Pharmacy showcase event elevates student and trainee experiences

The College of Pharmacy hosted the second annual Showcase Event on Oct. 11 during American Pharmacists Month. The event celebrates the college’s accomplishments in the categories of research, teaching and education, clinical practice and service through poster presentations and table displays.

With 57 posters presented by students, faculty, staff and research trainees, 55 competed for first- and second-place awards in each category, in addition to Best of Show, based on the highest score. The 11 judges hailed from HSC, UT Southwestern Medical Center and Medical City Weatherford. It was an honor to welcome the college’s Founding Dean Dr. Myron Jacobson, and his wife Dr. Elaine Jacobson, as judges this year.

Associate Dean for Research, Dr. Rebecca Cunningham, and the planning committee were pleased to have such a strong showing of poster participants.

“This event not only shines a light on our college’s accomplishments, but it also provides a forum for our students, post-doc fellows, and trainees to present their work and compete, possibly for the first time,” said Dr. Cunningham. “It’s a great experience for our students and can help them communicate their research to a diverse audience. The Showcase Event is quite special as it is a mix of clinical, basic and applied sciences that result in translational and transformational science.”

Alshaima’a Qunies, doctoral candidate, took home the Best of Show award for a poster that describes the design and discovery ofImage of winner, novel small molecules to study certain types of epilepsy that affect infants, which is also the subject of her dissertation project.

Qunies is looking at a rare type of epilepsy called malignant migrating partial seizure of infancy, which results from mutations in Slack potassium channels in the central nervous system.

“To date, there is no FDA-approved treatment for this devastating disease; in many cases, infants die before the first year of life,” she said. “We aim to discover small molecules that act on Slack channels to be used in animal models of epilepsy to establish the therapeutic basis to treat this disease.”

Qunies was sincerely grateful for the recognition of her work.

“I especially want to thank my Ph.D. advisor, Dr. Kyle Emmitte, whose guidance has been instrumental in advancing my research.”

Qunies was named the 2021-2022 Outstanding Graduate Student of the Year for the Pharmaceutical Sciences and Pharmacotherapy discipline and previously served as a Teaching Assistant in the College of Pharmacy and School of Biomedical Sciences.

Third-year student pharmacist Heather Phillips was selected first place in the Teaching and Education category. Her poster covered a pilot study conducted by faculty members, Dr. Meredith Howard and Dr. Ashlyn Aguiniga, where they implemented an educational innovation referred to as “create-your-own-adventure” activities.

These activities are nonlinear patient cases, where students choose different treatment paths that determine the patient’s outcome.

“The main focus of this project was to measure student perceptions of ‘create-your-own-adventure’ activities, and measure if it improved their critical thinking skills, clinical decision-making skills and clinical knowledge,” she added.

“I was pleasantly surprised to win first place…Drs. Aguiniga and Howard put a lot of effort into this project, and I wanted to make them proud and make sure they got the recognition they deserve.”

Poster Competition Awards
Best of Show:
Alshaima’a Qunies, Doctoral Candidate

Design and discovery of novel Slack potassium channel inhibitor in vivo tools: Continued optimization of the hit compound VU0531245

Research – Pharmaceutical Sciences:
First Place: Edward Vera, R. Cunningham’s lab and TCOM student                    Effects of Amyloid b on Recollective Memory: Sex and Hormone Differences

Second Place: Autumn Morgan, research assistant, D. Inman’s lab

Ketogenic Diet Increases Mitophagy in a Mouse Model of Glaucoma

Research- Public Health/Health Outcomes:
First Place: Elizabeth Hearn, PharmD, assistant professor, pharmacotherapy

Food Insecurity and COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy among Adults in the United States (US)

Second Place: Traci Presley, third-year student pharmacist

Association of Diabetes self-management education from primary care providers on diabetes standard of care among adults in the United States

First Place: Brittany (Palasik) Torres, PharmD, BCPS, associate professor, pharmacotherapy

Partners in Learning and Leading (PILL): Design & Assessment of a Pharmacist-College Mentoring/Teaching Partnership

Second Place: Meenakshi Ramanathan, PharmD, BCPS, associate professor, pharmacotherapy

Incorporating Lessons Learned from Eat that Frog into IPPE/APPE Rotations

Teaching and Education:
First Place: Heather Phillips, third-year student pharmacist

A Pilot Study: Create-Your-Own-Adventure Activities and Critical Thinking

Second Place: Kaanan Shah, third-year student pharmacist

A Simulation Collaboration: Encouraging Interprofessional Skills through Critical Care Simulations

Clinical Practice:
First Place: Adenike Atanda, PharmD, BCACP, CDE, assistant professor, pharmacotherapy

Implementation and evaluation of an Interdisciplinary Diabetes Self-Management Education and Support Program on Clinical and Behavioral Outcomes in a Geriatric Population

Second Place: Gage McInturff, fourth-year student pharmacist

Antiphospholipid Syndrome and its Effects on Point of Care Testing