July 15, 2019

School News

CASI Now Accepting Nominations for the 2019-2021 Term

The SoP’s Committee on Academic Staff Issues (CASI) is seeking nominations for SoP academic staff, including self-nominations, for the 2019-2021 term. They are looking to fill two roles, an instructional administration representative and research representative.

CASI was established at UW–Madison to represent academic and university staff members in developing and reviewing policies and procedures as well as identifying and promoting opportunities for academic and university staff.

CASI works closely with the Dean to tackle School initiatives and strategic priorities. The SoP’s CASI is currently working on ways to build a better community and increase staff recognition through things like the SoP Salute and campus-wide award nominations. This year CASI helped coordinate nominations for five university staff members and two academic staff members for campus-wide recognition and awards.

“CASI has allowed me to be involved in issues that impact the School of Pharmacy and to help build activities and events that promote community.  It has also been a wonderful opportunity to meet different people that work in the different areas of the SOP,” said Associate Researcher Jamie Stone.

Common events that CASI hosts at the SoP include employee trivia, staff appreciation breakfasts, a variety of potlucks, as well as walking and lunch groups. CASI members lead and assist these events as well as contribute creative ideas and perspectives from all SoP divisions.

Know someone who would make a great fit for the instructional administration representative or research representative? Fill out the nomination form by July 29. Elections will take place in August.

Learn more about CASI here.

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Alyson Kim Elected to UW Academic Staff Compensation and Economic Benefits Committee

Alyson Kim, Associate Dean for Marketing and Communications, has been elected to the university’s Academic Staff Compensation and Economic Benefits Committee (CEBC) and will serve a three-year term that began on July 1.

This campus committee reviews existing and proposed policies, legislation relating to academic staff compensation and fringe benefits, and recommends possible courses of action to the Academic Staff Executive Committee (ASEC), Academic Staff Assembly (ASA), and Academic Staff Professionals Representation Organization (ASPRO).

“Academic staff are critical to the success of this university, and I will be a strong advocate for competitive compensation and benefits practices that will attract and retain the best talent possible at UW. I also want to champion the issue of equal pay and help address the gender pay gap, where it’s persistent in higher ed,” said Kim.

Topics that CEBC has worked on the past several years include Critical Compensation Fund evaluation, bus pass fee, Category A maximum, sabbaticals for academic staff, and titling. The CEBC has nine seats for academic staff with three seats up for election annually.

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DPPD Hosts International Culture and Education Exchange Program for Pharmacists from China

DPPD will be hosting 18 pharmacy representatives from various locations across China from July 21-26. During their visit, the representatives will learn about the SoP’s PharmD program and the application of clinical pharmacy in practice settings.

Over the six days, the representatives will visit and tour the SoP, UW Health, Carbone Cancer Center, VA oncology clinic, and more. The primary learning objective at each location is to explain our pharmacy practice and the application of pharmacists’ clinical training. The Chinese delegation wishes to learn from exemplary practice settings like ours in order to enhance clinical services and better understand the value of pharmacists within their own country.

“We want representatives to leave with an idea of what a quality pharmacy clinical PharmD program is all about. We also want to highlight the fantastic application of clinical pharmacy we have in the practice settings around the Madison area like UW Health and the VA,” said DPPD Assistant Professor Brett Kelly.

DPPD has also invited graduate students to take part in the visit as a networking and learning opportunity. Kelly emphasized that this opportunity will be an exchange of knowledge and culture for students, staff, and colleagues.

DPPD would like to thank all the individuals from the SoP, UW Health Pharmacy, VA Pharmacy, Navitus Health Solutions, and Women’s International Pharmacy for their support and participation in this program.

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Olufunmilola Abraham Wins Grant to Study What Wisconsin Youth Know about Cancer and Cancer Prevention

SAS Assistant Professor Olufunmilola Abraham won a grant from the American Cancer Society that will fund a study to find out what kids in Wisconsin ages 13-18 know about cancer and cancer prevention. She will begin research in fall 2019 by surveying and conducting focus groups at state schools.

All students will take a survey and be given an option to participate in a focus group with eight to ten peers. The goal is for Abraham and her collaborators to leave with an understanding of what the students know about cancer and prevention, and how they’d like to learn about it in the future.

“Many kids and even adults lack basic knowledge of cancer until they or someone they know gets it. I want to teach people that some cancers can be prevented with lifestyle decisions, and it’s never too early to start,” said Abraham.

