Author Archives: Pharmacy Admin

FAMU College of Pharmacy Celebrates Founder’s Day and Opening Of New 54,000-Square-Foot Research Facility
05 Nov

FAMU College of Pharmacy Celebrates Founder’s Day and Opening Of New 54,000-Square-Foot Research Facility

The Florida A&M University (FAMU) College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences (COPPS), Institute of Public Health will celebrate its Founder’s Day along with a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Pharmacy Building Phase II – East Wing noon to 2 p.m. Friday, Sept. 20.

In honor of COPPS’s founding in September 1951, the faculty, staff and students are hosting a college-wide cookout, along with other activities.

“The College has a rich history in educating practitioners who care for the community, making lives fuller and healthier and in training Ph.D. level researchers who strive to make new discoveries in the pharmaceutical sciences,” said COPPS Dean Johnnie Early, Ph.D.

The 54,000-square-foot facility will provide researchers with a state-of-the-art facility to conduct research in the areas of breast cancer, health disparities with a focus on prostate cancer, manganese and neurodegenerative disease, and other fields of study. Several faculty members were recognized by the University for their commitment to research excellence, including the 2019 Emerging Researcher award.

The first three floors of Phase II include 16 labs, one computer lab, two telepresence classrooms, one dark room, one training room, and a facility dedicated to extensive research.  Two floors will be added later.

COPPS has secured more than $200 million in contracts and grants, including a $14.8 million renewal grant from the National Institute of Health (NIH) to perform and enhance health disparities research. The College has also been awarded over 35 patents, which is ranked No.1 among HBCUs.

For more information about the FAMU College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Institute of Public Health, visit 

This article originally appeared on FAMUFOWARD on September 19, 2019”


FAMU College of Pharmacy Prints 3D Cornea Using Human Cells
05 Nov

FAMU College of Pharmacy Prints 3D Cornea Using Human Cells

Florida A&M University (FAMU) College of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences (COPPS) researchers have, for the first time in the United States, created corneas using a high performance 3D printer.

Funded by the National Science Foundation, the project is geared toward 3D printing and additive processing and could lead to breakthroughs in helping patients with eye problems and reduce the need to conduct testing on animals.  

FAMU Pharmacy professor Mandip Sachdeva, Ph.D., who leads the three-person team, said this process of manufacturing corneas using high throughput 3D printing technology, which could print a number of corneas in a matter of minutes, should become routine.  

The group, which includes, Shallu Kutlehria, a doctoral student from India, and Paul Dinh, a biology major from Tallahassee, spent the past year and a half creating an entire 3D model of a blinking eyeball. The corneas are printed in 3D by a bio-printer and made from materials including human cells.

Research assistant Dinh, 20, became interested in the field while in high school. He said this project requires pushing the envelope on cutting-edge technology. 

“Regular 3D printers, normally extrude some sort of hot plastic that eventually takes the shape of whatever you want,” Dinh said. “With a bio-printer, instead of extruding a hot plastic, we can extrude materials that are similar or present in the human body.” 

A United Kingdom scientist created the cornea technology, but the FAMU laboratory is working to make it more efficient by creating a mold to print multiple corneas. The diameter and dimensions of an average cornea are entered into the printer, taking nearly 10 minutes to produce six corneas. 

“From there, we can set up an assembly of 3D-printed corneas in a diffusion cell system and then test a lot of formulations or products at the same time and evaluate the data thus minimizing animal testing,” Sachdeva said.  

The corneas will then be entered into an artificial blinking eye, tear fluid and all, which was also printed in 3D, allowing the products to be tested in a simulated atmosphere. 

While there is still a lot of innovation to be done in the field, they are only weeks away from inserting the cornea into the eye model. 

“The ultimate goal is to file some patents as we move forward,” said Sachdeva. 

The visually impaired will benefit from this technology, said Dinh. 

“I can go and travel and see all these beautiful things and then there’s people out there that can’t really see at all,” he said. “It really made me appreciate the work that I was doing and that it had meaning to it and maybe my work can help someone in the future.” 

This article originally appeared on FAMUFOWARD on June 11th, 2019


FAMU College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences Students Increase NAPLEX Pass Rate
09 Oct

FAMU College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences Students Increase NAPLEX Pass Rate

TALLAHASSEE, FL., October 9, 2019 – The Florida A&M University (FAMU) College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences (COPPS) Class of 2019 made gains in their performance on the North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination® (NAPLEX®).

The 83.65 percent pass rate, for students who took the exam for the first time, represents an increase of approximately 8 percentage points over last year’s results. Students took the exam between May 1, 2019, and August 31, 2019.

