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University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy Announces Research Funding and Achievements

PITTSBURGH, June 9 – The University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy faculty, staff and students often are honored by prestigious organizations for their achievements and exceptional leadership. The following individuals are among those who recently have been recognized with research grants and awards.

  • The Center for Education and Drug Abuse Research (CEDAR) received a five-year, $10 million National Institutes of Health grant to continue investigating the cause of substance use disorders. Through this grant, faculty will continue to follow nearly 800 families to learn more about the genetic, behavioral and environmental factors that contribute to such disorders.

Senior collaborators at CEDAR are Ralph Tarter, Ph.D., director; Michael Vanyukov, Ph.D., scientific director; Duncan Clark, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of psychiatry and pharmacology; Jack Cornelius, M.D., professor of psychiatry; Ada Mezzich, Ph.D., associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences; Levent Kirisci, Ph.D., director, Statistics Core; Galina Kirillova, Ph.D., research assistant professor of pharmaceutical sciences; and Maureen Reynolds, Ph.D., research assistant professor of pharmaceutical sciences.

  • Sandra Kane-Gill, Pharm.D., M.S., associate professor of pharmacy and therapeutics, has been appointed co-chair of the Society of Critical Care Medicine Program Committee for Congress. Dr. Kane-Gill is the first pharmacist in the United States to be selected, and she will serve in this role from 2011 to 2012.
  • Levent Kirisci, Ph.D., director, Statistics Core, CEDAR, received a five-year, $677,090 National Institutes of Health grant for his work to quantify and track risk factors for substance use disorders in youth and young adults. Dr. Kirisci’s work focuses on the development of the Transmissible Liability Index, a system that helps to determine a child’s genetic risk for addiction.
  • Jeff Little, Pharm.D., M.P.H., pharmacy practice management resident at UPMC Presbyterian, has been appointed vice chair of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists New Practitioners Forum Executive Committee. Dr. Little will serve in this role through 2011.
  • Dexi Liu, Ph.D., professor of pharmaceutical sciences, received a four-year, $1.7 million National Institutes of Health grant for his research to develop gene therapy for treatment of hemophilia.
  • Wen Xie, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences, received a five-year $1.6 million National Institutes of Health grant for his research to determine whether the aryl hydrocarbon receptor protein is a therapeutic target for fatty liver disease.
  • Xiang-Qun (Sean) Xie, Ph.D., M.B.A., professor of pharmaceutical sciences, received a five-year, $1.6 million National Institutes of Health grant to investigate the molecular mechanisms of human G-protein coupled cannabinoid CB2 receptor activation and immune signal transduction to facilitate structure-based design for novel CB2-target therapeutic drugs without psychotropic side effects.

About the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy

Chartered in 1878, the School of Pharmacy is the oldest of the University of Pittsburgh’s Schools of the Health Sciences. The school offers a four-year doctor of pharmacy degree (Pharm.D.) as well as a postgraduate residency program. A leader in research, the School of Pharmacy is nationally known for its Clinical Pharmaceutical Scientist Program, a Ph.D. program that educates scientists to conduct translational or patient-oriented research. The school also offers a pharmaceutical science Ph.D. program and a master’s degree in pharmacy administration. The school is home to the Center for Pharmacogenetics and the Center for Education and Drug Abuse Research (CEDAR) and is a partner in the three-school Drug Discovery Institute. The Grace Lamsam Pharmacy Program for the Underserved and the Pittsburgh Poison Center/Drug Information Center and the partnership with UPMC reflect the School’s quality and excellence at the intersection of patient care, education, research and service. For more information about the School of Pharmacy, visit www.pharmacy.pitt.edu.

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