After the survey and focus groups, Abraham and her collaborators will conceptualize a game-based or interactive approach that incorporates the findings from their research. Abraham knows that game-based approaches to education can be successful, as she just developed a game to teach kids about opioid abuse. However, she has noted that some students may have other preferred ways of learning such as video.

“We may learn that there is one prevalent cancer among a community, or that there is one cancer the kids are most interested in. We’d like to cater the suggested approach to what and how they want to learn, but we’re also focused on educating the students on gastrointestinal (GI) cancer,” said Abraham. “GI cancer is very prevalent in specific communities, and we know education could be better.”

GI cancer includes any cancer in the gastrointestinal system such as stomach, colon, and colorectal cancer. Abraham is hoping to receive another grant in the near future that would advance this research and allow her to focus on curriculum specifically for GI cancer.

Her goal is that this research and suggested approach to cancer education can be incorporated into middle and high school health classes across Wisconsin.

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Jay FordJay Ford Wins Grant to Research Pharmacists’ Role in the Opioid Crisis

Jay Ford received a State Targeted Response (STR) grant from the Department of Health Services (DHS) to research what pharmacists in Wisconsin are currently doing for prevention and treatment of opioid use disorders. In addition, he will also research the effectiveness of pharmacists administering vivitrol to patients with opioid addiction.

Vivitrol is a non-addictive, once-monthly treatment proven to prevent relapse in opioid dependent patients and is unique in Wisconsin because pharmacists can administer the injections by state law. A once-a-month dose of vivitrol is a great alternative to other common treatment drugs like methadone, which must be dispensed and taken in pill form every day.

Ford and his collaborators will begin their research by surveying a variety of pharmacists located in 20 counties that have been identified as the highest need by the state as it relates to opioid use disorders. This includes Dane, Milwaukee, La Crosse, and Adams county, as well as six native American tribes. The data collected will be used to create a best practices toolkit for other pharmasists to use and implement new services.

“We will try and get an understanding of some of the different services that these pharmacies offer and help them implement services that could increase their effectiveness. For example, conducting pharmacy call backs after a patient visit to see how they’re managing their pain or to see if they need to change their prescription in some way,” said Ford.

Once complete in September, Ford hopes this study leads to an opportunity to extend the grant contract to develop educational materials that DHS staff and others can use to try to educate the community about a role of pharmacists in the opioid crisis.

Learn more about how Jay Ford and other SoP faculty are fighting the opioid epidemic.

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Laurel Legenza Selected as a 2019 HELI Scholar

SAS Assistant Scientist Laurel Legenza was one of 24 scholars nationally selected to participate in the 2019 Health Equity Leadership Institute (HELI) from June 17-21. The HELI program is primarily intended for early-stage research investigators and individuals in early-stage research career positions who are engaged in minority health and health disparities research.

During the five-day program, scholars had the opportunity to participate in a variety of presentations, panels, and discussions that focused on the challenges faced by early-stage academics and researchers in the health equity space. The program is carefully structured to include both large didactic sessions, as well as small group sessions, special events, and mentoring opportunities.

“It was an honor to be selected to learn alongside these incredible scholars. There was time and space to share the challenges we have all experienced working in this space. We left inspired to keep going in our strive towards health equity,” said Legenza.

Legenza’s health equity work is currently based in rural Wisconsin where she is developing an antibiotic resistance map to help improve antibiotic effectiveness. Globally, her work extends to South Africa where she is researching drought in low-resource settings and an understudied infection, Clostridium difficile (C. difficile), which is regarded as an urgent health threat by the Centers for Disease Control.

Read more about Legenza’s work on improving global health.

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Olayinka Shiyanbola Earns Grant to Expand Diabetes Adherence Program

SAS Assistant Professor Olayinka Shiyanbola received a grant from the UW Institute for Clinical Research Community-Academic Partnerships Pilot Award Program (UW ICTR CAP) to advance her Peers Lead Program, which focuses on increasing diabetes medication adherence among African Americans in Madison and Milwaukee.

The Peers Lead program helps African American patients with diabetes learn about diabetes, medications, and how to better manage their care. Over an eight-week period, participants have three face-to-face meetings and five phone calls with a peer ambassador who serves as their mentor and ‘buddy’ throughout the program. During these phone calls and group sessions, participant beliefs about diabetes and medicines are addressed. Participants also build skills on how to talk to their healthcare providers and family/friends about diabetes and are counseled on best diabetes care practices. Most importantly, they receive peer support from other African Americans with diabetes using medicines.

