June 16, 2020

School News

The SoP Prepares for Leadership Changes in July

  • Arash Bashirullah named Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Education
  • Lara Collier named Director of Graduate Studies, Pharmaceutical Sciences Graduate Program
  • Chuck Lauhon now Associate Dean for Continuing Studies
  • Paul Marker elected Chair of the Pharmaceutical Sciences Division

The School continues to review our organizational structure to ensure that the SoP has the framework needed to excel. Mirroring the structure of campus, SoP will expand the role of Associate Dean for Research to include graduate education.

“Our graduate education programs have always been an intrinsic and fundamental part of our research enterprise, so there’s operational value in having a leadership role that oversees both of these critical functions,” said Dean Steve Swanson. “The SoP also would be more consistently structured like the Office of the Vice Chancellor of Research and Graduate Education on campus.”

In addition, as previously announced, Professor Ron Burnette is stepping down as the chair of the Pharmaceutical Sciences Division (PSD), a position in which he has served since July 2011. The division elected Professor Paul Marker to become the next PSD Chair.

“Please join me in thanking Ron for his extraordinary service and leadership during his tenure as PharmSci Chair,” said Swanson. “He earned the trust of all with his deep knowledge, sincere compassion, and wise judgement. This trust allowed Ron to be a highly effective chair who made a difference. The School is a better place to learn and work because of his leadership. On a personal note, Ron has been an abundant fount of wise counsel for me and has always been there when I needed him. He has made me a better dean.”

“I would like to thank Ron Burnette for doing an outstanding job as Division Chair over the last several years,” said Marker. “Like Dick Peterson before him, Ron provided steady leadership in both good times and challenging times. I look forward to working closely with the faculty, staff, and students in the PSD in the coming years. I hope to support their collective efforts as we work to get through the current challenging times and emerge stronger in the future.”

With Marker’s new position as PSD Chair, Marker is relinquishing his current role as Associate Dean for Research. The dean has named Associate Professor Arash Bashirullah to become SoP’s new Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Education. Bashirulluah will oversee all SoP research, research centers (e.g., AIC, Medicinal Chemistry Center, WisCNano, Sonderegger Center, and Zeeh Station), research administration, and graduate education (e.g., Pharmaceutical Sciences PhD program and Health Services Research in Pharmacy PhD program).

“I am very excited about the prospects of Paul and Arash taking up these important leadership positions in the School,” said Swanson. “Arash is a brilliant and creative thinker who will no doubt develop exciting new strategies with our faculty for future research and collaboration across campus.

“Paul has been vice chair of PharmSci and has a deep knowledge and understanding of that division and the UW–Madison campus. He is a proven leader who has led the historic shutdown and now re-starting our entire research enterprise. Paul led the SoP plan for this Herculean task thoughtfully and carefully. He is now leading the re-boot of research in Rennebohm Hall with patience and fairness,” added Swanson.

“I’m honored and look forward to serving the School of Pharmacy community in this new role,” said Bashirullah. “I know there’s a lot of uncertainty in the present, but I’m really excited about our future as a School. Times of change also provide many opportunities for growth. I have the utmost faith in our community, and I am confident that together we will come out ahead.”

Associate Professor Chuck Lauhon, who served as Associate Dean for Graduate Studies, will assume a larger and critical leadership role as

the new Associate Dean for Continuing Studies. Lauhon will focus on developing the School’s new online and hybrid master’s programs, like the recently launched MS in Applied Drug Development.

“Offering more master’s degree programs that meet a market need will be critical to growing our revenue and help keep the School financially solid,” said Swanson. “I am very excited about Chuck assuming this new role for the School. He has vast historical and institutional knowledge and a great appreciation for the complexities and nuances of UW–Madison governance. He is well respected and trusted, not only in the School, but on Bascom Hill and across campus. He and Eric Buxton, DPPD Chair, make a great team.”

“In my new role, I will be working to support Eric Buxton to develop a number of professional master’s degree programs to help prepare students and early career professionals for a wide variety of careers in the development and use of pharmaceuticals,” said Lauhon. “I am excited for this new challenge to help the School expand its repertoire of graduate programs to meet today’s evolving workforce needs.”

