
- Eric Barker

Eric L. Barker has been named the new Dean of the Purdue College of Pharmacy effective July 1, 2017. Dr. Barker has served as Professor of Medicinal Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology and previously held the appointment of Associate Dean for Research in Purdue’s College of Pharmacy since 2010. He joined the Purdue faculty in 1998. He received his BS in pharmacy at St. Louis College of Pharmacy and PhD in pharmacology from Vanderbilt University and completed postdoctoral research at Vanderbilt and Emory University.

Dr. Barker is a noted neuropharmacologist, award-winning teacher, skilled academic leader, and pharmacist. He is a member of several professional associations that include the American Pharmacists Association, Society for Neuroscience, and American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, where he has served in leadership positions for the Neuropharmacology Division. In 2016, he became editor-in-chief for Pharmacological Reviews, a quarterly peer-reviewed scientific journal.

Dr. Barker’s research interests are in the area of molecular actions of drugs of abuse and other drugs that affect the brain. He has received grant support from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institute of Mental Health, National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression, Lilly Research Laboratories, and DARPA. In addition to his scholarly pursuits, he has been recognized for his efforts in teaching medicinal chemistry and pharmacology, having received the Purdue College of Pharmacy Dr. Aziz Outstanding Teaching Award as well as the Purdue University Charles B. Murphy Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award and selection to the Purdue Teaching Academy and the Purdue Book of Great Teachers.

As chief executive officer of the Purdue College of Pharmacy, the dean provides academic, intellectual, and administrative leadership. Dr. Barker will be responsible for overseeing the College’s teaching, research, and engagement missions; for representing the College to internal and external constituents; and for ensuring that the College is fiscally well-managed. The dean also will engage and work collaboratively with key stakeholders to create and execute a strategy for enhancing the stature of the College as one of the nation’s leading colleges of pharmacy.

Photo of Allen ChaoAlumni Spotlight: Allen Chao (PhD 1973, HDR 2000)

Allen Chao is the co-founder of Watson Pharmaceuticals. In 2001, he and his wife, Lee-Hwa (BS 1973), made a $5 million gift to fund The Chao Center for Industrial Pharmacy and Contract Manufacturing in the Purdue Research Park. The center opened its doors in 2005 with the mission to provide a means to educate students in current good manufacturing practices (cGMP), offer services to the pharmaceutical industry, and allow faculty members from all areas of Purdue University to conduct research in a cGMP facility. In December 2016, the center began operating under its newly incorporated name of the Purdue GMP Center LLC. The contract manufacturing organization remains focused on providing pharmaceutical based solutions that involve formulation development, clinical-scale cGMP manufacturing, and small-scale commercial cGMP manufacturing to clients. Read more about the Purdue GMP Center LLC here

Interview with Allen Chao

Why did you choose to study Pharmacy? What first interested you in this field? I was raised and grew up in a pharmaceutical company which was founded by my parents, I had been fascinated by the products and manufacturing field.

Why did you choose to attend Purdue University? Purdue has one of the best industrial pharmacy schools; that's why I chose the Purdue College of Pharmacy to get my doctoral degree.

What first motivated you to start your own company, Watson Pharmaceuticals? I had the training and practical experience in the pharmaceutical field, and in 1984 when the U.S. Congress passed the Hatch-Waxman Act, I realized there was an opportunity to produce quality and affordable medicine, with family support, to found Watson Pharmaceuticals. I am proud of being able to start a company to create jobs and to contribute to the lowering cost of medicine which can help patients and healthcare providers.

What first motivated you to launch the Chao Center for Industrial Pharmacy and Contract Manufacturing, now the Purdue GMP Center, and what are your goals for the center moving forward? As a Purdue Pharmacy alumnus, I think it is an opportunity to give back to the College and to help students and graduates gain experience at the facility if they choose. My goal is to fully utilize the Purdue GMP Center for other pharmaceutical lines and facilitate a wonderful growth opportunity for the center by expanding into compound development.

Why is it important for you to stay connected with the Purdue College of Pharmacy? I received tremendous theory and practice of the industrial pharmacy education from Purdue which made part of my success of my career. I want to contribute to the College so that other students and faculty members can have the opportunity to achieve their higher goals.

