Archive for December, 2018

Pharmacy student doing an experiment

School of Pharmacy Launches New Master’s in Pharmaceutical Sciences

The University of Maryland School of Pharmacy has launched a new Master of Science (MS) in Pharmaceutical Sciences (PSC) to provide students with the advanced education and cutting-edge training needed to obtain high-level research and leadership positions in pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies as well as in the federal government. The 16-month, full-time program is based at the Universities at Shady Grove in Rockville, Md., and integrates basic and applied pharmaceutical sciences with hands-on laboratory research experience.

“The School of Pharmacy is incredibly excited to offer the new MS in PSC,” says Sarah Michel, PhD, professor in PSC and director of the PSC Graduate Program. “We believe this degree fills a critical gap that many students encounter after completing a bachelor’s degree. While students might know that they want to pursue a career in research, they are not sure if a career in an industry, government, or academic setting is the best fit for them. Our program allows students to ‘test the waters,’ and equips them with the knowledge and skills necessary to pursue careers in the biopharmaceutical industry or federal government labs, or to take the next step in their education by completing a doctoral degree.”

Setting the Standard for Pharmaceutical Sciences Graduate Education

The MS in PSC is a full-time academic program designed for students who are interested in pursuing careers in scientific research. It builds on the School of Pharmacy’s more than 175-year reputation of advancing scientific knowledge across the spectrum of drug discovery and development, allowing students the opportunity to learn from faculty and other researchers who are widely recognized for their contributions to the field of pharmaceutical sciences, as well as pursue research in the areas of chemical and biology discovery, translational therapeutics, and pharmacometrics.

A hallmark of the MS in PSC is the completion of a biopharmaceutical research internship — an experience facilitated by the program’s prime location at the Universities at Shady Grove, which is just a short drive from several premier pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, research laboratories, and federal agencies that offer potential internships for students.

“The completion of a biopharmaceutical research internship truly sets apart the School of Pharmacy’s MS in PSC from other programs across the country,” Michel says. “Students are able to take the lead in designing and developing a unique research project, which they complete during their internship with a local pharmaceutical company, government agency, or faculty member at the school. This internship not only provides students with hands-on experience in a real laboratory setting, but also helps them better understand what to expect if they choose to pursue a career in that particular setting.

“This experience also helps students begin to build their professional network by introducing them to potential future employers.”

Preparing Students for Success Outside of the Classroom

The MS in PSC does not require the completion of a thesis. Instead, students complete and present a capstone project based on the research conducted during their biopharmaceutical research internship.

“The MS in PSC is a holistic program that provides students with the tools to both design a research project and disseminate the results of that projects,” Michel says. “We want to ensure that our graduates have all of the skills they will need to be successful pharmaceutical scientists.”

The MS in PSC welcomes students with degrees in a variety of different science disciplines, including chemistry, biology, and engineering. Students whose degrees are not in a scientific discipline, but who have completed specific prerequisite science classes are also invited to apply.

The application deadline for this program is March 15. To learn more, view this video or visit the program’s website.

— Malissa Carroll

Malissa CarrollEducation, UMB NewsDecember 6, 20180 comments
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Dr. Mackowiak discusses his new book

Mackowiak’s New Book Offers Intersection of Art, Medicine, and Science

Philip A. Mackowiak, MD ’70, MBA, is more medical historian than art aficionado, but in researching and writing his latest book, Patients As Art: Forty Thousand Years of Medical History in Drawings, Paintings, and Sculptures, he learned a few things along the way.

“Before doing this book, I couldn’t even spell the word ‘art’ — but now I’m an expert, thanks to the internet,” Mackowiak joked before launching a presentation about his new book to a crowd of 60 that included members of the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) community and his family and friends on Dec. 4 at Davidge Hall.

Mackowiak, professor emeritus of medicine and the Carolyn Frenkil and Selvin Passen History of Medicine Scholar at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM), delivered background and insight on the book during his half-hour lecture, which was sponsored by the UMB Council for the Arts & Culture. He displayed slides of 10 of the 160 pieces he analyzed from a medical and scientific perspective, ranging from Rembrandt’s famed The Raising of Lazarus to a watercolor titled Pollution, painted by a Canadian artist named Catherine Hennessey.