With Lauhon assuming the new role of building out the School’s master’s program portfolio, Associate Professor Lara Collier will transition into the new position of Director of Graduate Studies, Pharmaceutical Sciences Graduate Program.

“I am confident that the Pharmaceutical Sciences graduate program will be in good hands with Prof. Collier. She has extensive experience in graduate education on campus and is a tireless supporter of graduate students from all backgrounds,” said Lauhon.

“Chuck Lauhon is leaving me some pretty big shoes to fill, but I am excited about this opportunity to work closely with both faculty and students to ensure that our Pharmaceutical Sciences graduate program continues to thrive,” said Collier. “My goal is to provide our students every opportunity necessary to help them achieve their educational, research, and career goals.”

Professor Michelle Chui will continue as Director of Graduate Studies, Health Services Research in Pharmacy Graduate Program. With the departure of Ken Niemeyer, the School will recruit for the position of Graduate Studies Coordinator.

In other leadership news, Professor Ron Burnette is also stepping down as Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs. This role will not be filled, with most of these responsibilities to be handled by the dean, including annual faculty activity reviews and SoP Executive Committee coordination.

In the Pharmacy Practice Division, Associate Professor John Dopp is Vice Chair of the division.

The Pharmaceutical Sciences Division will hold an election to select a new vice chair who will represent the Drug Delivery core. Chuck Lauhon remains a vice chair, representing the Drug Discovery core.

In summary, the following leadership moves will take effect on July 1:

  • Paul Marker – Chair of Pharmaceutical Sciences Division
  • Arash Bashirullah – Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Education
  • Lara Collier – Director of Graduate Studies, Pharmaceutical Sciences Graduate Program
  • Chuck Lauhon – Associate Dean for Continuing Studies

Back to Top


Peers LEAD Program Expands with New Baldwin Grant

SAS Associate Professor Olayinka Shiyanbola received a Baldwin Grant from the Morgridge Center For Public Service to integrate her Peers LEAD Program into an existing diabetes self-management program. Peers LEAD focuses on increasing diabetes medication adherence among African Americans (AAs) in Madison and Milwaukee.

In July 2019, Wisconsin lawmakers called diabetes a “staggering” problem expected to get worse. More than 1,300 Wisconsinites die from diabetes annually and many more suffer diabetes-related complications. This burden is higher among minorities, especially among AAs.

There is a critical need to implement and disseminate culturally appropriate programs that focus on improving medication adherence and outcomes and reduce diabetes disparities among AAs in Wisconsin. The Peers LEAD program will integrate into diabetes self-management programs already in Wisconsin AA communities to adequately address key barriers for improving medication adherence. Some common barriers for AA’s include health beliefs, provider distrust, and limited health literacy. Combining the program with one that already exists allows for sufficient attention to medication adherence in diabetes self-management programs.

With this grant, Shiyanbola hopes to decrease diabetes-related morbidity among AAs in Milwaukee through the pilot integration of Peers LEAD and a disseminated diabetes self-management program called Healthy Living with Diabetes. Peers LEAD will enhance the success of the Healthy Living with Diabetes program to extend its impact and effectiveness for AAs with diabetes.

“The program is about building up self-efficacy skills and creating a toolbox for patients to communicate with their family and health providers about diabetes,” said Shiyanbola. “We worked with our community partners and patient advisory groups to develop and implement a theory-driven novel program to improve medication adherence among AAs with type 2 diabetes, Peers LEAD. Peers LEAD provides AAs with culturally appropriate diabetes and medication beliefs information, one-on-one peer support from AAs with diabetes, and behavioral skill-development to enhance medication adherence.”

This pilot integration will combine evidence-based diabetes self-management, peer support, medication adherence, and address psychosocial/sociocultural barriers, giving it a high potential to lower morbidity/mortality among AAs.

Learn more about the Peers LEAD program and Shiyanbola’s research on medication adherence.