The new grant will allow the Peers Lead program to grow in several significant ways. In the Madison program, the number of ambassadors will go from 10 to 20, doubling the program in size. Each peer ambassador will now be partnered with two peer buddies instead of one.

Shiyanbola was also able to hire a coordinator to oversee the expansion of the program in Milwaukee. This coordinator will help select new participants, find appropriate locations for group meetings, and help organize similar sessions. The Milwaukee program will begin in January.

Thirdly, the grant will allow Shiyanbola to compensate participants for their use of cell phone data, which will allow the program to use the mobile application WhatsApp for communication. The program plans to help participants learn to use the messaging application WhatsApp to foster communication between the ambassadors and their peers. WhatsApp will serve as an easier and more convenient way for ambassadors to communicate.

“The nice thing about WhatsApp is you can send links, media, create groups, and even video chat. It will allow ambassadors and peer leaders an opportunity to communicate outside of their scheduled meetings and create a larger sense of community and support,” said Shiyanbola. “For example, they can send recipes, motivational YouTube videos, and links to articles to supplement their phone discussions.”

Lastly, the new grant will allow the program to offer compensation for attendance at a feedback session at the end of the program. An incentive can be very important for participants who need help with childcare and no access to direct transportation. This last meeting is critical for measuring the results of the program. A1C levels are taken and participants are asked to give qualitative feedback. In addition, peer ambassadors are able to reconnect with their peer buddies, further fostering their relationship.

“Our long-term goal is to continue increasing the cohort size and begin working more with health systems. Right now, the program is community-based, but I would love to see it offered as a resource on a larger scale,” said Shiyanbola.

Read more about her research on medication adherence.

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Get to Know SoP

Buzzing Around


Sharon Vetter

Sharon Vetter, Assistant Dean for Research Administration, will be retiring in early August after 12 years of dedicated service at the SoP. Sharon came to the SoP from the Department of Pediatrics in the School of Medicine and Public Health in 2007 when she began her tenure as Assistant Dean for Research Administration. She has excelled in her position and has helped the School grow its research enterprise significantly in recent years.

“Any of our faculty who have submitted major collaborative applications know that Sharon is one of the best in her field on a campus that is one of the busiest academic research centers in the country. Sharon is highly regarded among her peers and is dedicated to the success of our staff, students, postdocs, and faculty. She’s kept us compliant in an era of complex and ever-changing regulations. We will miss her,” said Paul Marker, Associate Dean for Research.

In retirement, Sharon plans to spend more time with her four grandchildren, as well as volunteer, craft and do some traveling with her husband. Their first trip will be to Kentucky for some of their favorite fruitcake, fudge, and bourbon.

“I’ve been able to develop some really great relationships at the SoP that have grown beyond pharmacy. We intend to continue our friendships in retirement,” said Vetter. “I’ve even talked to Joan Palmer about collaborating on a book. I’m very excited about that.”

Sharon’s last day in the office will be August 2. Her role as Assistant Dean for Research Administration was filled by Christine Preston who began on July 1. RSVP for Sharon’s retirement party on July 30 here.


Joan Palmer 

After 12 years at the SoP, Joan Palmer is retiring from her role as Senior Administrative Program Specialist Grants Manager for the Pharmaceutical Sciences Division (PSD).

Joan began her time at the SoP in 2007 after working in UW Health’s Radiology Department and UW-Extension for a decade. Prior to her work for the UW system, she did grants administration for nonprofits and was a managing editor for educational journals and books and a food feature writer for a major LA metro newspaper.

Before Joan and Assistant Dean of Research Administration Sharon Vetter arrived at the SoP, the School processed about 35 grants a year. During Joan’s first year at the SoP, she processed 50 grants in PSD alone. Today, Joan manages about 100 grants a year and has facilitated about $150 million in direct grant funding for UW.

“Joan is by far the best grants administrator in her particular role that I’ve ever seen. She’s been instrumental in improving our success rate in obtaining federal funding,” said Ron Burnette, Pharmaceutical Sciences Division Chair and Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs. “Joan is also exquisitely good at encouraging and helping graduate students and postdocs submit grants to get funding. I can’t say enough good things about her — it will be hard to find someone to fill her shoes.”