The NAPLEX® measures a candidate’s knowledge of the practice of pharmacy. The exam is developed by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy and is one component used by the state boards of pharmacy for assessing a candidate’s ability to practice pharmacy.

“I am extremely proud of the performance of the Class of 2019 during the first test window. The College is continually working to increase our first-time candidates’ licensure pass rates,” said Jocelyn D. Spates, PharmD., COPPS associate dean of Clinical Affairs.

Spates serves on the University’s Licensure Pass Rate Task Force chaired by Provost Maurice Edington, Ph.D.

“We are analyzing our program and generating actionable recommendations to continue this upward trend of pass rates,” she said.

Currently, the NAPLEX national average for first-time candidates is 90.59 percent; the state average is 86.96 percent.

“Compliments to the staff and faculty for fostering a caring and supportive environment for student achievement. And we are all grateful,” said COPPS Dean Johnnie Early II, Ph.D.

Dr. Luque Presentation – Latino Cancer Conference
05 Mar

Dr. Luque Presentation – Latino Cancer Conference

Dr. Luque was one of 70 research poster presenters at the Advancing the Science of Cancer in Latinos held Feb. 21-23, 2018 in San Antonio, TX. The conference was organized by Mays Cancer Center and the Institute for Health Promotion Research at UT Health San Antonio under the leadership of Dr. Amelie Ramirez. There were more than 225 esteemed attendees from over 20 states and over 35 guest speakers. The presentations covered multiple areas of cancer research in Latinos including laboratory research, genetics, access to care, screening tests, community-based interventions, and survivorship.

“We are honored that Dr. Luque has joined our Institute of Public Health Family! He brings a wealth of research expertise in the area of cancer disparity in Latino populations and will make innovative and invaluable contributions to our public health program, College, University, State, and Nation.”

Dr. Cynthia Harris

Lee Awarded 2016/17 Researcher of the Year
10 Jul

Lee Awarded 2016/17 Researcher of the Year

Dr. Eunsook Lee was awarded the 2016/17 Researcher of the Year in April of this year for her outstanding research. Eunsook Lee, Ph.D. joined Florida A&M University College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences in July 2016 as a professor in Pharmacology and Toxicology, specializing in Neuropharmacology and Neurotoxicology. Her research has focused on understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in the regulation of astrocytic 
glutamate transporters (GLAST and GLT-1) associated with neurodegeneration and neuroprotection. In addition, Dr. Lee’s lab is also investigating neuroprotective agents via enhancing astrocytic glutamate transporters, using epigenetic modulators such as valproic acid, estrogens and selective estrogen receptor modulators such as tamoxifen and raloxifen. 
These research activities are supported by research grants awarded by the National Institutes of Health through an earlier 5-year SC1 grant as well as her current RO1 grant.  Join us as we congratulate Dr. Lee on her recent accomplishments and look forward to more of her outstanding research in the near future.
FAMU launches Digital Learning Initiative to transform classrooms with technology
20 Jun

FAMU launches Digital Learning Initiative to transform classrooms with technology

While Florida A&M University students are enjoying summer activities, such as internships and study abroad experiences; faculty are hard at work finding unique ways to overhaul their classrooms by weaving the latest technology infusion upgrades into their courses.

Professors are redesigning their classes in preparation for fall to include the use of blended/hybrid approaches to teaching and learning. The course redesign efforts are a component of the University’s newly launched Provost’s Digital Learning Initiative (DLI) and promote student engagement, class discussions and instruction all within the swipe of an iPad or tablet.

The initiative’s launch was celebrated during FAMU’s annual Teaching and Learning Conference, which was recently held to promote best practices for course redesign and student engagement among faculty.

According to Genyne Boston, Ph.D., associate provost for Faculty Affairs and Faculty Development, the initiative works to ensure that faculty members connect with students in the technology realm they are familiar with, such as the use of popular apps, to enhance learning outcomes and the learning environment.

“The goal of the Provost’s Digital Learning Initiative is to transform the teaching and learning landscape at Florida A&M University in order to ensure that our students have exceptional experiences in the classroom,” Boston said. “Digital innovations like those adopted by our initiative promote student-centered instructional practice and enhance the expertise of our outstanding faculty.”

