Faculty members from the College of Pharmacy’s (COP) Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at Western University of Health Sciences received research awards totaling more than $2.4 million during the 2013-14 academic year, making significant advances in securing coveted extramural funds, including funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

"It is indeed a proud moment for us, because these outstanding achievements in scientific research are establishing us as an emerging high-caliber research institution," said College of Pharmacy Dean Daniel Robinson, PharmD. "WesternU College of Pharmacy is already well known for excellence in pharmacy education because of our block system, our emphasis on interprofessional education, consistently high board exam passing rates, and top-quality graduates."

Robinson said securing the funds speaks volumes about the quality of WesternU’s research programs, especially given the current environment of severe budget reductions at the NIH.

"The pharmacy program provides a great opportunity for student pharmacists to participate with faculty on exciting research projects as they pursue their professional degrees," he said.

WesternU COP is one of 69 private colleges of pharmacy in the United States, out of a total of 123.

"We have had our sights on a top 10 ranking for research funding among private colleges, and we could be as high as No. 5 in the nation when data is officially released in December 2014," Robinson said.

Noteworthy awards from the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences include:

– Dr. Arezoo Campbell, associate professor, studies ambient particulate matter neurotoxicity. British Petroleum/South Coast Air Quality Management District funded $577,590 over two years. See the published work here.

– Dr. Ying Huang, associate professor, studies novel anticancer drug formulations. FULGENT Therapeutics funded $532,506 (multiple contracts).

– Dr. Fadi Khasawneh, associate professor, studies platelet G-protein coupled receptors. NIH funded $416,976 over three years.

– Dr. Sunil Prabhu, professor, associate dean for academic and student affairs, studies nanotechnology-based regimens for pancreatic cancer chemoprevention. NIH funded $438,000 over three years. See the published work here.

– Dr. David Sanchez, assistant professor, studies immunity against AIDS-associated malignancies. NIH funded $219,000 over two years.

– Dr. Peter Oelschlaeger, assistant professor, studies bicyclic beta-lactam antibiotic stability against beta-lactamases. NIH funded $144,540 over three years.

"We are very proud of our research accomplishments, and in particular our success over the past year," Robinson said. "This growth in research productivity is the result of years of investment in our research infrastructure, the hiring of excellent faculty, strengthening of our graduate Master of Science in Pharmaceutical Sciences (MSPS) program, and the strategic investment in post-docs who have been able to support the research efforts of our funded faculty."