van Breemen students in lab

A diverse community of thinkers and leaders, eager to work together and make a difference in the world.


Our 150 graduate students and postdoctoral trainees are not just busy preparing to be leaders and do important work, they’re already making a difference. From involvement in student organizations to hands-on research, industry internships, and community outreach, College of Pharmacy graduate students are actively learning, collaborating, and doing important work in the world.

Have a question or suggestion for Dean Schumock? Contact him here.


Fall 2020 Graduate College award winners

Four students mentored by Pharmaceutical Sciences faculty won Graduate College Awards!

Hannah Petraitis (top left, Thomas lab) won the Award for Graduate Research (specifically the W.C. and May Preble Deiss Fund for Biomedical Research Award). The Award for Graduate Research is the Graduate College’s longest-running research support mechanism. Students apply on a competitive basis for awards to support their research.

Marianne Palczewski (top left, Thomas lab), Changfeng Cheng (bottom left, Moore lab), and Kaitlyn Tylor (bottom right, Federle lab) all won the Provost’s Graduate Research Award. Marianne’s award is supported by the Dorothea Fleming Student Research Fund and Changfeng’s by the LJ and M Allen Cancer Research Fund. This award has supported multidisciplinary scholarship to expose students to varied research and creative fields. The award mechanism has naturally evolved into a way for students early in their studies to develop new research directions for their PhD dissertations or terminal degree thesis/capstone project and has been used by graduate programs as a way for students to practice writing research proposals.



The 11th Annual College of Pharmacy Research Day was a great success, with 21 Poster Awards presented ($6100 total). Check out the winning posters!

