Mortar & Pestle - November 2015
In This Issue:
- Greetings from West Lafayette
- Faculty Research Spotlight: Dr. Emily Dykhuizen
- The Purdue University and Kilimanjaro School of Pharmacy Graduate Program in Biotechnology Innovation and Regulatory Science
- Remembering Jackie Jimerson (1942-2015)
- Siblings in MAPS: The Golston Brothers
- Student Spotlight: Jacob Martin & Zack McCormack
- SEARHC Ethel Lund Medical Center Site Visit
- Pharmacy Women for Purdue
- 20th Anniversary BoileRx Golf Classic
Fall is always an exciting time around campus as we welcome a new group of students. Whether freshmen, first year professional students, or new graduate students, it is always invigorating to have a new group of students join us. Their energy and excitement spills over to all of our faculty and staff. Their presence reminds us of the privilege we have in helping to shape the leaders of tomorrow. In this issue of Mortar and Pestle, you will read about some of the people and activities that make our College such a special place.
I have said in this and other forums that the College is not a building or programs, but the people who make up the Purdue Pharmacy Family. In this issue, we pay tribute to one of those individuals who has had such a lasting impact on the lives of our students and has been an example for so many of her colleagues. Jackie Jimerson was the tireless Director of Multicultural Programs who shepherded so many students through the challenges of adjusting to college life and the rigors of the professional program. Many are the individuals who will declare that they owe their career to the personal investment that she made in their lives. While we mourn the loss of her presence among us, we celebrate the ongoing influence of her work.
On October 9, 2015, President Mitch Daniels announced the Ever True Campaign that will culminate in the sesquicentennial celebration of Purdue University. This launches an exciting period of fundraising to sustain the excellence of the University. Our College of Pharmacy priorities for the campaign include reducing student debt, recruiting and retaining the best faculty, and preparing for the future. We will provide more information about the campaign in the next issue of The Purdue Pharmacist. We look for and need your active involvement to make this campaign a success!
The College of Pharmacy is pleased to highlight Dr. Emily Dykhuizen, whose research focuses on understanding how the regulation of chromatin can treat cancers. Dr. Dykhuizen received her AB in biochemistry and molecular biology from Reed College and her PhD in chemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She then completed a postdoctoral fellowship in chromatin biology at Stanford University. The Purdue College of Pharmacy welcomed her to the faculty in 2013. She is a member of the American Chemical Society and the American Association for Cancer Research.
What first interested you in your chosen profession? Ever since I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a scientist in some form or another. That part was easy. Actually focusing on a particular area of science has been more of a challenge. I’ve been through biology, medicine, chemistry, and back again throughout the years. When I started college, I thought I would pursue a medical degree and work as a pathologist; however, I really enjoyed the time I spent doing research in the lab as an undergrad and right before applying to medical school, I decided to take a year off and work in a research lab full time. In the end, I decided that research was really what I wanted to be doing all day and decided to pursue a PhD in organic chemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I loved learning organic chemistry and I loved tackling the puzzle of putting together organic syntheses, but when it came down to starting my own research lab and deciding what problems I wanted to solve, I realized I was inherently more interested in answering biological questions. Since I really didn’t know what the important questions were in biology, I decided that I needed to become an expert in an emerging biological area related to health and disease and went to Stanford University to pursue a postdoc in chromatin biology. Now at Purdue, I hope to combine these areas of expertise and use chemistry to understand and treat cancers that arise through the misregulation of chromatin. Based on new genetic analysis of human tumors, we know that chromatin regulation is critical in preventing cancer, but we really don’t understand how.
Briefly describe your current research. My lab works on understanding how the regulation of chromatin (the combination of DNA and proteins in the nucleus of the cell) controls transcription, and how this process goes wrong in cancer. We study proteins that recognize chemical modifications on histones (the main protein component of chromatin), which are often deleted or overexpressed in cancer. We are trying to understand how the misregulation of these proteins leads to cancers and how we can use this information to pharmacologically treat these cancers.
