College Connections
An electronic newsletter from the College of Pharmacy

March 11, 2022
Greetings from the Dean
It’s mid-March; we are half-way through the semester and our 2022 convocation and commencement are just around the corner. We have passed the second-year anniversary of the COVID pandemic and as I think back, it was just a little over two years ago that instruction in the College went entirely remote except for our introductory and advanced pharmacy practice experiences. I think we all agree the past two years have been stressful, but at the same time has bound us together as pharmacists. We have needed resilience to get us through. Our students and faculty demonstrated a high level of resilience, but the process can be very personal as we learned to adapt and change. We continue to grow, strengthening connections and developing new ones. 

The College has been busy with the kick-off of our new Bachelor of Science in Pharmaceutical Sciences with the University of Nebraska Omaha. We started our first cohort in January. We anticipate continued growth as we generate graduates for the workforce as well as for our professional and graduate programs. We have also signed a new agreement with Hastings College for an early assured admission program to enhance pharmacy education across Nebraska. 

As the school year winds down, I plan to travel across the state, visiting pharmacies and health-systems, and joining the Nebraska Pharmacy Association at their regional meetings. I look forward to meeting and connecting with you on these travels!
College News
College Welcomes New Staff Member
Patti Marsh recently joined the college as an Office of Experiential Programs Associate. Patti brings almost 29 years of experience in an academic setting to the office.

Patti enjoys traveling, gardening, and spending time with her daughter. She had the trip of her lifetime 4 years ago, traveling to India for a wedding. She was able to take in the Taj Mahal, swimming in the Arabian Sea, and lots of freshly caught seafood. Welcome Patti!
Faculty News
And the award goes to.....
It's award season in Hollywood and at the University! Please see the latest wins by the College of Pharmacy!
UNeMed Innovation 2021 Awards
UNeMed 2021 Startup of the Year- Ensign Pharmaceutical, Dong Wang, PhD
UNeMed 2021 Creator of Licensed Technology- Dong Wang, PhD
UNeMed 2021 Inventors with issued Patents- Janina Baranowska-Kortylewicz, PhD, Zhenshan Jia, PhD, Rongshi Li, PhD, Jonathan Vennerstrom, PhD, Joseph Vetro, PhD, & Dong Wang, PhD
2021 UNMC Research Award Winners
New Investigator Award- Chris Shaffer, PharmD, PhD
Distinguished Scientist Award- DJ Murry, PharmD
Distinguished Scientist Award- Paul Trippier, PhD
Honorary Scientist Laureate- Courtney Fletcher, PharmD
2020-2021 College of Pharmacy Faculty Awards
Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences Scholar of the Year- David Oupicky, PhD
Department of Pharmacy Practice & Science Scholar of the Year-Kimberly Scarsi, PharmD
College Impact Award- Kristen Cook, PharmD
Other Awards and Recognitions

Paul Dobesh, PharmD- Elected Fellow of the American Heart Association (FAHA) conferred by the Council on Clinical Cardiology (CLCD). Newly named Fellow of the American College of Cardiology.
Mary Leick, PharmD- Appointed to the Board of Pharmacy Specialties (BPS) Solid Organ Transplantation Specialty Council for the term of 2022-2024.
David Oupicky, PhD- Newly appointed principal investigator and leader of UNMC's Nanomedicine Center of Biomedical Research Excellence.
Jonathan Vennerstrom, PhD- 2021 Omaha ACS Section Distinguished Career in Chemistry Award Winner
Recent Faculty Publications
ZIP8-Mediated Intestinal Dysbiosis Impairs Pulmonary Host Defense against Bacterial Pneumonia
Samuelson D.R., Smith D.R., Cunningham K.C., Wyatt T.A., Hall S.C., Murry D.J., Chhonker Y.S., Knoell D.L.
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022 23:3
Efavirenz pharmacokinetics and HIV-1 viral suppression among patients receiving TB treatment containing daily high-dose rifapentine
Podany A.T., Pham M., Sizemore E., Martinson N., Samaneka W., Mohapi L., Badal-Faesen S., Dawson R., Johnson J.L., Mayanja H., Lalloo U., Whitworth W.C., Pettit A., Campbell K., Phillips P., Bryant K., Scott N., Vernon A., Kurbatova E., Chaisson R.E., Dorman S., Nahid P., Swindells S., Dooley K.E., Fletcher C.V.
Clin Infect Dis 2021 :
Dual-function nanostructured lipid carriers to deliver IR780 for breast cancer treatment: Anti-metastatic and photothermal anti-tumor therapy
Li H., Wang K., Yang X., Zhou Y., Ping Q., Oupicky D., Sun M.
Acta Biomater. 2017 53: (399-413)
Mineralized nanofiber segments coupled with calcium-binding BMP-2 peptides for alveolar bone regeneration
Boda S.K., Almoshari Y., Wang H., Wang X., Reinhardt R.A., Duan B., Wang D., Xie J.
Acta Biomater. 2019 85: (282-293)
The Impact of Eliminating Backward Navigation on Computerized Examination Scores and Completion Time
Cochran G.L., Foster J.A., Klepser D.G., Dobesh P.P., Dering-Anderson A.M.
Am J Pharm Educ 2020 84:12 (ajpe8034)
Valganciclovir for the treatment of cytomegalovirus infections in pediatric intestinal transplant recipients: A case series
Henry M., Leick M., Florescu D.F., Keck M.
Pediatr. Transplant. 2021 25:6
Peroxide Antimalarial Drugs Target Redox Homeostasis in Plasmodium falciparum Infected Red Blood Cells
Siddiqui G., Giannangelo C., De Paoli A., Schuh A.K., Heimsch K.C., Anderson D., Brown T.G., Macraild C.A., Wu J., Wang X., Dong Y., Vennerstrom J.L., Becker K., Creek D.J.
ACS Infect. Dis. 2022 8:1 (210-226)
Student News
SHARING Clinic Board Presents Inaugural Award 
The 2021 SHARING Clinic Student Pharmacist Award of Excellence was presented to P2 student, Austin Johnson.

