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Rocket Pharmacy Update
Dean's Corner
Dear colleagues and friends,

Three decades ago, the theoretical physicist Michael Goldhaber claimed that attention, as opposed to information, would become “the natural economy of cyberspace”. While information is essentially free and freely available, attention is a limited and fixed resource, and is an excellent example of a zero-sum economy: the attention paid to one thing (when I check the Chicago Cubs’ box score most days during baseball season, for example) cannot be paid to someone or something else. Consequently, competition for attention on-line is fierce, with myriad negative consequences. Charlie Warzel recently summarized Goldhaber’s predictions: “complete dominance of the internet, increased shamelessness in politics, terrorists co-opting social media, the rise of reality television, personal websites, oversharing, personal essay, fandoms and online influencer culture — along with the near destruction of our ability to focus”. Sound familiar?

So, what is the relevance to academic pharmacy? Anyone who has observed a large lecture class from the back of an auditorium over the last decade could tell you: students invest their supply of attention in a variety of ways (posting to social media, shopping online, checking the occasional Cubs score) that compete with what the instructor intends. In the pandemic era, we of course cannot observe these behaviors in classes that are conducted remotely, but we certainly can speculate on how attention as a resource is allocated during remote instruction.

So, as educators, how can we compete for, and win, the attention of our students? One approach is to utilize active learning as opposed to traditional lecture. There is long-standing literature suggesting that lapses in attention are more frequent and persistent when students listen to a lecture as compared to being actively engaged with the material, especially when the engagement involves collaborating with peers. It’s a bit more difficult to disappear into the on-line world when you are part of a problem-solving team.

One of the most significant barriers to implementing active and collaborative curricular delivery is migrating course content to an online-delivery format, which is a necessary (or at least highly desirable) approach to freeing up in-class time for active engagement. Over the past year, most degree programs have been forced to deliver course content with remote, often asynchronous, approaches. For higher education, this might be the singular silver lining of the pandemic. Once content is ready to be delivered effectively outside of the classroom, implementation of an active-learning strategy is a relatively simple and straightforward process. There is good reason to believe that the programs that will “win” in the attention economy will embrace this opportunity.

With optimism for the long-term, and hope for the near-term, including the upcoming baseball season.

Diversity and Inclusion
Women's History Month
March is Women’s History Month. Women’s History Month had its origins as a national celebration in 1981 when Congress passed a public law to designate a week in March as Women’s History Week. Throughout the next five years, Congress continued to pass joint resolutions designating a week in March as Women’s History Week. In 1987, Congress passed a public law designating the month of March as Women’s History Month. Between 1988 and 1994, Congress passed additional resolutions to declare March of each year as Women’s History Month. Since 1995, presidents have issued a series of annual proclamations designating the month of March each year as Women’s History Month to honor and celebrate the contributions women have made to the U.S. and to recognize specific accomplishments of women throughout the course of American history. American women have struggled throughout history to gain rights not simply for themselves but for other underrepresented and disenfranchised groups in America.

Join The University of Toledo Catherine S. Eberly Center for Women in celebrating Women’s History Month. You can view their upcoming events here.

Keep up with our UToledo CPPS social media channels to see spotlights on women on our faculty and their contributions to the university and community.
Alumni Zone
Alumni Affiliate Scholarship Fundraiser
In the Fall of 2020, the CPPS Alumni Affiliate Board partnered with Matt Eberly of Team Sports, Inc. in a fundraising effort for the newly formed Alumni Affiliate Scholarship Fund. The Alumni Affiliate is committed to providing support for students of the College to ensure those following in their footsteps receive much needed assistance in achieving their academic and professional pursuits, advancing the pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences profession. This scholarship’s aim is to provide financial aid to qualified CPPS students entering their final year of study. Mr. Eberly, a proud UToledo alumnus, graciously offered his company’s services to produce high quality CPPS-branded windbreakers and quarter-zip sweatshirts for the fundraiser.  These items were available for purchase during a three-week window in October and November.  The orders were received in time for the holidays and worn with joy as pictured by Nyssa and Justin Longenberger.

At the close of the sale the Board raised more than $700 toward the scholarship fund! We thank Team Sports and all who generously placed orders to help make this fundraiser a success. Please stay tuned for further opportunities to get involved and to donate as the University prepares for its annual Day of Giving campaign on April 7-8th. You can learn more about the scholarship by clicking here.
Alumni Spotlight - Dr. Rebecca Margevicius

For this month’s Alumni Spotlight, we are highlighting Rebecca Margevicius, PharmD, BCPS, BCIDP.