In retirement, Joan plans to spend time on her 200-acre sheep farm, renovate her family-owned restaurant, and create the definitive fiber studio. She and Sharon Vetter are planning to write a cookbook featuring the original recipes and history of the Madison Club where Sharon’s father was head chef.

“My parting advice to anybody who has an office in the north facing tower is to get a pair of binoculars and a bird book as office accouterments. Eagles fly past my window on a regular basis, and in the winter, catch the ice fisherman,” said Palmer. “I’m expecting one of them to go through the ice at some point. Never let the view become wallpaper.”

Joan’s last day is August 4, 2019. Her position will be backfilled, and a search is underway for an additional grants manager. RSVP for Joan’s retirement party on July 30 here.


Amy McIlvaine — Senior Administrative Program Specialist with SAS Assistant Professor Jay Ford, retired on June 23.



Samantha Allen 

Sami Allen, PPD Experiential Education Program Assistant, is headed to Raleigh, North Carolina, where she will be a graduate student studying landscape design at North Carolina State University.

“Working for the School of Pharmacy has been an honor and a great learning experience. I will be able to take a lot of what I learned here and apply it to my forthcoming graduate school experience. I’m grateful for my time at UW SoP and will miss Madison,” said Allen.

Sami’s last day was July 12.

Aditya Avula — Associate Research Specialist with the Zeeh Pharmaceutical Experiment Station, last day was July 2.






New Hires:

Alissa Karnaky Alumni Relations and Advancement Coordinator

Alissa Karnaky will be joining the SoP on July 17 as the new Alumni Relations and Advancement Coordinator as part of the newly created Advancement team, led by David Mott, Associate Dean for Advancement.

She brings her knowledge and experience as an advancement professional from the College of Letters & Science where she’s been the Director of Alumni and Donor Engagement since 2017. Her experience includes roles at the UW School of Social Work as a marketing and development specialist where she created a strong advancement program by establishing quality donor communications, fundraising campaigns, and outreach events.

Caleb DeWitt HR Assistant

Caleb DeWitt joined the SoP on June 25 as the new HR Assistant in the Business Office. He will be working with HR Manager Jenni Regan to support the School’s growing HR needs, with a focus in the areas of recruitment, onboarding, and performance management.

Caleb most recently worked for AmeriCorps in Pittsburgh where he managed human resource functions, including onboarding, training, performance management, administration, and logistics.

Changyeol Lee — Postdoc Research Associate with PSD Professor Tim Bugni, started on July 1.






Matthew Huppert — Post-Grad Trainee with the Community Pharmacy Resident Program, started on July 1.




Tyler Luu — Post-Grad Trainee with the Community Pharmacy Resident Program, started on July 1.




Catherine Tolar— Post-Grad Trainee with the Community Pharmacy Resident Program, started on July 1.







Ahamed Ahamed — Post-Grad Trainee with the Community Pharmacy Resident Program, started on July 1.






Michael Ryan — Postdoc Research Associate with PSD Assistant Professor Jennifer Golden, started on July 1.

Andrea Szabados — Post-Grad Trainee with the Community Pharmacy Resident Program, started on July 1.

Qihao Wu — Postdoc Research Associate with PSD Professor Tim Bugni, started on June 15.

Ryan Fan — Post-Grad Trainee with the Community Pharmacy Resident Program, started on July 1.


Promotions and Appointments

Congratulations to…

Kendra Gurnee on her promotion to Senior Student Services Coordinator. Kendra began her time at the SoP in November 2017 as the Student Service Coordinator for the PharmTox undergraduate program. She has a variety of responsibilities including academic and career advising for students, planning events, organizing the PharmTox graduation reception, overseeing the admissions process, recruiting and educating prospective students about the degree, and assisting with the spring seminar class. She is also the co-chair of a campus-wide advising committee for bioscience advisors and serves on a second committee dedicated to technology in advising.


Jiaoyang Jiang on her promotion to Associate Professor with tenure effective August 19. This year she was awarded several honors, including the 2019 David Y. Gin New Investigator Award from the American Chemical Society (ACS) as the most impressive early career scientist. She was also one of only 15 faculty on campus to be selected for the 2019 UW Vilas Early Career Investigator Award for her research and scholarly work at the SoP. To top it all off, she earned two R01 grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the past two years.