The watercolor, in fact, is featured on the cover of the book, which spans 244 pages and 10 chapters relating to medical subjects such as nutrition, surgery, mental health, genetics, and death and dying. Pollution is included in the chapter on public health. In the book, Mackowiak describes it, writing, “Hennessey’s image is arresting, shocking, yet strangely beautiful, like the vibrant colors of a sunset viewed through sickening urban smog.” (See photo, above)

“This artist has done a number of really captivating watercolors, but this is the opus magnum,” Mackowiak told the crowd, adding that he was so taken with the painting that he bought it from Hennessey.

Mackowiak continued the lecture with more art analyses and medical diagnoses, including:

  • The Dissection of a Cadaver, 15th century: Mackowiak noted that the procedure illustrated probably wasn’t a dissection at all, because a close inspection shows that three of the men standing over the body seem to be holding him down, an insight first noted by his former UMSOM colleague Frank M. Calia, MD, MACP. “And you see a fellow on the far right of the painting who’s holding something in his hand. So based on Dr. Calia’s observations and doing another consideration of the painting, I suggest that this is not the dissection of a cadaver. In fact, it’s a lithotomy — the removal of a bladder stone, and that stone is being held by the person at the far right.”
  • The Beggars, 1568: This painting depicts beggars with missing legs, but Mackowiak surmises that there was no medical reason for amputation. Studying the expressions on their faces led him to believe they were mentally retarded. “There was no disorder at that time that could have destroyed the lower legs in a symmetrical fashion without killing them,” he said. “So I suggest these were strategic amputations done by the family to make these poor souls more pitiable and therefore more effective as beggars. That sounds bizarre, and it’s hard to believe. But I saw exactly this same thing in Bangladesh when I was there as a medical student at this institution.”
  • Battle of Issus, 100 B.C.: From this mosaic, Mackowiak blew up an inset of Alexander the Great and takes a keen focus on Alexander’s eyes, which seem to show concern rather than confidence. “Does that look like an all-conquering warrior?” Mackowiak said. “To my way of thinking, it looks like a warrior who wonders, ‘What the hell am I doing here?’ The artist who produced this might well have realized the existence not only of post-traumatic stress disorder in the common soldier, but also that this sort of thing can happen to commanders, too.”

Mackowiak’s presentation clearly showed his expertise as one of the most accomplished medical historians in the country, and Patients As Art follows his first two books, Post Mortem: Solving History’s Great Medical Mysteries, and Diagnosing Giants: Solving the Medical Mysteries of Thirteen Patients Who Changed the World.  

Since the mid-1990s, he and the University of Maryland Medical Alumni Association have organized the Historical Clinicopathological Conference, which has examined the illnesses or deaths of figures such as Edgar Allan Poe, Abraham Lincoln, Eleanor Roosevelt, Christopher Columbus, Beethoven, and Mozart. The 2007 conference, for instance, determined that President Lincoln would have survived an assassin’s bullet if the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center existed in 1865. The 26th conference will be held in May 2019. 

Larry Pitrof, the alumni association’s executive director, noted that when Mackowiak talked about retiring five years ago, two benefactors — Carolyn Frenkil and Selvin Passen, MD — stepped up to fund the doctor’s endowed scholar position. Pitrof thanked Frenkil, who was in attendance, for her support, as well as the UMB Council for the Arts & Culture for its sponsorship of the lecture.

“We’re celebrating an awful lot of history on the UMB campus right now,” Pitrof said, “and it’s our belief that programs like this truly separate the great institutions from the good ones.”

— Lou Cortina

Learn more about the book.


Lou CortinaEducation, People, UMB News, University LifeDecember 6, 20180 comments
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School of Medicine logo

Heart Failure Seminar Scheduled for Jan. 18

Spend Jan. 18 learning about the latest advances in heart failure care, including when to refer patients for consideration of mechanical heart pumps and heart transplant. The registration deadline is Jan. 5, but you can register early for a discount by Dec. 15. Food and parking are complimentary.

Purposes of the seminar

  • To provide state-of-the-art, up-to-date reviews of diagnosis and management for patients with heart failure with reduced and preserved ejection fraction, pulmonary hypertension and right heart failure, amyloidosis, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, mechanical circulatory support, and heart transplantation.
  • To emphasize the importance of early referral for advanced therapy evaluation.