Dr. Margevicius graduated with her Doctor of Pharmacy from UToledo in 2013, she went on to complete her PGY-1 Residency at Southwest General in Middleburg Heights, Ohio.

In her residency, it was clear to her that she wanted to continue working at Southwest General. She wrote a business plan for an Antimicrobial Stewardship Pharmacist which was accepted in January 2015. After her first pilot year, the program saved over $400,000 and she was asked to continue stewardship efforts. Over the past six years, the program has sustained cost savings and reduced Days of Therapy (DOT) of all formulary MRSA agents, fluoroquinolones, and carbapenems. The stewardship has been expanded to the Emergency Department and they now offer outpatient penicillin skin testing through consult agreements. The Joint Commission now recognizes Antimicrobial Stewardship as a mandatory standard at all hospitals and nursing care centers, which includes appointing a pharmacist leader. Dr. Margevicius notes this as her proudest career moment so far.

Dr. Margevicius was named the 2020 APPE Preceptor of the Year for The University of Toledo College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. This is a high honor and she was chosen over hundreds of other nominations.

When Dr. Margevicius thinks about her fondest memories from UToledo, she remembers her pharmacy class.

“Whether we were celebrating Thanksgiving in May or singing ‘Friends in Low Places’ for the thousandth time, we found lifelong friendship in one another.”

She wanted to leave some advice for current UToledo pharmacy students. She acknowledges that hard work is definitely important to obtaining your goals, but it is also okay to have some fun along the way. She wants her students to see that it is possible to find a career that sparks passion, brings joy, and makes you want to show up every day for your team and patients.

Dr. Rebecca Margevicius married a fellow PharmD classmate, Dr. Steve Margevicius. They have two children, Jacob and Joanna (2 and 3 years old), and a golden retriever, Rilo (11 years old), and another baby on the way due in July!

To nominate a student, alumni, or faculty member for a spotlight, please email Kristen Gartland.
Are you a UToledo College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences alumni with a recent accomplishment to share? We want to know what you're up to and what distinctions or awards you are receiving. Email us to keep us up to date. 
Student Spotlight - Selena Farmer

As a native Toledoian, The University of Toledo was always the primary collegiate option for Selena Farmer.

Selena is a junior working on her Bachelor of Science in Medicinal and Biological Chemistry with a Pre-Med concentration at The University of Toledo College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. Her future goals include transitioning to medical school to become a Medical Doctor. There is no doubt that Selena has the academic drive and capability to flourish in medical school. Her recent scholarship award only highlights her aptness toward a bright and successful future.

In January 2021, Selena was one of five students awarded The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship. This scholarship is awarded to undergraduate African-American students who are U.S. citizens enrolled full-time or part-time, with at least a 3.0 GPA at UToledo. Other selection criteria includes review of extracurricular activities, civic/community service, professional goals, financial need, an interview and a written essay from each applicant.

Selena noticed the 2020 recipients of this scholarship on the UToledo website and after looking into it further, thought that it would be the perfect fit for her. She wrote her essay on the topic of Americans not having affordable access to healthcare and mental health services. As a current pharmacy technician, Selena said “I see every time I work that even people who have insurance are still struggling to pay for the medications they need. The current system makes it hard for anyone (insured or uninsured) to get needed healthcare. Additionally, access to mental health services can be hard to find for many Americans.”

She also noted that the pandemic has only exacerbated the issues of accessibility of healthcare and mental health services. Selena mentions that even she has struggled more due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “Finding energy to do the tasks I need to do each day is the largest struggle.”

Even with the new and different challenges the current state of the world brings, Selena continues to work toward her goal and has her professors to thank for their consistent attentiveness to their students. “I appreciate that all the faculty and professors are always helpful. If they don’t know how to help me with something they direct me to someone who can. I feel like more than just a student on a class roster. They want to see me succeed in all aspects and will help in any way they can.”

In return, Dr. Katherine Wall, chair of the Department of Medicinal and Biological Chemistry and professor acknowledges Selena as someone who “constantly seeks out challenging opportunities to enhance her skills.”

To nominate a student, alumni, or faculty member for a spotlight, please email Kristen Gartland.
Faculty Spotlight - Dr. Amit Tiwari

For this month’s Faculty Spotlight, we are highlighting Dr. Amit Tiwari.