Biology: Molecular & Cell Biology; Mechanism of ActionAbbVie/Horizon Award for Excellence in Research 1st PlaceAmrita Salvi, Laura R. Hardy, Kimberly N. Heath, Melissa R. Pergande, Stephanie M. Cologna, Joanna E. BurdetteInvestigating the Role of PAX8 in Modulating the Tumor Microenvironment of High-Grade Serous Ovarian Cancer
Biology: Molecular & Cell Biology; Mechanism of ActionLundbeck Award for Excellence in Research 2nd PlaceRestituto Tocmo, Jeremy J. JohnsonPrenylated Xanthones from Mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana) Activate the AhR and Nrf2 Pathways and Protect Epithelial Barrier Integrity in HT-29 Cells
Biology: Molecular & Cell Biology; Mechanism of ActionGenentech Award for Excellence in Research 3rd PlaceRaghd Nowar, Adam Schafer, Rui Xiong, Laura Cooper, Han Cheng, Hyun Lee, Yangfeng Li, Lijun RongDistinct Mechanisms of Small Molecule Inhibitors of Filoviral Entry
Chemistry: Discovery, Modeling, Design & Evaluation of Novel Drugs; Detection & Delivery SystemsAbbVie/Horizon Award for Excellence in Research 1st PlaceChangfeng Cheng, Dai Horiuchi, Ishwar Rahakrishnan, Terry W. MooreTargeting the PAH2 Domain of Transcriptional Corepressors SIN3A/B for Inhibition of Proliferation in Triple-Negative Breast Cancer
Chemistry: Discovery, Modeling, Design & Evaluation of Novel Drugs; Detection & Delivery SystemsLundbeck Award for Excellence in Research 2nd PlaceJesse Gordon-Blake, Kiira Ratia, Manel Ben Aissa, Rachel C. Knopp, Rui Xiong, Zhengnan Shen, Deyu Kong, Gregory R.J. ThatcherThe Potential of NAMPT Activators in NAD Enhancement, Neuroprotection, and Mitochondrial Improvement in Alzheimer’s Disease
Chemistry: Discovery, Modeling, Design & Evaluation of Novel Drugs; Detection & Delivery SystemsGenentech Award for Excellence in Research 3rd PlaceCutler Lewandowski, Md. Wasim Khan, Oleksii Dubrovskyi, Manel Ben Aissa, Brian Layden, Gregoary R.J. ThatcherOptimization and Characterization of Selective ABCA1 Inducers as Therapeutic Candidates for Type 2 Diabetes
Clinical, Social, and Applied SciencesAbbVie/Horizon Award for Excellence in Research 1st PlaceMichelle Lee, Eric WenzlerActivity of Aztreonam in Combination with Ceftazidime-Avibactam Against Serine- and Metallo-β-Lactamase-Producing Pseudomonas aeruginosa
Clinical, Social, and Applied SciencesLundbeck Award for Excellence in Research 2nd PlaceHsiao-Ching (Claire) Huang, Carrie Huisingh, Stephanie ChiuveIdentifying Early Mentions of Depression among Women with Endometriosis in an Electronic Heath Record (EHR)
Clinical, Social, and Applied SciencesGenentech Award for Excellence in Research 3rd PlaceMary H. Smart, Nadia A. Nabulsi, Ben S. Gerber, Lisa K. SharpA Qualitative Evaluation of a Pilot Behavioral Intervention Technology Program to Promote Walking among Underserved Patients
Innovate@UIC Innovation Award1st Place (tie)Amrita Salvi, Alexandria N. Young, Andrew C. Huntsman, Rathnayake A. Rathnayake, Melissa A. Korkmaz, Nicholas T. Cockroft, Denisse Herrera, Steven J. Kurina, A. Douglas Kinghorn, Xiaolin Cheng, Mitch A. Phelps, Leslie N. Aldrich, Stephanie M. Cologna, James R. Fuchs, Joanna E. BurdetteNatural Product-Inspired Small Molecule PHY34 Targets Nucleocytoplasmic Transport in High Grade Serous Ovarian Cancer
Innovate@UIC Innovation Award1st Place (tie)Changfeng Cheng, Dai Horiuchi, Ishwar Rahakrishnan, Terry W. MooreTargeting the PAH2 Domain of Transcriptional Corepressors SIN3A/B for Inhibition of Proliferation in Triple-Negative Breast Cancer
Innovate@UIC Innovation Award2nd Place (tie)Jesse Gordon-Blake, Kiira Ratia, Manel Ben Aissa, Rachel C. Knopp, Rui Xiong, Zhengnan Shen, Deyu Kong, Gregory R.J. ThatcherThe Potential of NAMPT Activators in NAD Enhancement, Neuroprotection, and Mitochondrial Improvement in Alzheimer’s Disease
Innovate@UIC Innovation Award2nd Place (tie)Madeline R. Hennessy, Anna M. Gutridge, Simone M. Creed, Malaika D. Argade, Richard M. van Rijn, Andrew P. RileyInvestigating the Opioid Activity of Alkaloids Isolated from the Traditional Medicinal Plant Akuamma
UI Cancer Center Cancer Science Prize1st PlaceLaura Cooper, Adam Schafer, Yangfeng Li, Han Cheng, Bani Medegan Fagla, Zhengnan Shen, Raghd Nowar, Katherine Dye, Manu Anantpadma, Robert Davey, Gregory R. J. Thatcher, Lijun Rong, Rui Xiong Screening and Reverse-Engineering of Estrogen Receptor Ligands as Potent Pan-Filovirus Inhibitors
UI Cancer Center Cancer Science Prize2nd Place (2 awards)Amanda C. Maldonado, Zeinab Y. Al Subeh, Cedric J. Pearce, Nicholas H. Oberlies, Joanna E. BurdetteEupenifeldin Induces Cell Death through Apoptosis in High-Grade Serous Ovarian Cancer
UI Cancer Center Cancer Science Prize2nd Place (2 awards)Gordon T. Luu, Melissa M. Galey, Laura M. SanchezOptimization of Protein Extraction from Tampons for Mass Spectrometry-Based Ovarian Cancer Biomarker Discovery
CCTS Multidisciplinary Team Science Award1st PlaceXiaotong Yang, Sungjoon Cho, Hyunwoo Lee, Hyun-Young JeongGut Bacterial Phenylalanine Reductive Pathway (Fld) Could be a Potential Contributor to the Host Susceptibility to Acetaminophen-Induced Liver Injury
AAPS Student Chapter Choice Award1st PlaceMarianne Palczewski, Hannah Petraitis, David Wilson, Eric Kool, Scott Gladstein, Vadim Backman, Jenna Fernandez, Natalia Tretyakova, Douglas D. ThomasNitric Oxide Inhibits DNA Demethylation Enzymes and Alters the Chromatin Landscape in Neuroblastoma
AAPS Student Chapter Choice Award2nd PlaceJacob Veenstra, Bhaskar Vemu, Restituto Tocmo, Mirielle Nauman, Jeremy J. JohnsonOil-Soluble Rosemary Extract Prevents DSS-induced Colitis and Improves Intestinal Barrier Integrity
ISPOR Student Chapter Choice Award1st PlaceAshwini Zolekar, Nadia A. Nabulsi, Alemseged A. Asfaw, Jifang Zhou, Karen Sweiss, Pritesh R. Patel, Brian C.-H. Chiu, Edith A. Nutescu, Gregory S. CalipDeclines in Health-Related Quality of Life among Older Patients Diagnosed with Hematologic Malignancies
ISPE Student Chapter Choice Award1st PlaceMrinmayee Joshi, Richard H. Chapman, Steven J. Atlas, David M. Rind, Molly Beinfeld, Avery McKenna, Shani Patel, Steven D. Pearson, Daniel R. TouchetteLong-term Cost-effectiveness of Nadofaragene firadenovec and Oportuzumab monatox for Treatment of Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG)-Unresponsive, Non-Muscle Invasive Bladder Cancer (NMIBC)
Jose Colina