Back to Top

Seungpyo Hong Named the First Milton J. Henrichs Chair

On July 1, Seungpyo Hong, PSD Professor and Director of Wisconsin Center for NanoBioSystems, will become the first to be named to the newly endowed Milton J. Henrichs chair position. This position was established by a gift from the trust of Milton J. Henrichs (’44) who earned his bachelor’s degree in Pharmacy at the University of Wisconsin. Henrichs was a past member of the SoP Board of Visitors and chair of its development committee.

“I really appreciate the Henrich family for donating their funds to the SoP in support of cutting-edge technology and research. These funds are essential for any researcher looking to test their ideas that could one day be greatly impactful. These funds allow us to be creative and take research in new directions,” said Hong.

In this role, Hong will receive research funding for five years with the ability to renew once. Much of the funds will be allocated to advancing research his lab is currently conducting which includes two major areas: Nanoparticle drug delivery and biomarker development. Both areas of research aim to look deeper into cancer immunotherapy and liquid biopsy as companion diagnostics.

As a recipient of this fund, Hong also plans to set up a new collaboration with the Zeeh Pharmaceutical Experiment Station. In this collaboration, he hopes to combine new technology that the station has developed to create chemotherapy drops with his lab’s research on immune checkpoint inhibitors. The result would be a multi-drug combination therapy that would be more efficacious than current single agent-based therapies.

To date, Hong’s research has culminated in approximately 90 peer-reviewed papers that have been cited over 13,500 times, seven book chapters, and 18 granted/pending patents. He also delivered over 140 invited talks worldwide and 180 conference proceedings. Learn more about some of Hong’s latest research on nanoparticles that, in the lab, can activate immune responses to cancer cells.

Back to Top

AIHP to Digitize Pharmacy Archives for the First Time

In May, Lucas Richert, Associate Professor and George Urdang Chair in the History of Pharmacy signed an agreement with the University of Wisconsin Digital Collections

Center (UWDCC) to digitize a portion of the SoP/American Institute of the History of Pharmacy (AIHP) historical collections.

UWDCC will be investing over $100,000 between now and 2027 to digitize around five percent of the current AIHP and School of Pharmacy historical archives. This process will increase the accessibility and usability of AIHP resources and increase the archive’s range of technical applications.

“Historians and people who are looking at the past of pharmacy and drugstores will be able to use the digital archives to get a sense of change over time in terms of drug prices, drugstore design, and how things were marketed,” said Richert. “People will be able to see what it was like to be in pharmacy in the 1930s and beyond.”

The digitized collection will give pharmacists and others new access to pharmacy history as these photographs and other items have only been available to in-person researchers before. Many objects in the AIHP archives were donated by SoP alumni who donate materials that they collected during their careers. With this project, AIHP will have an opportunity to display and share their historical materials long-term.

AIHP employees Greg Higby, Greg Bond, and Beth Fisher will be working with UWDCC to safely gather and transport historical materials, as well as writing metadata, descriptive information used to describe and explain the digitized photos.

AIHP hopes there will be more digitization projects with UWDCC in the future so that they can continue to make their archives freely available to pharmacists, historians, and people around the world.

Below is a gallery where you can view some of the interesting material from the collections that will soon be digitized.

Back to Top

Get to Know SoP

Buzzing Around


Michelle Chui – Promoted to professor, effective July 1.

“I am delighted to report that Michelle Chui has been promoted to full professor! Her review committee found that she has established a national and international reputation with regard to research and scholarship, based on substantial and sustained achievement. In addition, her record showed excellence in teaching and service. All external reviewers documented in their letters that Dr. Chui would be promoted to full professor at their respective institutions,” said Dean Swanson.

Chui’s leadership, research, and ability to form community partnerships are invaluable assets to the School. She is a leader and innovator in her field of study and highly regarded by peers both within and outside of pharmacy. Please join us in congratulating her on her promotion to full professor!


Ron Sorkness – Pharmacy Practice Division Professor, last day is June 30 and his retirement date is July 1.

“Thank you for all you have done to make pharmacy practice so successful! From your popular 40+ year Fluids & Electrolytes course, to your critical care practice at the hospital, to your incredible airways disease research, you have made such incredible contributions to the field. As a division chair you kept the ship steady and provided such immense support to all of us. Thank you for your daily smile in the hallway and voice of wisdom in our meetings. I wish you fun, good health and happiness in retirement!” –Beth Martin, PPD Division Chair and Professor

Please take a moment to add a message to Ron’s Kudoboard.