Photo of Tony ZhouFaculty Research Spotlight: Dr. Tony Zhou

The Purdue College of Pharmacy is pleased to highlight Dr. Qi (Tony) Zhou, whose research focuses on pharmaceutical manufacturing and pulmonary drug delivery. Dr. Zhou received his BEng in Pharmaceutics from Shenyang Pharmaceutical University of China and his MS from the National University of Singapore. He then completed his PhD in Pharmaceutics at Monash University of Australia and a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Sydney. He joined the Purdue faculty in 2015 as Assistant Professor of Industrial and Physical Pharmacy. He is an Editorial Board Member of Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences and has been awarded many early-career prizes including the AAPS Postdoctoral Fellow, Australian Endeavour Fellowship, Australian Early Career Fellowship (equivalent to NIH K01), and IPEC Emerging Researcher Award.

What first interested you in your chosen research field? Honestly, I started my research in inhalation formulation without any choice—this project was assigned to me by my master study supervisor. I totally had no idea what was inhalation therapy 13 years ago (this is an awkward answer). I did not say “NO” to that project because after I had done some quick searching in this area, I found it is really an interesting and important field. Pollution has caused a rapid increase in pulmonary diseases such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, and lung cancers in developing countries such as my hometown, China. Inhalation therapies become more and more important as effective local treatments for these pulmonary diseases. These make me stay in this field for the past 13 years.

Briefly, please describe your research. My research focuses on developing new inhalation therapies by emerging formulation technologies such as particle engineering. Current traditional formulations of dry powder inhaler products have very low delivery efficiency. For example, only less than 20-40% of the drug dose can be delivered to the target sites in the lower airways. My research has applied novel technologies (e.g. spray drying or surface coating) to improve the delivery efficiency to up to 80%, aiming to reduce the product cost and the side effects. These new formulation technologies can be employed to both small molecules and biologics, and I believe they are promising to paradigm-shift the future of pharmaceutical manufacturing.

Describe the current work you are doing in your lab and what you hope to accomplish? One of the project in my lab is to develop safer and more efficacious inhalation therapies of antibiotics for better treatment of deadly Gram-negative lung infections. Lung infections are the fourth leading cause of death globally, and those caused by multi-resistant Gram-negative pathogens are very dangerous and particularly difficult to treat. Colistin is often the only option, but the parenteral therapy has very limited efficacy in the treatment of lung infections due to limited drug exposure at the infection sites. Simply increasing the dose of parenteral colistin is not feasible because of the dose-limiting nephrotoxicity. Nebulized colistin has been used in the clinic for the treatment of lung infections in an attempt to circumvent the limitations of the parenteral route; however, the current inhaled colistin therapies have very poor delivery efficiency (typically <40% of drug is delivered to the lungs) and, thus, exhibit compromised efficacy and significant pulmonary adverse effects (e.g. cough and throat irritation). Thereby, there is an urgent need to develop optimized inhalation therapies of colistin, as it maximizes the bacterial killing, minimizes the colistin resistance, and avoids the dose-limiting systemic toxicity.

This multidisciplinary project will 1)design innovation inhaled formulations with superior delivery efficiency by novel particle engineering techniques; 2) determine disposition and potential toxicity of colistin in the lungs using systems pharmacology; and 3) optimize dosage regimens for inhaled colistin based on the pharmacokinetics (PK)/pharmacodynamics (PD) in animal lung infection models. The project will be performed through collaborations with an international leader in colistin pharmacology, Prof. Jian Li at Monash University of Australia, and a world-leading antimicrobial pharmacometrician, Prof. Alan Forrest at the University of North Carolina. The platforms developed by this project can be readily applied for treatments of other lung diseases such as viral lung infections or tuberculosis. Eventually, we hope the success of this project will save many lives from deadly lung diseases.

What do you enjoy most about working in the College and with the students? Purdue Pharmacy has a wonderful collaborative climate. People here are nice and keen to work together as a team, making me feel like being in a big family. The students, particularly graduate students, are outstanding with very diverse backgrounds ranging from biological science and pharmacy to engineering. In many cases, you can get new ideas from the students based on their biological- or engineering-type of thinking, which is beyond the scope of pharmacist-type of thinking. I do enjoy working with them!