More info

  • Speakers: Experts in the field of heart failure and cardiothoracic surgery from the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins Hospital.
  • Target audience: Physicians, pharmacists, NPs, PAs, RNs, fellows, residents, students.
  • When: Friday, Jan. 18
  • Time: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Where: SMC Campus Center
  • Registration:  Go to this website. RNs should click option for NPs and pharmacists to register.
  • Early bird registration: Dec. 15 by 5 p.m.
  • Regular registration deadline: Jan. 5 by 5 p.m.
  • Note: Submit your challenging cases for discussion via email to
Van-Khue TonClinical Care, Education, UMB NewsDecember 6, 20180 comments
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America's Got Regulatory Talent 2018 winning team

America’s Got Regulatory Science Talent: Call for Submissions

The Center of Excellence in Regulatory Science and Innovation is holding its Sixth Annual America’s Got Regulatory Science Talent competition on Feb. 6, 2019, from 1-2 p.m. at Pharmacy Hall.

The competition, which is open to all students, aims to promote student interest in regulatory science, which is the science of developing new tools, standards, and approaches to assess the safety, efficacy, quality, and performance of U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-regulated products.

Students can participate as individuals or as a team and will have to present a proposed solution to a current opportunity in regulatory science. Presentations will be evaluated by a panel of judges from the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy and the FDA in terms of proposed solution and presentation quality.

Registration deadline for participation is Jan. 30.

Learn more about the competition.

Erin MerinoEducation, TechnologyDecember 6, 20180 comments
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Protect your valuables

Protect Your Valuables

Be mindful of your valuables by remaining alert. Keep items such as purses, electronics, and money out of sight. If you are traveling with important items such as your cellphone and wallet, strategically house them in inside pockets and avoid using your cellphone in transit.

Also, take the extra steps in your routine to remain safe. Before leaving your vehicle, make sure your windows are rolled up completely and valuables are stored under the seat, in the glove compartment, or in the trunk of your car.

For more safety tips, visit this UMB Police and Public Safety webpage.

Jennie RiveraEducation, University LifeDecember 5, 20180 comments
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"Bloodsworth" Book Discussion

One Maryland One Book Discussion: ‘Bloodsworth’

Please join UMB’s Council for the Arts & Culture and the Thurgood Marshall Law Library for a discussion of the One Maryland One Book program’s selected book, Bloodsworth: The True Story of the First Death Row Inmate Exonerated by DNA Evidence, by Tim Junkin.

Read the book ahead of time and join us for a discussion Jan. 16 at noon in Room 3314 in the Thurgood Marshall Law Library.

Drinks and light refreshments will be provided. Feel free to bring your lunch.

Michele OndraBulletin Board, People, University LifeDecember 4, 20180 comments
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Ashlee Mattingly, PharmD, BCPS

Mattingly Awarded $2.2 Million Grant to Investigate Bulk Drug Substances for Compounding

Ashlee Mattingly, PharmD, BCPS, assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science (PPS) at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, has been awarded a three-year, $2.2 million grant from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to investigate the clinical use of bulk drug substances (active ingredients) that have been nominated for use in compounding by outsourcing facilities. The research will assist the FDA in its efforts to develop a list of bulk drug substances that outsourcing facilities can use in compounding under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.

“Compounded drugs serve an important role for patients whose medication needs cannot be met by an FDA-approved drug product, such as patients who have an allergy and need a medication to be made without a certain dye,” Mattingly says. “However, poor-quality compounded drugs have caused serious harm in the past. Our research will examine how drugs compounded with certain bulk drug substances have been used historically, as well as how they are currently used in clinical practice, which will help the FDA determine whether these substances should be included on its list of bulk drug substances that outsourcing facilities can use in compounding.”

Improving Drug Quality

The need for this project arose from an incident that occurred in 2012 in which an outbreak of fungal meningitis that led to more than 60 deaths and 750 cases of infection across the United States was linked to contaminated steroid injections compounded by a facility in Massachusetts. To help prevent similar tragedies from occurring in the future, Congress passed an amendment to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act that gave the FDA more authority to regulate and monitor the manufacturing of compounded drugs.

The amendment, known as the Drug Quality and Security Act of 2013, established a new category of compounders known as outsourcing facilities, which are registered with the FDA and operate under the direct supervision of a licensed pharmacist. These facilities can only compound using bulk drug substances if the substance is used to compound a drug on the FDA’s drug shortage list, or appears on a list that will be developed by the FDA of bulk drug substances for which there is a clinical need.