What is it that interests you most about this research? As eukaryotes have evolved from single-celled organisms to multicellular organisms to vertebrates with highly regulated organ systems, transcriptional regulation has become significantly more complex. Some of this complexity is achieved through the expression of additional proteins involved in chromatin regulation, but much of it is achieved through the combinatorial assembly of analogous protein complex subunits. For example, a protein complex composed of four subunits with three possible variants for each position can produce 81 functionally different complexes! The expression of these different complexes vary from cell type to cell type and regulate different genes. Many of these subunits bind histone modifications, and we hypothesize that the combinations of different binding activities convey unique specificity. We study these histone binding proteins implicated in cancer with the understanding that they act as part of a complex containing additional subunits. I’m really interested in this idea of combinatorial assembly of binding proteins into complexes that achieve specificity through the multivalent recognition of a specific combination of histone modifications. I know this perhaps seems a bit abstract and doesn’t seem too interesting to other people, but we think it might act as a guiding principle of nature. I think everyone can appreciate how exciting it is to cure disease, but discovering “truth” is also really exciting! There is really so much we still don’t understand about biology and what goes on in our own bodies.
What do you hope to discover/accomplish through this research? On a basic level, we hope to understand how the combinatorial assembly of protein complex subunits dictates binding specificity across the genome, and how cells use these fine-tuned approaches to sense their environment and regulate the transcription of genes. On a more applied level, we hope to use this information for the development of drugs to treat cancers with very few therapeutic options.
What do you enjoy most about working with students and teaching at Purdue? Scientific reasoning is not an inborn skill, and developing the tools for implementing the scientific method takes time and practice. It requires a good grasp of logical reasoning combined with an ability to reconcile a large number of variables to arrive at the best solution. I think freshman organic chemistry is one of the first experiences undergraduates have with really applying scientific information instead of just absorbing information. Because of this, I see students struggle with the material, which of course I don’t enjoy. But what I really do enjoy is when they start to be more involved and start learning by doing, which is the foundation of most scientific disciplines. Similarly, I also really love working with graduate students in the lab. I enjoy working with them on designing experiments and analyzing data because you can start to see these critical reasoning skills emerge. My favorite part is when they start to bring new ideas to the table and question my rationales. These kinds of discussions are the basis for real scientific progress. It’s very exciting!
The Purdue University and Kilimanjaro School of Pharmacy Graduate Program in Biotechnology Innovation and Regulatory Science
Dreams realized, but so much more to do
In 2009, the Purdue College of Pharmacy first described the emerging certificate program in manufacturing and quality taught in Moshi, Tanzania, at our collaborating school, the Kilimanjaro School of Pharmacy (KSP). From 2009 to 2013, we graduated over 100 students from this four course certificate program. These four courses focused on the manufacture of quality medicines: 1) drug discovery; 2) drug development; 3) manufacturing; and 4) documents. The students were from eight countries: Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi, Nigeria, Ghana, Zimbabwe, and Lesotho. These students all reported that the program enabled them to improve the quality of manufacturing in their home country.
In 2014, we introduced a Purdue University master’s degree program in Biotechnology Innovation and Regulatory Science at the KSP. This program was made possible by a grant from the Merck Foundation and additional support by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization. We enrolled 41 graduate students—including 15 women—as the first cohort. All 41 students were awarded Merck Scholarships and attended a two-week live instructional session in September 2014. In addition to scholarships, Merck’s support also included a unique in-kind provision of faculty members to help teach the on-site and distance segments of the program. By the end of the fall semester, students submitted a proposal for their master’s degree projects, many of which have the potential for broader impacts, including installing a pharmacovigilance system in Kenya, installing a Quality Management System in the Ghana FDA, and installing a quality system at the manufacturing facility at KSP. The first cohort of MS degree students are on track to graduate with a master’s degree from Purdue in the summer of 2016.
The current program focuses on manufacturing and quality and is aimed at helping improve access to quality medicines in Africa. “Our belief is that knowledge of how to manufacture and control the quality of medicines can greatly improve the health and well-being of the people of the African continent, where the life expectancy is only 50 years and many essential medicines are out-of-stock,” says Dr. Stephen Byrn, Charles B. Jordan Professor of Medicinal Chemistry and co-director of the program. “This master’s program focuses on the knowledge required to develop, manufacture, and analyze quality medicines.” He adds that the program has already been identified by a number of regional African authorities as a key pillar for the build-out of regional pharmaceutical manufacturing capabilities desperately needed in a region struggling with poverty and disease. In the long term, local manufacturing and regulatory capabilities will drive an improvement in regional health, where today diseases like HIV and malaria are ravaging the area. Further, this program focuses on supporting the education of women and others who are unable to travel outside the African continent due to lack of funds and the need to continue working at their present place of employment.