Photo of lung airways obtained by Phase-contrast X-ray imaging        2 Novel particle engineering techniques can manipulate particle properties and produce ‘smart’ particles with superior drug delivery efficiency for inhalation therapies

IMAGE 1: 3D images of lung airways obtained by Phase-contrast X-ray imaging
IMAGE 2: Novel particle engineering techniques can manipulate particle properties and produce ‘smart’ particles with superior drug delivery efficiency for inhalation therapies

Photo of Karen HudmonRx for Change: A Tobacco Cessation Program

Through the Rx for Change program, pharmacy students at the Purdue College of Pharmacy and around the world are becoming advocates for healthy living in the communities they serve. Dr. Karen Hudmon, Professor of Pharmacy Practice, who lost her mother to smoking-related lung cancer at a young age, is a passionate advocate for tobacco cessation. This inspired her to lead the creation of Rx for Change, the only shared curriculum for healthcare professionals, from psychiatrists to cardiologists to pharmacists, on the topic of tobacco cessation counseling.

Students in RHPH G16“Tobacco use is the primary known preventable cause of death in the U.S. and it therefore warrants careful attention in all health professional curricula,” says Dr. Hudmon. “Our mission is to ensure that all graduates, from all health professional schools, are able to apply evidence-based approaches to assist their patients with quitting.” The Rx for Change program was created with a mindset for sharing across schools – thereby eliminating the need for faculty at each school to create content on this important topic. “Economically and feasibly, it’s a logical approach to clinician education that should be replicated widely, for other topics as well.”

With funding from the National Cancer Institute, Dr. Hudmon’s research team is currently developing virtual and standardized patients and Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCEs). After professors teach the Rx for Change curriculum, students will be able to interact with the virtual patients on a computer. These interactions enhance the students’ cessation counseling skills, which are then evaluated during an OSCE in which students actively counsel various standardized patients (actors who play the role of a patient). The standardized patients and the professor, who views a recording of the interaction, provide students with formal feedback on their performances. This stepwise, guided approach to learning aims to prepare students for real-world interactions with patients by improving their abilities and confidence to address tobacco use, which in turn will improve patients’ health and wellbeing—certainly a prescription for positive change. 

Rx for Change logo

Please visit the following links to learn more about this program:
Rx for Change - Video
Purdue leads push for tobacco cessation - Big Ten Network video
Purdue pharmacy students use online tools to stamp out smoking - Big Ten Network article and video


Photo of Sonak PastakiaDr. Sonak Pastakia Named Jefferson Science Fellow

Dr. Sonak Pastakia, Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice, has been named a 2017-2018 class of Jefferson Science Fellows, an initiative of the Office of Science and Technology Advisor to the U.S. Secretary of State. The program is administered by the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine with the goal of engaging the academic community in providing science and technology advice in the process of formulation of U.S. foreign policy. Since 2007, Dr. Pastakia has been spending most of his time on site in Kenya where he has implemented a wide variety of programs, including a rural diabetes care program that currently serves over 8,000 patients, a portable care system linked to microfinance groups that provides chronic disease management services, a pharmacy distribution system which provides antiretroviral medications to over 150,000 HIV-infected patients, a large multi-country gestational diabetes study in low- and middle-income country settings, and an anticoagulation monitoring program with a focus on rheumatic heart disease. Read more here.

“It is a great honor to be named a Jefferson Science Fellow and even more exciting to think about the broader populations our global health team at Purdue might be able to serve through a greater understanding of the policy dynamics in Washington D.C. I look forward to using this opportunity to increase the impact our activities have on underserved populations all over the world.”
– Sonak Pastakia

Photo of Melinda "Mindy" AndersonPharmD Student Spotlight

Melinda "Mindy" Anderson
3rd Year Professional PharmD Student

Anticipated Graduation: May 2018

Hometown: Brookston, Indiana

Family: Husband Don and daughters Hannah and Ella

Previous Degree: BS 2001, Animal Sciences, Purdue University; AS 2003, Veterinary Technology, Purdue University

Rotation Experience: Sam’s Club Pharmacy, Sycamore Springs Mental Health and Addiction Hospital

Participation in Organizations: APhA Student Chapter, First Christian Church in Remington, White County 4H

Hobbies/Interests: Horseback riding, running, working at the Purdue Veterinary Teaching Hospital, and spending time with her husband, children, friends, and other family members

Why did you choose to pursue a Pharmacy degree? I have been on staff at the Purdue Veterinary Teaching Hospital since 2006 as a veterinary technologist and was looking to advance my education. My role as a technologist was to teach and work in the hospital as a “nurse” in small animal medicine, ICU, and emergency service. I was responsible for administering the medications and counseling clients about their patient’s medications, and I found myself wanting to know more about how and why the doctors picked the prescribed medications. I met with Mr. Pat George in the Purdue College of Pharmacy in 2009 to discuss the path I would need to take to become a pharmacist. I’m not going to say the path has been easy, but it has certainly been worth it.