Amit K. Tiwari, PhD has been with the University of Toledo since February of 2015 and is an associate professor and director of international engagement. He received his Bachelor’s in Pharmacy in 2005 from the Ram-Eesh Institute of Technology, India. Following which, he worked as a nutrition officer in Nestle, India for ~2 years. He then went on to complete his Master of Science in the area of cancer pharmacology from St. John’s University, NY in 2008 followed by a PhD from the same institution in 2011. His postdoctoral fellowships, in the area of pharmacokinetics, were completed at the Icahn School of Medicine, NY.

Dr. Tiwari says his biggest professional accomplishment is yet to come. However, he is most proud of his learners. By creating a sense of accountability and responsibility, while setting realistic goals with his advisees, Dr. Tiwari has motivated them to become more autonomous, top-skilled, and successful. His students have co-authored numerous, high-impact publications, presentations/abstracts, provisional patents, won several awards and established their career paths in academics and industries. For his role in engaging the learners nationally and globally, he was awarded the Learners Engagement Award in 2016. In 2017, he received the Global Research Engagement Award from the Govt. of Andhra Pradesh, India and was nominated for the Outstanding Advisor Award at UToledo in 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020.

Dr. Tiwari has been a role model for many and has led a successful career. In his young career, he has published over 110 peer-reviewed articles and presented over 150 presentations in national and international conferences. More importantly, his work is frequently cited globally and just last year he was cited ~ 570 times. Dr. Tiwari’s research is supported by grants from federal agencies, international agencies, private foundations, and pharmaceutical companies. Earlier this year, Dr. Tiwari was awarded a $1.43 million research grant from the Department of Defense Breakthrough Level II award to develop new therapeutic agents against triple negative breast cancer. Other ongoing funding support includes $450,000 funding from Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation and ~$550,000 equipment funds from National Science Foundation.
Dr. Tiwari is not only engaged with learners and the local community but is also building the scientific community at large. Dr. Tiwari serves as an Associate Editor for Frontiers in Pharmacology and Frontiers of Oncology and is on the Editorial Board of several journals including the Journal of Clinical Medicine and Oncology Reports. Presently, he is guest editing a special issue for the journal Cancers (IF~6.1) and welcomes submissions. He has also been referee for numerous journals related to pharmaceutical sciences and medicine and a reviewer for various national and international funding mechanisms, including NSF, EPA, NIH, UK-Malaysia Newton Funds, Poland-NIC, INBRE, UICC, MURF Australia grant among others.
Dr. Tiwari’s operant Cancer and Systems Therapeutics (CAST) and Drug Discovery laboratory is focused on designing, characterizing (i.e. PK/PD) and developing targeted anticancer molecules against advanced multidrug-resistant cancers. CAST lab affords an excellent opportunity for pharmacy students to observe the overall process of preclinical drug development, using in silico, in vitro, and in vivo techniques. His team recently made major breakthroughs by discovering unique, structurally constrained, molecular probes (patent protected with UToledo) that induce a form of non-apoptotic cell death, characterized by the simultaneous induction of dysregulated macropinocytosis (self-drinking) and macroautophagy (self-eating) and other set of molecules inducing non-apoptotic unconventional programmed cell death. These highly innovative projects in his lab will open new avenues in the areas of both chemistry and life sciences by facilitating the invention of new methods, creating molecular probes and yielding information about unconventional processes of cell death. The identified compounds could be beneficial for treating drug resistant and aggressive cancers.

Outside of his professional career Dr. Tiwari likes to play with children. He enjoys traveling with his daughter and exploring new cultures. And when at home, he likes cooking, meditating and spending time with family and friends.

To nominate a student, alumni, or faculty member for a spotlight, please email Kristen Gartland.
Grants and Awards

Dr. Anthony Pattin moderated the UToledo Town Hall titled “Dialogues on Diversity: COVID Vaccines and the Black Community” on February 24, 2021.

UToledo faculty, staff, residents, and students are continuing to volunteer in the COVID-19 vaccination clinics in the Northwest Ohio area. As of February 17, over 10,000 doses have been administered by interprofessional student teams.

Dr. James Slama has a new publication: “Essential Requirement for Jupiter Microtubule Associated Homolog 2 in NAADP-evoked Ca2+ Signaling and SARS-CoV-2 Infectivity” in Science Signaling. Dr. Slama’s student Shijun He is a co-author.