Bob Breslow – Pharmacy Practice Division Associate Professor, Breslow’s last day in the office is June 30 and his retirement date is September 9.

“What a colleague you have been! I am fortunate to have learned from you and how to provide the best care possible to our older adult patients. You have continually stepped up when help has been needed – we are so grateful. Whether co-advising WSPS, cheering on the Badgers at a PAA outing, or attending PSW meetings, you are such a Badger Pharmacist at heart. Wishing you a fun, healthy and happy retirement!” –Beth Martin, PPD Division Chair and Professor

Please take a moment to add a message to Bob’s Kudoboard.


Ron Burnette – Pharmaceutical Sciences Division Chair, Professor, and Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs, retiring July 1.

“As many of you already know, Ron, who has been a major contributor to our School’s success, will be retiring July 1. Ron has been a trusted friend and colleague and I, like so many of us, will miss him terribly. Normally, we would have a big party for Ron in thanks for all he’s done for us. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has us all holed up at home for the foreseeable future. Until we can all get together as a family again, we will have to make do with what technologies permit.

I’ve set up a Kudoboard for all of us to leave our appreciation and well wishes for Ron and his family. Please join me in thanking Ron for all he’s done for and with us!” –Dean Swanson


Jasmyn Booker – Internal Communications Specialist, last day is June 24.

“I’ve learned so much during my time at the SoP and am very thankful for the acquaintances and friendships I have gained over the past two years. Wishing you all the best!”





Back to Top

Pet Lovers Corner

Kathy Chylla, Information Processing Consultant

“Lilo (as in Disney’s Lilo & Stitch) is a six-year-old puggle (beagle/pug mix).  My new office is in our dining room and Lilo is my foot warmer.  She is quite the cuddler and is happiest when my husband and I sit on the couch together so she can squeeze in between us.  She is extremely happy with the COVID Safer at Home order as it has brought our two young adult children home to work from our home, together. Good thing we upgraded to fiber internet right before this happened! Besides cuddling with her favorite people, she loves going to the dog park where she likes racing with other dogs. As she begins to age, she is often no longer the fastest dog at the park which makes her sad. Good thing I always carry treats because food always raises her spirits.”


Back to Top

Faculty/Staff Spotlight: Stephanie Love

Name: Stephanie Love

Job title: Executive Assistant to Dean Swanson

Hometown: Granville, Ohio

How long have you worked at the School of Pharmacy? It will be two years in November.

Tell us what you do and what about your work makes you the most proud? I was originally hired as a divisional administrative assistant in the SoP Pharmacy Practice Division and LOVED working in that role and supporting my friends in PPD from November 2018 through March 2020.  I began as Dean Swanson’s executive assistant in April this year and have been training and working in this role from home while we are away from each other during the COVID-19 pandemic.  I am SO looking forward to being back together and seeing each of you soon. The transition has been smooth and successful, thanks to many people who have been there to help answer questions and lend a hand.

Describe yourself in three words… Family, joyful, grandma!

If I had more time, I’d love to… Spend more time hanging out with my family and traveling.

My favorite place is…my screened porch on a summer morning with coffee.

What’s something about you that we wouldn’t learn from your resume alone? I love sewing! I am not patient enough for quilting, but enjoy sewing all kinds of clothing, bags, workout wear, etc.

Back to Top

Photo Gallery: ‘White Coats for Black Lives’ Rally

SoP faculty, staff, students, and alumni gathered at the Capitol on June 13 for the “White Coats for Black Lives” (WC4BL) protest organized by the SMPH SNMA student group. WC4BL is a national medical student-led initiative with activities in many major cities. Check out photos where members of our community showed up to demonstrate solidarity and commitment to fight racism in healthcare and all our institutions.

  • Watch a short video of the 360 view of the rally here.
  • Experience the entire event and listen to the inspiring stories and moving talks by speakers from SMPH and community leaders, in this full video.

Photographer: Paul L. Newby II

  • SoP alum David Hager of UW Health


Back to Top