I have a sincere passion for helping others. The combination of my vet tech degree with pharmacy has allowed me to reach outside the box and touch others, both on the veterinary and human side. I hope my experience is leaving an impression on my two daughters, as well as other adults, that they can do whatever they put their minds and hearts to. This venture would not have been possible without my faith in God and the love and support from my friends and family. I am truly blessed to be a student in the Purdue College of Pharmacy and to have overwhelming support from my colleagues at the Purdue College of Veterinary Medicine.

What has your experience been thus far as a Pharmacy student? As I advanced in the pre-pharmacy program and later the Doctor of Pharmacy program, I developed very good relations with all the academic advisors in the Office of Student Services (OSS). I have also benefited immensely from the mentorship of professors, as well as Mr. George and all of the staff in OSS, and all the pharmacists who work at the Purdue University Pharmacy and are adjunct faculty. Honestly, I cannot praise the Purdue College of Pharmacy enough for their encouragement and support. Going back to school with a family is challenging, but with the endless support from so many people it has been a very positive and rewarding experience. The College has also done an incredible job of helping me network with alumni who have served as great mentors throughout my education. I am so excited to see what the future holds!

What are your plans for the Fall 2017 semester? I am fortunate to have been asked to teach veterinary pharmacology at the Purdue College of Veterinary Medicine for the veterinary technology students. This wouldn't have been possible without my clinical rotations coordinator, Dr. Brian Shepler, and Associate Dean Holly Mason agreeing to work with my clinical rotations schedule since I will be completing my clinical year.

What are your post-graduation plans? I plan to pursue a residency at the Purdue Veterinary Teaching Hospital. Utilizing the experience and knowledge I will have gained as a veterinary technologist, pharmacy student, and resident, I hope to secure a position as a clinical pharmacist in a veterinary teaching hospital. My goal is to work as a clinical pharmacist on the clinic floor to mimic the role clinical pharmacists have in human healthcare. I would also like to continue teaching both didactically and clinically with hopes of having my own resident in the future. I plan to impact positive advancements in veterinary medicine through my students and clinical decisions.

Mindy with one of her adorably furry patients      Mindy with her supportive husband and daughters
PHOTOS: Mindy with one of her adorably furry patients (photo by Purdue Marketing and Media); Mindy with her supportive husband and daughters

APhA-ASP PharmFlix

Congratulations to the Purdue University American Pharmacists Association Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP) Chapter for being nominated in the national APhA-ASP PharmFlix 2016-2017 competition. The chapter was nominated for "Best Overall Picture" and "Most Humorous" and is looking forward to the annual meeting in San Francisco, California, to see the final results of the competition.

APhA-ASP Chapter photo
Watch the video here.

Pharmacy Days

Pharmacy Days photo

The Purdue Pharmacy Ambassadors welcome you to join us for the 2017 Pharmacy Days Career Fair. With over 500 students in attendance annually, Pharmacy Days is a great opportunity for employers to establish a company presence with the Purdue College of Pharmacy and its students. Additional information can be found here and will be shared in the Summer 2017 edition of The Purdue Pharmacist. Please contact Jennifer Dexter, Career Development Manager, at or 765-496-6156 with questions.

Mark your calendar!

Pharmacy Days Career Fair
October 24, 2017
Purdue Memorial Union

Interview Days
October 25-26, 2017
Center for Career Opportunities

Ever True campaign logo

Ever True: The Campaign for Purdue University is an invitation to the Purdue family to join together, through private giving and personal involvement, to boldly advance our University as a national and global leader that continues to move the world forward. 

With a goal of $2.019 billion, Ever True is the largest fundraising effort in Purdue history. The campaign spans July 1, 2012, through June 30, 2019, concluding in the University's 150th anniversary year.

Make a profound impact at Purdue University by partnering with the College of Pharmacy. Through Ever True: Campaign for Purdue University, the College seeks to attract outstanding prospective students and reduce their debt, recruit and retain the best faculty, and plan for the future through various giving opportunities which will enable us to further our mission.

With your support, our mission is a hole in one!

BoileRx Golf Classic photo

21st Annual BoileRx Golf Classic
Friday, June 2, 2017

Registration begins at 10:30 a.m.
Lunch will be served at 11:00 a.m.
Shotgun start at noon.
We will play 18 holes on the Ackerman-Allen Course.

More information can be found here or by contacting Dana Neary, Manager of Alumni Relations and Special Events, at or 765-494-2632.


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