You may read the article that first introduced the certificate program in The Purdue Pharmacist (Spring 2009, Vol. 83 No. 1, pages 16-17) by visiting www.pharmacy.purdue.edu/sites/www.pharmacy.purdue.edu/files/publications/pharmacist/v85_n1.pdf.
The Purdue College of Pharmacy regrets to announce the passing of Ms. Jackie Jimerson, former Director of the Office of Multicultural Programs, on August 23, 2015. Jackie was born in Chicago, Illinois, and grew up in East Chicago, Indiana. The first of six children, Jackie often served as caregiver for her siblings and cousins, thus developing a parental demeanor at an early age. She spent her life caring for other people’s children, as well as her own. After earning her B.S. and M.S. in Education (both from Purdue University), she taught Home Economics at Jefferson High School in Lafayette before returning to her alma mater to counsel Purdue students.
During her 32 years at Purdue, Ms. Jimerson worked tirelessly to increase the number and success rate of students, particularly minority students. She often worked sixty hours, seven days a week as Director of the Office of Multicultural Programs, a role she held from 1992 until her retirement in 2012. The number of minority students who graduated from the College of Pharmacy doubled during her tenure as Director. She made a remarkable difference in many lives, and her legacy lives on through the students.
Contributions in memory of Ms. Jimerson may be made to the Jackie Jimerson Scholarship Endowment Fund established in October 2011 by Pharmacy alumni to recognize student leaders participating in Multicultural Programs in the Purdue College of Pharmacy. You may make an online gift here.
In the Summer 2015 edition of The Purdue Pharmacist, the College of Pharmacy shared an article about siblings who have participated in the Multicultural Association of Pharmacy Students (MAPS), a program within the Office of Multicultural Programs which aims to develop and implement strategies, initiatives, and efforts to increase diversity and to enhance the academic success and professional development of program participants. In continuation of “Siblings in MAPS: Mapping Their Way Together,” we share with you now the story of the Golston brothers, former participants of the program.
Jermel (PharmD 2009) is the first of the Golston brothers to enter the Pharmacy program, but he was not the first in the family to attend Purdue. His older brothers, George and James, paved the way with their academic journeys. Jermel wanted to be just like George, but at the last minute decided to pursue pharmacy instead of engineering. He became interested in pharmacy when his high school best friend introduced him to the profession during their senior year. “I was sold on Purdue Pharmacy during my pharmacy days on campus where I met Jackie Jimerson, and I knew then and there that this was the place for me!”
Becoming part of MAPS helped Jermel acclimate to campus and classes. “My family comes from a culturally segregated community in Gary, Indiana, so the Purdue community came as a major culture shock,” he says. “Diversity poured from the sky and it was very intimidating at first, but the multicultural program helped me adjust to my new surroundings and gave me a sanctuary for me to strive in and be accepted. It gave me a sense of belonging.”
Dante (PharmD 2014) became interested in pharmacy after noticing how much Jermel was enjoying his career. “After much research and witnessing how well-respected and trusted my older brother was as a pharmacist, I decided to also give it a try,” he says. Jermel actually helped Dante get a job with Walgreens during his senior year of high school, and after that experience Dante knew that pharmacy was the career for him. With the pharmacy program being ranked as one of the top in the country, having already met Ms. Jimerson and knowing how beneficial she and MAPS would be to his success, and knowing the reputation of the university through his siblings, Dante chose to attend Purdue as not to break the family tradition.
The enthusiasm that Jermel and Dante shared about pharmacy rubbed off on their youngest brother, Martrell. “The topic of pharmacy was always talked about when they came home on breaks,” says Martrell. “The more I learned about the profession, the more I realized that I also had a passion for pharmacy.” His brothers certainly influenced him about choosing Purdue. “I didn’t know a lot of college-educated people growing up, yet I had these older brothers studying pharmacy at Purdue. I decided to follow their path.” MAPS and the direction of Ms. Jimerson helped give him the necessary skills for success. After three years in the program and much consideration, however, Martrell decided to transfer to Manchester University to complete his PharmD.