Stephen Hoag, PhD, professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences (PSC) and director of the Applied Pharmaceutics Lab at the School of Pharmacy, who joins Mattingly as a collaborator on this project, explains, “It’s a difficult balancing act with which the FDA has been tasked. Its scientists and reviewers want to make these medications available for the patients who need them, but they must also take certain precautions to make sure that the medications are compounded and used properly. We will help them collect the information they will need to make informed decisions about which substances should be compounded, as well as which substances should not be compounded.”

Leveraging an Existing Partnership

The grant is part of an ongoing partnership between the University of Maryland, Baltimore; the University of Maryland, College Park; and the FDA through the University of Maryland Center of Excellence in Regulatory Science and Innovation (M-CERSI), which focuses on modernizing and improving the ways drugs and medical devices are reviewed and evaluated. James Polli, PhD, the Shangraw/Noxell Endowed Chair in Industrial Pharmacy and Pharmaceutics at the School of Pharmacy and co-principal investigator for M-CERSI, will partner with Mattingly and Hoag on this project.

“The goal of M-CERSI is to bring together researchers from across the University of Maryland to assist the FDA with a wide range of regulatory science issues,” Polli says. “We want its scientists to be best informed when making decisions that will affect patients, providers, researchers, and manufacturers across the country. Through our involvement in this project, we are not only helping to ensure the availability of bulk drug substances for compounding, but also making sure that patients receive medications that are the highest possible quality for their conditions.”

Reaching Out to the Experts

The project will include an in-depth review of clinical practice guidelines, published literature, and other sources focused on bulk drug substances, which can refer to any material that acts as an active ingredient when used to manufacture, process, or package a medication. Some of the bulk drug substances that Mattingly and her team have been tasked with evaluating include alpha lipoic acid (a supplement often used by individuals with diabetes and peripheral neuropathy) and glycolic acid (a substance used to treat conditions affecting the skin, such as scarring and hyperpigmentation).

Mattingly and her team also will conduct outreach to medical specialty groups, relevant medical experts, and outsourcing facilities to gain a better understanding of the medical conditions these substances are used to treat, how long these substances have been in use in the clinical setting, the patient populations in which the substances have been used, the extent of their use, and whether the substances are used to compound drugs that health care providers store in their offices in advance of identifying the individual patients who will receive the drugs, as was the case for the contaminated steroid injections linked to the fungal meningitis outbreak in 2012.

“We want to make sure the FDA has all of the information it needs to develop the best, most thorough list of bulk drug substances for use in compounding by outsourcing facilities,” Mattingly says.

Informing Best Practices

From 2014 to 2015, the FDA sought nominations from relevant medical experts and existing outsourcing facilities for bulk drug substances to include on its list. More than 200 substances have been nominated to date.

Mattingly and her team will work together, while leveraging their individual expertise in pharmacy practice and pharmaceutical sciences, to determine whether there is a clinical need for each of the more than 200 substances that warrants its inclusion on the FDA’s list. Once the research is complete, the team will prepare a report summarizing its findings, which the FDA will use to help inform its decisions regarding whether to include the substances on the list of bulk drug substances that outsourcing facilities are permitted to use in compounding.

“This project is really about learning as much as we can about each substance that has been nominated for inclusion on the FDA’s list,” says Mattingly. “Our goal is to help protect patients against poor-quality compounded drugs without sacrificing their access to those important products for which they have a medical need.”

— Malissa Carroll

For more information about this project, please visit

Malissa CarrollClinical Care, Research, UMB NewsDecember 4, 20180 comments
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Project Jump Start brown bag

Project Jump Start: Helping the Homeless

Project Jump Start is funded in part by the University Student Government Association at UMB, and our mission is as follows:

  • To assist homeless individuals in meeting their basic needs through weekly food, clothing, and toiletry drives.
  • To provide homeless individuals in Baltimore with the information and support they need to access available resources in the community.
  • To collaborate and build partnerships with others to advocate for the development of policies and programs that will meet the needs of the homeless population in Baltimore.

Learn more at this webpage.


Darya BarshakCommunity Service, People, University Life, USGADecember 4, 20180 comments
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Craft Fair items

UMB Holiday Craft Fair Heightens the Spirit of Community Building

Dinnise Felder’s frost-tipped evergreens were shimmering. When the sponsored programs research administrator at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) combined her greens with Diane Starkell’s brilliantly burning noel candle, they formed a welcome sign to the 11th Annual UMB Holiday Craft Fair.