Warren Rose on his appointment to Associate Professor with tenure. In 2018, Rose was named an American College of Clinical Pharmacy (ACCP) Fellow in recognition of his exceptional clinical and research performance, as well as his service to ACCP through reviewing abstracts, presenting research, and working on an infectious disease task force to explore new potential initiatives within the organization. He also received ACCP’s Distinguished Investigator Award in 2018.

Over the past several years, Rose has been a recipient of many grants including a recent one from Merck to research the impact of risk factors, susceptibility, and treatment patterns on antibiotic outcomes associated with Pseudomonas aeruginosa and an R01 from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to research Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

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Photo Gallery: Sonderegger Research Center Open House – June 18

On June 18, the Sonderegger Research Center invited SoP faculty, staff, colleagues, and friends to celebrate the re-opening of their newly renovated space.

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Photo Gallery: Pharmaceutics Graduate Student Research Meeting (PGSRM) – June 13-15

The SoP hosted the Pharmaceutics Graduate Student Research Meeting (PGSRM) at the Memorial Union and the Pyle Center on June 13-15. The Pharmaceutical Sciences graduate student body is involved in planning and hosting the event on our campus every eight to ten years.

Congratulations to Pharmaceutical Sciences PhD student Lauren Repp from the Glen Kwon Research Group who earned the 1st Place Best Poster Award.

Photo Credit: Graduate student Montira “Mint” Tangsangasaksri

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Baby News

Congratulations to Sam Ryan, Web Operations Manager, on his new addition!

Kennedy Mae Ryan

June 11, 2019

6 lb., 13 oz.

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Faculty/Staff Spotlight

Name: Tim Bugni

Job title: Professor, Pharmaceutical Sciences

Hometown:  Butte, Montana

Tell us what you do…

I spend a fair bit of my time mentoring students, postdocs, and managing research. My research program is focused on mining molecules from marine bacteria for the purposes of drug discovery. We have a major emphasis on discovering new therapeutic leads for infectious disease with a focus on multi-drug resistant fungal and bacterial pathogens.

What you are currently working on?

I am the local organizer for a national/international conference that will be held in Madison in July.  The conference is for the American Society of Pharmacognosy (ASP). Pharmacognosy in general terms is the study of the chemistry found in nature. Also, my lab is working on a promising agent to treat Candida auris, which received an immense amount of news over the past month or so including capturing the front page of the New York Times.  The molecule discovered in my lab has shown impressive efficacy in a mouse model of Candida auris infection.

Who inspires you and why?

I find continuous inspiration in all aspects of my life in Madison. The faculty at UW inspire me as a scientist and a scholar. The staff at UW inspire me through their dedication to the university. The people in Madison inspire me through their continued community efforts. It’s really an amazing place.

If you see me around, stop and talk to me about… My son – Espen, mountain biking, skiing, or canyoneering.

What about your work makes you the most proud? 

Seeing students and postdocs move on to start their own careers. In particular, seeing students grow as scientists on their way to earning a PhD.

What’s something about you that we wouldn’t learn from your resume alone? 

One of my favorite outdoor activities is technical canyoneering. Last year, my wife and I got a permit (via a lottery) for Mystery Canyon in Zion National Park. To descend the canyon, it required 14 rappels including two over 100 ft and just over 9 hours. I’ve included one picture of the exit from the canyon into the Zion Narrows.

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Madison Recommendations

Public Stargazing at Washburn

Katie Gerhards – Assistant Director, Content Marketing

Take a night to gaze at stars and planets with the UW-Madison Astronomy Department’s telescope on Observatory Hill. The open house sessions are hosted by UW astronomy graduate students and are open on the first and third Wednesday of each month, and every Wednesday in June through August, weather permitting. Did I mention it’s FREE?!

Find the hours here.

Insider Tip: Get there early to hang out on Observatory Hill to watch the sunset before heading to the observatory. Also, check their Twitter account before you go to make sure visibility is good. If it is cloudy, they may cancel.


Concerts on the Square

Jasmyn Booker — Internal Communications Specialist

Soak up the summer every Wednesday in July at 7 p.m. with Concerts on the Square. Invite a group of friends or family and enjoy the evening listening to live music. Take a blanket or fold-out chair for sitting and your favorite snack and beverage.

Insider tip: Get there around 6:30 p.m. to secure your spot on the Capital lawn. If you stick around afterwards, head to Lucille’s for live jazz and pizza.


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