As can happen with siblings in the same field of study, the Golston brothers talk pharmacy all day, every day, but they consider this an advantage. “Martrell and Dante know what I went through and go through on a daily basis, and vice versa,” comments Jermel. “One disadvantage of having a sibling in the same program, however, was the thought of me failing after Jermel succeeded,” says Dante. “Even though it wasn’t a competition, I often feared the thought of disappointing myself and those who believed in me by not living up to my full potential.”
Jermel is a pharmacist at CVS in northwest Indiana and plans to apply as a preceptor for the local pharmacy schools in the area. “I’d like to guide the future pharmacists like my older colleagues did for me when I was at that stage.” After graduation, Dante decided to continue his career with Walgreens where he is now a pharmacy manager. He has goals to become a Board Certified Ambulatory Care Pharmacist, Certified Diabetes Educator, and a preceptor for Purdue students. Martrell will graduate this spring with plans to work in retail pharmacy. It should come as no surprise that their younger sister, Denisha, is also showing an interest in pharmacy. The Golston siblings often deliberate about fulfilling their ultimate goal of opening their own pharmacy in their hometown of Gary, Indiana, in the future.
3rd Year Professional PharmD Students
When Jacob Martin and Zack McCormack arrived on the Purdue campus as freshmen, they started out as engineering majors. The two met and became friends while living next door to each other in Shreve Hall and would often eat meals together and participate in activities with other friends from their floor.
Jacob recalls that neither of them were convinced that they wanted to be engineers, so he felt reassured when he realized he wasn’t the only one considering a change in major. “I initially had interest in biomedical engineering and possibly medical school,” he continues. “Luckily, I was introduced to the pharmacy profession during my freshman year and was surprised by the variety of possible career paths. Pharmacy appealed to me since I did not know exactly how I wanted to impact patients or healthcare. It only took one conversation with my advisor, Mr. Pat George, before I switched! He explained the benefits of a career in pharmacy, outlined the steps I needed to take, and made the process of switching painless.”
Upon Zack’s arrival, he knew he had a general interest and aptitude for math and science, though he wasn’t completely sure what avenue would be ideal to express these interests. After taking Calculus III his first semester, he quickly learned that engineering wasn’t it. “While I did fine in the course, I realized that I enjoyed material that had a greater clinical focus,” says Zack. “Talking with Mr. George and different pharmacists working in a number of areas, I gravitated toward pharmacy due to the subject matter and the diversity of career options available to an individual.” Having only been in engineering for one semester, Zack didn't know many people in his major overly well. “Your beginning classes are so large, it is a little intimidating to put yourself out there,” he says. “I wasn't giving up too much by leaving engineering from a personal or professional standpoint after I realized the material wasn't for me. That said, it was definitely nice having Jacob there, as there is a sense of security associated with knowing someone else is going through the same experience.”
Now in their third professional years in the Pharmacy program, they both recently completed summer internships in the pharmacy industry. Jacob was a U.S. Marketing Intern at Takeda Pharmaceuticals in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where his projects focused on the launch of a new oncology product. “I thoroughly enjoyed the position because it combined clinical and business knowledge,” says Jacob. “From learning how a brand is constructed, to seeing the interplay between commercial, medical, and regulatory functions, the experience was a comprehensive overview of the pharmaceutical industry. I also saw the value and direction pharmacists bring to marketing teams by working with alum Ryan Cohlhepp (PharmD 2000).” Because of these projects and mentors’ direction, Jacob wants to be involved with pharmaceutical marketing at some point in the future. “These teams can improve the health of thousands by precisely communicating what a product is and who will benefit most from it.”
Zack participated in three different internships in the Maryland/Washington D.C. area, but his primary internship was with the Healthcare Quality Standards division of the United States Pharmacopeia. “I worked on a number of projects in both a group and individual context to further public health ambitions,” he comments. “Such efforts included an international gap analysis relating to counterfeit and substandard medication policies, creation of education material for expert committees, development of position statements regarding current legislative items, and the establishment of a pharmacy rotation track.”
