SHARKS RX Spring 2017 Magazine

NOVA SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY College of Pharmacy 18 19 R obust research, today and into the future, is becoming a key component in the continuing success of the College of Pharmacy. “When you have opportunities for research, you attract better faculty members and higher-quality students. That brings up the level of everything you do,” said Lisa M. Deziel, Pharm.D., Ph.D., dean of the College of Pharmacy. “When you have strong students and excellent faculty members, you’re able to do so much more.” According to Deziel, growing research into a core element of the college has a two-pronged benefit. It puts the college at the forefront of the profession, not only positioning NSU as a leader in new discoveries, but also bringing “an air of enthusiasm and excitement into the classroom.” Moreover, it satisfies students who want more than lectures straight from a textbook. “They want to hear things that are relevant,” Deziel explained. “They like to hear actual experiences about what researchers are doing in the lab.” Helping make that happen is NSU’s new Center for Collaborative Research (CCR), which opened in September. The $100-million, 215,000-square-foot facility is more than simply one of the largest and most advanced research facilities in Florida. It’s an environment where researchers from across campus explore ideas, sound out scientific theories, and brainstorm research concepts with their counterparts. College of Pharmacy faculty members and their graduate students already are pursuing their research in the CCR. “The importance of research in the CCR in our case is to develop drugs to treat disease,” explained Peter Gannett, Ph.D., associate dean of research and graduate education. “While the burden of drug development has shifted most certainly to drug companies, what is still present in the academia environments is research to identify drug targets against which drugs will be developed. NSU is sort of a newcomer in the research area, but it has made much progress.” When Gannett arrived at NSU two years ago, the College of Pharmacy was ranked 84th in the nation among about 130 pharmacy programs with regard to research funding. Last year, it rose to 64. The goal is to rank in the 40s by 2020, he said. By growing its research activity, the college is following a growing trend. “It’s more critical to a full and well-rounded program,” said Kristin Block, Ph.D., associate director of research and graduate programs for the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy. “Having that research allows you to better adapt to the changing times and our changing understanding of disease states and medications, treatments, and therapies.” In the end, research is contributing more to the college than just scientific breakthroughs. “The skills you learn doing research—critical-thinking skills, analytical skills—are abilities students can take with them and apply to other situations or jobs they’re in,” Deziel said. “While imperative for our Ph.D. students, our Pharm.D. students, who may not enter into a research position, take the problem-solving process with them, which will help with everything they do.” Groundbreaking Researchers Make a Difference By Arnie Rosenberg (continued on next page)