Subscribe to receive this publication by email.
WSU logo
   TheDean's Newsletter

photo of Dr. Gary Pollack
From College of Pharmacy Dean
Gary Pollack, Ph.D.
May 2015
In This Issue...

Dear Friends and Colleagues:

Another (academic) year has come and (almost) gone, and we turn our attention to commencement. Looking inward, as academic programs tend to do from time to time (exemplified by self-studies), the term commencement, which has roots in the Old French commencier, “to start”, seems a misnomer. This is, after all, the end, is it not? For our Doctor of Pharmacy graduates, the end of four years of study and preparation on top of three or more years of undergraduate and prerequisite work; for our Doctor of Philosophy graduates, the end of four or five (or perhaps more) years toiling in the laboratory and writing lengthy dissertations. A better term perhaps would be “cessation” (which maybe captures the sentiment of many graduands), we could have cessation ceremonies complete with cessation regalia, cessation speakers, and cessation parties.

Commencement, of course, refers to the beginning of students’ lives after they leave the academic nest. We celebrate not their education per se, but their (and to some extent our) accomplishments, successes, and aspirations.

In our college, “commencement season” really begins with our Donor Appreciate and Awards evening, which occurred a couple of weeks ago. This event gives us an opportunity to acknowledge the contributions of our donors and supporters, many of whom are alumni of our program, as well as the successes of students who have received scholarships or other honors. We also recognize award-winning faculty at this event. This year we had the opportunity to unveil a new video about our Doctor of Pharmacy program:

Our “commencement season” also includes honoring members of our third-year class who performed meritoriously on the Pharmacy Curriculum Outcomes Assessment (this year with a lovely dinner at Clinkerdaggers), and welcoming students who will matriculate next August with receptions in Spokane, Yakima, and Bellevue. We value any opportunity to have our current students interact with, and be role models for, the next group of talented students who will join our program.

Of course, the centerpiece of “commencement season” is, well, commencement. This year we are extremely fortunate to have Dr. Richard Carmona as our commencement speaker. Talk about modeling success: Dr. Carmona is a former U.S. surgeon general, having served in that role from 2002-06. Dr. Carmona’s tenure as surgeon general resulted in two of the most important Surgeon’s General Reports ever issued: on the dangers of second-hand exposure to tobacco smoke and the health consequences of obesity in our country. We are grateful to Dr. Carmona for making the time to visit us in Spokane, and to provide his unique insight to our students.

Best wishes,

Gary M. Pollack

Gary M. Pollack
Washington State University College of Pharmacy

Dr. Jean-Baptiste Roullet
Clinical researcher joins the WSU College of Pharmacy
photo: Dr. Jean-Baptiste Roullet
Dr. Jean-Baptise Roullet  
Jean-Baptiste Roullet, Ph.D., is a new clinical professor in the experimental and systems pharmacology (ESP) section at the Washington State University College of Pharmacy. Roullet studies autism and rare diseases caused by impaired cholesterol metabolism. He joins WSU from Oregon Health Sciences University (OHSU), and will continue his research at the College of Pharmacy and teach first and second-year student pharmacists in the Doctor of Pharmacy program.

“The College of Pharmacy is very fortunate to have recruited Dr. Roullet," said Mike Gibson, chair of ESP. "He is a very talented and experienced clinical researcher, with many years of managing and overseeing clinical trials in a number of diverse metabolic disorders. The college, and experimental and systems pharmacology, is very lucky to have him join us as we continue to grow."

Roullet's research expertise is in lipid metabolism, cardiovascular diseases, blood pressure regulation, and rare diseases. He contributed to three U.S. patents in the health sciences.

He is an investigator with the Sterol and Isoprenoid Research (STAIR) Consortium. STAIR is one of 21 consortia in the Rare Diseases Clinical Research Network, which is an initiative funded by the National Institutes of Health. The consortium includes clinicians and scientists who have teamed up from nine academic institutions across the U.S. and internationally to discover causes and formulate treatments for diseases like the Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome (SLOS).

“SLOS is a genetic disorder that prevents a person’s body from making cholesterol,” said Roullet. “The cholesterol synthesis pathway is a central metabolic pathway that guides the function of all cells in humans. If it doesn’t work, then not much else does. Once you understand that, then you can expand to other diseases. Studying rare diseases—something very specific—allows us to understand more common diseases.”

Now that he has joined the ESP team at WSU, Roullet will continue to pursue his research together with Gibson's team who studies other rare diseases.

“Joining experimental and systems pharmacology will contribute to consolidating WSU’s position as a major stakeholder in rare disease research,” Roullet said.

Roullet is also interested in studying the role of the cholesterol pathway in the regulation of fat cell formation from adipose-tissue-derived stem cells, a process called adipogenesis.

“We have evidence that the cholesterol pathway is implicated in this process” said Roullet. “Down the road, this research may lead to the identification of novel compounds that slow down the formation of fat cells and could be used to fight obesity. Securing funding for this research is a priority, and eventually the research could support Ph.D. students or postdoctoral researchers.”