“On the West Lafayette campus, prepharmacy is very specific and well known for its rigor. It is not often we attract students from other majors, especially engineering,” comments Pat George, Director for Professional Program Admissions and Recruitment for the College of Pharmacy. “Zack and Jacob were a clear exception to the rule when we first met. Both displayed tremendous academic ability and sincere interest in our profession. Their strong characteristics of commitment and empathy were unmistakable, and watching them mature and succeed in the professional program has been extremely rewarding.” The College is pleased that Jacob and Zack decided to pursue pharmacy, and we look forward to following them through the remainder of their academic career and beyond.
Hometown: Greenwood, IN
Honors & Awards: Rho Chi Inductee, Robert C. Anderson Family Scholarship, August F. Hook Scholarship, Robert and Nancy Lipper Scholarship, Trustees Scholarship, C. Eugene Cato Memorial Scholarship
Current Participation in Organizations: Industry Pharmacists Organization, PharmD Curriculum Committee, Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy, Phi Lambda Sigma Pharmacy Leadership Society, Cru, campus tour guide
Hobbies & Interests: Running, traveling, watching Purdue basketball, learning to play piano
Post-graduation Plans: I plan to pursue industry fellowships in commercial or medical functions, possibly applying to MBA programs several years later.
“As a student in the College of Pharmacy, it can be easy to take Purdue’s name for granted, but our program’s alumni point to the College’s reputation. Purdue’s culture is one of excellence, and every alum or faculty member that I have reached out to is willing to pay it forward. The College has provided numerous opportunities for my professional growth, and I know many of my peers would say the same.”
Hometown: Avon, IN
Honors & Awards: Thomas Cunningham Pharmacy Scholarship, Purdue University Club of Hendricks County Scholarship, Purdue University Grand Prix Scholarship, CPNP Foundation Student Travel Scholarship, Rho Chi Certificate, Robert Anderson Family Scholarship, Pierle Family Charitable Foundation Scholarship, Purdue University Dean’s List, Purdue University Trustees Scholarship
Current Participation in Organizations: Purdue Phi Lambda Sigma, Purdue College of Psychiatric and Neurologic Pharmacists, Purdue Industrial Pharmacists Organization, Burton D. Morgan Entrepreneurship Fellows Program
Hobbies & Interests: Guitar, running, creative writing, avid music listener, watching the Chicago Cubs win
Post-graduation Plans: I plan to pursue a fellowship within the pharmaceutical industry, likely in a regulatory context. After working in the field for a period of time, I’ll likely pursue an additional degree (MBA or JD) should that further my ability to take an active role in the company and better assist patients.
“While trying, my time within the College of Pharmacy has instilled in me a knowledge base and skillset applicable to a diverse set of career opportunities, as well as a supportive network that has allowed me to grow professionally.”
In May 2015, Brian Shepler, Assistant Dean for Experiential Learning and Clinical Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice, along with Brooke Linn, former Assistant Director of the Office of Advising, traveled to Juneau, Alaska, for a College of Pharmacy rotation site visit at the Indian Health Service. While there, the two offered Continuing Education credits and a couple of workshops using the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality tools. Two Purdue pharmacy students were also on rotation there during the visit and were able to give presentations to the staff.
“The personality assessment and team building sessions opened the door for interesting discussion that will help us work together with improved efficiency,” says Dr. Teresa Kriletich Bruce, Pharmacy Director at SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) Ethel Lund Medical Center. “Brooke was a great facilitator—encouraging everyone to participate and making everyone feel comfortable to share their thoughts.” Dr. Bruce went on to say, “Brian's discussion on preceptor development and APPE standards was very helpful and well received, as was the discussion on phosphate binders.”
OneStepHire is an easy online resource where Purdue College of Pharmacy alumni can view job postings of interest within the field. Visit http://careers.pharmacy.purdue.edu today to begin your search for employment.
The Pharmacy Women for Purdue (PWFP) Spring Conference will be held during April 14-15, 2016, at Purdue University. PWFP supports and encourages professional and leadership development through networking opportunities with alumnae, and we welcome several guest speakers to campus each year to share their insight. More information about the event and PWFP can be found here or by contacting Dana Neary.
20th Anniversary BoileRx Golf Classic
Join us on Friday, June 3, 2016, for the 20th Anniversary of the BoileRx Golf Classic at the Birck Boilermaker Golf Complex. We'll be celebrating 20 years of golfing and raising money for scholarships! Additional information can be found here or by contacting Dana Neary.