This award recognizes a student volunteer at the SHARING Clinic who has given a significant amount of their time and expertise to care for the underserved patients in Omaha that the SHARING Clinic serves.

The award was presented by the current pharmacy representatives on the SHARING Clinic Board, Riley Bowen, Meghan Schuff Zimmerman, Caitlin Lemmons, and Chase Petersen. Way to go Austin!
APhA-ASP Patient Counseling Champion Named
P1 Theo Blum was crowned the champion of the UNMC APhA-ASP chapter's patient counseling competition.

A total of 10 students faced off in two rounds of competition. With P3 Kim Gollhofer coming in second and a tie for third place between P4 Kristin McLarty and P3 Riley Bowen.

Theo will compete later this month at the APhA 2022 annual meeting in San Antonio, TX. Good luck Theo!
College of Pharmacy Spotlight
Highlighting a college alumni, student, and/or faculty member!
Today we hear from P4 Ruby Wang and alumni Aaron Pierce from the class of 2008!
Ruby Wang
PharmD Candidate 2022
Where were you born and where did you go to high school?
I was born in Shenyang, China and went to high school at “No.11 middle school of Shenyang”

Where did you complete your undergraduate requirements for pharmacy school?
I did my undergraduate at “Shenyang pharmaceutical university”.
Major: Pharmaceutical engineering
I did my master’s degree at “Peking University Medical Center”. Major: Pharmacy 

What is your favorite part of pharmacy school?
The stimulation labs are really cool because we, as a pharmacist candidate, can do clinical practices even at the campus. This makes us more professional in and closer to our pharmacy career in the future, this should be one of the things that makes us difference. 

Have you decided where you might like to practice when you graduate?
I have not decided where to go yet, but there is a big chance that I go back to China, either working as a pharmacist in the hospital or find a job in one of the pharmaceutical companies. 
If you could send a brief message to all of the people who donate to the UNMC College of Pharmacy, what would you say?
I would like to express my deepest gratitude for your unselfish contribution to light our campus. I am so happy to study here using the best study equipment. Your donations really make a big different compared to what the campus looked like before. 
Aaron Pierce, PharmD
Class of 2008
Where were you born and where did you go to high school?
I was born in Lincoln NE and went to Southeast High School graduating in 2000. 
Where did you complete your undergraduate requirements for pharmacy school? 
I attended UNL where I graduated with a BS in biochemistry. I played trumpet in the marching band while I was there and played in the Rose Bowl in 2002 and marched in the Rose Parade. 

I got married after pharmacy school to a wonderful girl and we are celebrating our 18th year of marriage this year. We have 2 boys, 60 chickens, 2, dogs, 2 cats, rabbits, goats and bees.

What is your favorite memory from pharmacy school?
My favorite memory from pharmacy school was the people! I had some really wonderful folks in my pharmacy class. I still see a few of them to this day that work in and around Lincoln. I graduated in 2008.

Describe your career path since you graduated.
After graduation, I completed a PGY-1 pharmacy practice residency at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St Louis. It was by far the hardest year of my life! However, I would have done it all over again for everything that I learned and experienced! 

I applied for and was offered a PGY-2 position in solid organ transplant at Vanderbilt in Nashville but we found out we were pregnant during the interview process and decided to move back to Nebraska to be closer to grandparents. 
I started working at Bryan Health in 2009. I worked in a large variety of areas including nephrology, neurology, geriatrics, medical and trauma ICUs and med/surg. During the 9 years I was there, I assisted in starting new service lines including a bariatric service and was a charter member and internal medicine preceptor for the residency program, was on the falls, and formulary teams participating in several formulary interchange processes. I was the first pharmacist at Bryan to attain my board certification (BCPS) in 2015.

I was awarded a trauma champion award which is given to the first 24 hours of responders for very severe life-threatening traumas and was lucky to be the only member of pharmacy on the multidisciplinary core values team which re-wrote Bryan’s mission statement and core values. I even was a mad scientist in a skit that my wife and I wrote that presented these core values to the entire Bryan leadership team. 

After 9 years with Bryan, I was offered a position as the director of pharmacy for Select Specialty Hospital which was a 24-bed unit rented on the 7th floor of Bryan West. It was a critical care recovery hospital that regularly saw ICU and PCU level patients with large wounds, traumas, long-term antibiotics, tracheostomies and vasoactive drips. The Lincoln location closed in November of 2021, and I'm currently at the Omaha location.

This spring, I began a lecturing at Union College, teaching pharmacology to the PA students which kinda scares the crap out of me as its been a minute since I have taken pharmacology!
If you could give 1 message to future pharmacists, what would it be?

If I could give 1 message to future pharmacists it would be to do the thing that scares you! You will be tired by your fourth year and want to graduate. Do the difficult rotation or the one that is far away! I did a rotation in Warm Springs OR and loved it. Take the job that challenges or scares you! Do the things that make you feel pushed academically and professionally. It will lead to growth and great satisfaction in your career in life. And finally, find something outside of work that you love to do. Pharmacy is a very demanding but also very rewarding career. Find your passion outside of your career that you love!
Interested in becoming a Preceptor? Contact Dr. Amy Pick for more information!