The program’s objectives include:

  • Increasing the utilization of digital learning instruction campus-wide
  • Improving the quality of the student learning experience
  • Enhancing the instructional knowledge and expertise of faculty who are committed to transforming their learning environments through digital innovation

According to FAMU’s Teaching & Learning Center Program Coordinator Deidre P. Williams, faculty members of the 2017-2018 cohort recently completed an intensive five-week workshop series and will participate in a second workshop this June-July. Each workshop offers in-depth training, interactive dialogues and collaborative visioning exercises to foster personal and professional growth for participants, allowing them to align their teaching methods with the best digital learning practices and share their insight with colleagues.

“It is important that each DLI fellow have the proper support and resources needed to redesign and teach their courses,” Williams said. “The Teaching & Learning Center at FAMU helps to facilitate the course redesign process by providing each fellow with access to instructional designers and the latest technology to make the integration of digital tools seamless. As a result, the fellows have already started to lay the groundwork for innovation through digital learning to occur at FAMU.”

Participating professors in the inaugural 2017-2018 cohort include:

  • Muhammad Haseeb, Ph.D., College of Agriculture and Food Sciences
  • Aurelia Alexander, OTD, School of Allied Health Sciences
  • Rebecca Blankenship, Ph.D., College of Education
  • Katherine Milla, Ph.D., College of Agriculture and Food Sciences
  • Ramesh Katam, Ph.D., College of Science and Technology
  • Victor Eno, Ph.D., College of Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities
  • Rajiv Dalal, Sc.D., School of Allied Health Sciences
  • Park Bum Sang, Ph.D., School of Architecture and Engineering Technology
  • Charlotte Baker, DrPH, College and Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • Errick Farmer, Ph.D., School of Business and Industry

Professor Rebecca Blankenship, Ph.D., praised the impact of the initiative.

“I applied to become a fellow of the Provost’s Digital Learning Initiative because I wanted to redesign my classes to be more reflective of and responsive to the authentic needs of the 21st-century learner,” Blankenship said. “The program has enabled me to more deeply reflect on my current teaching methods and course construct. I am looking forward to the next phase of the project as we move forward with retooling our courses for fall 2017.”

Photo: From front to back starting at the left: Victor Eno, Ph.D., College of Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities; Ramesh Katam, Ph.D., College of Science and Technology; Katherine Milla, Ph.D., College of Agriculture and Food Sciences; Rebecca Blankenship, Ph.D., College of Education; Muhammad Haseeb, Ph.D., College of Agriculture & Food Sciences; Rajiv Dalal, Sc.D., School of Allied Health Sciences; Aurelia Alexander, OTD, School of Allied Health Sciences; Charlotte Baker, DrPH, College and Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences; Errick Farmer, Ph.D., School of Business and Industry ; Park Bum SangPh.D., School of Architecture and Engineering Technology.

Axelrad and Becker test Leon County School water
15 Jun

Axelrad and Becker test Leon County School water


The metal lead is both ubiquitous in the human environment and highly neurotoxic. With the recent lead-in-drinking-water crisis in Flint Michigan, there is renewed attention on drinking water as a source of lead exposure particularly in children whose developing brains are most sensitive to neurological damage from lead exposure.

While US sources of drinking water are most often low in lead levels, the use of lead for drinking water service pipes, plumbing fixtures and in solder used to connect pipes or to connect pipes to plumbing fixtures, may add significant amounts of lead to drinking water. Recently the American Medical Association recommended that drinking water in all US schools be tested for lead levels. 

In July and August 2016, a research team from FAMU IPH sampled 8 schools in Wakulla County and 16 elementary schools in Leon County respectively for the toxic metal lead in drinking water (drinking fountains and school cafeteria water taps).

The research team comprised Dr. Donald M. Axelrad, Ph.D.  (FAMU IPH), Dr. Alan Becker (FAMU IPH), Dr. Ronald Saff MD (private practice), Dr. Vincent Salters (FSU Mag Lab), Dr. Charles Jagoe (FAMU SoE), Dr. Jeremy Owens (FSU Mag Lab), and FAMU IPH students Mr. David Gbogbo and Mr. Olasunkanmi Fasakin.


We found that several drinking water samples from Leon County Schools were “elevated” regarding lead levels and 2 (out of 32) were out of compliance with the US EPA standard (15 μg L−1). There are several standards/recommendations for lead levels in drinking water (1, 5, 15, 20) , but considering the American Academy of Pediatrics recently recommended drinking water standard of 1 μg L−1 lead, 30 out of 32 Leon County Schools’ samples exceeded this.

Leon County Schools took immediate action routinely flushing water pipes thus reducing lead levels.

Future Actions: 

On the basis of our findings, and as per our recommendation, Leon County Schools is considering additional action, namely a “Water Quality Assurance Program” for the Leon County School district.