Pharmaceutical Sciences PhD candidate Jose Colina (Burdette lab) won an award for Best Poster in the Gary Kruh Virtual Poster Competition  His winning poster, “Role of Hyperandrogenism in the Development of Fallopian Tube Derived High Grade Serous Ovarian Cancer” was one of two awardees in the Cancer Biology Category. Congratulations Jose on this accomplishment!

Kyle, Alesia, Connnie

Three COP students won the OTM Award for Research Production & Excellence during the COVID Pandemic.  The UIC Office of Technology Management (OTM) sponsored an award for College of Pharmacy students who have made significant progress in research during the COVID pandemic time. One student from each department was nominated by their advisor to receive this prize.

From left to right, the recipients are:

Kyle Mangano (Mankin/Vazquez-Laslop lab), Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences:

Genome-wide effects of the antimicrobial peptide apidaecin on translation termination; Mechanism of translation inhibition by type II GNAT toxin AtaT2; and Identification of small open reading frames using Ribo-Seq datasets

Alesia Vialichka (Wenzler lab), Department of Pharmacy Practice:

Activity of omadacycline against minocycline-susceptible and -resistant Acinetobacter baumannii; and Exploring the potential activity of novel antibiotic treatment regimens, including aztreonam plus ceftazidime-avibactam, against multidrug-resistant S. maltophilia for Cystic Fibrosis patients

Connie Yan, PharmD (Sharp lab), Department of Pharmacy Systems, Outcomes, & Policy:

Evaluating opioid prescribing by dentists in the United States: A mixed methods approach


Destiny, Manead, and Rocio

Three incoming PSCI graduate students have won Graduate College recruitment Fellowships, which carry a stipend as well as a tuition and partial fee waiver. The University Fellowship seeks to recruit outstanding students newly admitted to terminal master’s and PhD programs. the Access to Excellence Fellowship aims to increase the number of students from historically underrepresented groups in graduate education who enter careers as researchers and college faculty.

From left to right, the incoming 2020 class fellows are:

Destiny Durante (Penn State University): Access to Excellence Fellowship

Manead Khin (UNC Greensboro): University Fellowship

Rocío Rivera Rodríguez (University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus): Access to Excellence Fellowship


PharmD/PhD student Karol Sokolowski (Gemeinhart lab) has won the Dean’s Scholar Fellowship from the UIC Graduate College. The award is intended to provide the most distinguished advanced-level graduate students with a period of time dedicated solely to the completion of their program.

Recipients of the Dean’s Scholar Fellowship receive a fellowship stipend for the full twelve-month academic year and a tuition and partial fee waiver from the Graduate College. Congratulations Karol for this honor!

Grad Student CSSLA winners

Seven COP graduate students have won Chancellor’s Student Service and Leadership Awards (CSSLA). Since 1973, the CSSLA ceremony has recognized outstanding student leaders and student volunteers who, while maintaining high academic achievement, demonstrate a commitment to the UIC community through participation in student organizations and campus activities and throughout the greater Chicagoland area through active service and community engagement.

The College winners are (clockwise from top left):

Tova Bergsten (Burdette lab); Carter McCormick (Qato lab); Nadia Nabulsi (Sharp lab); Mirielle Nauman (Johnson lab); Bob Schultz (Touchette lab); Connie Yan (Sharp lab); Ashwini Zolekar (Nutescu lab)




Pharmaceutical Sciences PhD candidate Caleb Anderson (Federle lab) has received the Department of Defense Science, Mathematics and Research for Transformation (SMART) scholarship, as well as sponsorship by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency.

The scholarship pays full tuition and education-related expenses, a stipend, summer research internships at the sponsoring facility, and employment upon degree completion at the Department of Defense sponsoring facility.

Congratulations Caleb on this prestigious scholarship and opportunity!