The aroma of clove and balsam fir radiated between the Elm Ballrooms and the lobby at the SMC Campus Center at the 3½-hour event on Nov. 30. It was either that or Theresa Carrington’s You and Me Soaps, whipped shea butter, and fragrance oils.

More than 60 vendors — faculty, staff, students, and friends of the University — displayed their unique crafts at the fair. In addition to UMB, a common vein that connected them all together was not only the passion for what they do but also the love and support for their Baltimore community.

Starkell, owner and creator of Terra Verde, remains active in the community through her participation in farmers markets and local events such as the UMB Craft Fair.

After wrapping up a soy candle housed in a copper Mason jar, she said, “You can also find me at the farmers market underneath the Jones Falls Expressway, every Sunday from 7 a.m. to 12.” This was a common refrain heard among vendors and even the cacophony of shoppers testing out samples.

In front of Infused Spreads, a family-owned business specializing in handcrafted preserves, jams, and fruit butters, Emem Moody caught up with one of her regulars. They exchanged narratives of when Moody participated in the Baltimore Herb Festival back in May and when the habanero plum butter is expected to make its return. “I did not bring any with me this time,” Moody said.

She later mentioned the JFX farmers market and assured the customer that she will have the habanero plum butter then. Asked if she made and packaged the jams herself, Moody, who was joined by her husband and daughter, said, “My husband and I both make the jams and butters.”

The tart and heat from Moody’s jam sample turned this shopper’s attention to the assortment of olive oils and vinegars at Dimitrios Komninos’ table. The olive oil and vinegar bottles were aligned evenly on top of a dark blue tablecloth. The scene was set for casual taste testing, but the flavors and products were anything but.

As one of the descendants of the Dimitri Giannakos family, Komninos’ products brought the UMB community back to his olive farm in southern Greece. “My family grows and harvests the oils,” Komninos said. “We have a farm at the foothills of Mount Taygetos, where we have been producing olive oil for over 100 years.” While Dimitrios’ olive oils are featured in several Baltimore restaurants, shoppers also can find a taste of southern Greece at the Waverly farmers market on Barclay and East 32nd streets.

Starkell, Moody, and Komninos are just some of the many vendors who go beyond the storefront and bring their craft directly to the community. Whether it is at the UMB Craft Fair or beyond, face-to-face interactions are one of the core values that drives many of these local vendors. For the UMB faculty, staff, students, and friends who participated in this year’s Craft Fair, they had an opportunity to showcase their skill and craft that goes beyond their schools and departments, whether that was an artistic craft or baked good.

For the local vendors, their roots within the community collectively paints a unique portrait of Baltimore that goes beyond its sports teams, geography, and policies. It is precisely the owners of these small businesses that make the contribution to go out and build narratives that gives Baltimore a unique story.

— Jennie Rivera

See more photos from the UMB Holiday Craft Fair.

Jennie RiveraPeople, University LifeDecember 3, 20180 comments
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University of Maryland School of Medicine and Center for Vaccine Development and Global Health logo

Female Research Volunteers Needed for Cytomegalovirus Vaccine Study

The Center for Vaccine Development and Global Health (CVD) at the School of Medicine is recruiting healthy females for a study on human cytomegalovirus (CMV). To learn more, go to this webpage.

You may be eligible if you are:

  • A female
  • 16 to 35 years old
  • In good health
  • Have exposure to young children

Participation lasts about three years. You will receive three investigational vaccinations. You will be compensated for your time and transportation. For more information, call 410-706-6156 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Human CMV also is known as human herpesvirus 5 (HHV-5). Contracting CMV appears to require close or intimate contact with persons who are releasing CMV in their urine, saliva, or other secretions. CMV also can be transmitted via blood transfusion, breast milk, sexual intercourse, and transplanted organs.

In most healthy individuals, CMV infection is symptom-free. When symptoms are present, they are often mild, can be confused with other illnesses, and include fever, sore throat, fatigue, and/or swollen glands. After infection, the virus remains in the body. Healthy individuals with latent CMV infection can reactivate to shed the virus in their saliva or urine, which also is predominantly symptom-free. It is known that CMV can cause serious disease in newborns who are exposed during the pregnancy and in immuno-compromised individuals. The range of disease in newborns with CMV infection includes fetal/infant death to neurological and sensory impairments, which are diagnosed later in childhood.

Linda WadsworthBulletin Board, ResearchDecember 3, 20180 comments
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