Dr. Amit Tiwari:

  • Was featured across multiple media outlets for the three-year funding award of $1.4 million from the U.S. Department of Defense for a pre-clinical study of promising new chemotherapy aimed at triple negative breast cancer.
  • Received a private $3,000 donation for his Cancer Cure Funds at the UToledo Foundation.
  • Received $24,000 Mass-Spec Instrument donation from Anatrace Inc. (Ohio).
  • Had his work cited over 570 times in 2020.
  • Has a book chapter entitled “Alternative Approaches to Overcome Cheoresistance to Apoptosis in Cancer” in Advances in Protein Chemistry and Structural Biology, Vol. 125. 1 ed. Donev R, editor. United Kingdom: Elsevier Inc.; 2021. in press. The chapter includes graduate student Swapnaa Balaji as a first author and another graduate student David Terrero and collaborators Dr. Raman Dayanidhi and Dr. Charles Ashby.
  • Has an article titled “The use of zebrafish model in prostate cancer therapeutic development and discovery” published in the Journal of Cancer Chemotherapy and Pharmacology.
  • Was appointed as a Section Editor: Oncology, for the journal Current Pharmaceutical Design, Bentham Press.
Dr. Megan Kaun won her election for Bedford School Board on the November ballot and was elected to the Board Vice-President position for the 21-22 year.

Dr. Gabriella Baki:
  • Has one new publication: Coats JG, Maktabi, B, Abou-Dahech MS, Baki G. Blue light protection, Part II—Ingredients and performance testing methods. J Cosmet Dermatol.
  • Partnered with Imagination Station and participated in the STEMinist 2021 event. Read the UToledo News story here.
  • Had two successful Cosmetic Science and Formulation Design alumni events titled “Conversations, Cosmetics, and Cocktails.” About one third of the total alumni group attended.
Daniyah Almarghalani, an Experimental Therapeutics doctoral student in Dr. Zahoor Shah’s laboratory was awarded a UToledo Graduate Students Association Research Award. The award provides $2,000 in supply money for Daniyah’s dissertation research.

Dr. Katherine Wall and Dr. Marcia McInerney were authors on a recently issued U.S. patent entitled “Synthetic Lipopeptide Vaccines and Immunotherapeutics.” Other authors were Drs. Steven Sucheck, Abhishek Vartak, and the late Anthony Quinn from the UToledo College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

Dr. Youssef Sari produced two papers:

Dr. Mitch Howard was quoted in an article “Common Food and Medication Interactions to Avoid” in Everyday Health, an online publication, in January 2021.

Dr. Susanne Nonekowski, a member of the University Teaching Center’s Task Force, participated in a video to inform UToledo teachers of helpful resources available from the group.

Dr. Mike Peeters has a 5-article series being published in Innovations in Pharmacy about using Generalizability Theory in Pharmacy Education. This brings Dr. Peeters’ number of peer-reviewed publications to more than 50 for his professional career.

UToledo Foundation
Grit, perseverance, and success… these themes are evident this year in The College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. While it would be understandable to have different outcomes, our students, faculty, staff, and alumni are instead celebrating the many successes of our ambitious and talented students. Our faculty and staff are committed. Our generous alumni are supportive. Together, we are turning goals and opportunities into reality.

The University will hold it’s fourth annual Day of Giving this year on April 7-8. During the 36-hour campaign, our Rocket family will rally together with a goal of securing 2,021 donors. Alumni, faculty, staff, students, parents, and community members may support a fund within our college or the area of their choice. Through your loyal and generous support, we can provide talented and deserving students with scholarship assistance so they can achieve their academic pursuits. We can support our students, faculty, and staff when they are struggling to put food on their tables, and we can partner with our researchers to secure funding for their cutting-edge initiatives, as we work together to improve the human condition.

Please join me in continuing the tradition of lifting our students up during this Day of Giving. Help demonstrate your belief in our students by creating opportunities. Guide them with grit and determination and remove some of the obstacles in their way so they may follow in your footsteps of advancing the pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences profession.
  • Make your online gift during the 36-hour campaign (12:01 a.m. April 7 - noon April 8) to one of The College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences Funds in the UToledo Foundation or to a fund of our choice.
  • Use #RocketForward to tell your story and encourage others to give!
For more information, visit or contact Allie Berns.
Thank you, thank you, thank you, to all of who give so generously of their time, talent, and treasure. You are creating opportunities and fueling tomorrows!

Allie Berns, CFRM
Assistant Director, Annual Giving
For any questions or comments please contact Kristen Gartland.

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