Roullet’s research also focuses on autism. His team has been using stem cells made from skin cells isolated from individuals with autism to study autistic neurons and the autistic brain. This research will continue in collaboration with Roullet’s partners at OHSU in Portland. By partnering with one or more of the local hospitals, Roullet is hoping to develop relationships within the health care system here in Spokane in order to build the clinical connections needed to bring these types of rare disease studies to the Spokane area.

Roullet grew up and was trained in France. He received his pharmacy degree from Paris V University, holds professional certifications in laboratory medicine (immunology, hematology, bacteriology, virology, and parasitology) and has two doctoral degrees in biochemistry.

Roullet practiced for many years as a pharmacist-clinical chemist at Necker-Enfants Malades hospital, one of the major university hospitals in Paris. “But I got drawn into research early, and have been conducting research for almost my entire career,” he said.

Roullet came to the U.S. in 1985 on a visiting professor appointment at OHSU in Portland, Oregon. After a short stay back in France, he was offered a faculty position in the Department of Medicine and returned to OHSU in 1989. In 2006 he joined the Department of Pediatrics at OHSU and started his research on rare diseases and autism. He now lives in Spokane and has one daughter who lives in Portland.

Roullet’s appointment at the WSU College of Pharmacy began this March. “I was trained originally as a pharmacist, so I am very glad to be coming back into a pharmacy environment,” said Roullet.
Women in science
Ph.D. students lead WSU to partner with national women’s science association
By: Lorraine Nelson, WSU Health Sciences Spokane
After a short time as a graduate student in pharmaceutical sciences, Kari Gaither started seriously thinking about her future. It appeared hard work alone was not going to magically get her the job she wanted after she finished her Ph.D.

“I wanted to find a group that would show me how to put myself out there,” Gaither said. “I’ve never been good at tooting my own horn. I don’t think it’s as easy or natural for women as for men. I really wanted help in those areas.”

Gaither checked the resources at Washington State University’s main campus in Pullman, and the health sciences campus in Spokane where she is located, but didn’t find what she was looking for. She searched online for “women in science organizations.” The national Association for Women in Science (AWIS) was one of the few options available and she joined.

Gaither recruited fellow graduate student Ana Vergara to join. The two are developing and practicing their leadership skills as president and vice president, respectively, of the Graduate Research Student Association (GRSA) at WSU. They have organized and implemented membership recruiting events for GRSA as well as AWIS and held educational seminars and a leadership workshop for students on the WSU Health Sciences Spokane campus.

Perhaps their most important act as campus leaders to date is the work they have done to create a childcare support system on the Spokane campus, where none currently exists.

photo: AWIS Inland NW- WSU founders
AWIS Inland NW - WSU founders Kari Gaither and Ana Vergara (front), and faculty advisors Connie Remsberg, Vanessa Gonzalez-Perez, and Katheryn Meier.  
To bring AWIS to WSU the two received support from the College of Pharmacy, both financial and advisory through their three faculty advisors. Although Vergara was eager to join AWIS after hearing all the resources AWIS had to offer from Gaither, the $60 annual membership fee was stopping her. She found an option for WSU to form an institutional partnership with AWIS, which provides free membership to all students. She and Gaither approached the College of Pharmacy dean, who contacted the deans of four other colleges on WSU’s main campus in Pullman, and the five colleges then pooled their money and became an institutional partner of AWIS.

“AWIS provides a place to develop leadership skills, confidence, and vision to prepare for a career in the sciences,” Vergara said. That is what attracted her to this organization and hopes many other women and men can benefit from this organization as well.

Now, the AWIS webinars and other resources are available for free to WSU students on all campuses. More than 45 WSU students have joined, Gaither said, and a number of them also are members of the affiliate she and Vergara have started, which is a step toward establishing a chapter.

“There are a couple of men in the group, too, so it’s not just for women,” Gaither said. “Everybody needs to learn how to communicate effectively and be a good leader. These skills are essential to future success. If you are asked to step up to do something, you need to do it and that usually requires good communication and leadership.”

Gaither and Vergara intend for the AWIS group to be open to scientists at other institutions as well as those in the community. They can be reached at: or followed on Facebook at AWIS Inland Northwest-WSU, or on Twitter @AWISinlandNW.
NCPA Outstanding Student Member Award
WSU student pharmacist receives national honor
photo: Jeff Crouch with nominators Patrick Stolz and Kimberly Paulson
Jeff Crouch (center) with classmates and nominators Patrick Stolz and Kimberly Paulson  
Jeff Crouch, student pharmacist in the class of 2017 at the WSU College of Pharmacy, received the 2015 Outstanding Student Member Award from the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) Foundation.

“This year, 17 students total will be receiving this award, as a result of being nominated by their chapter peers,” said NCPA representative Diana Courtney. Only one student from each Doctor of Pharmacy program can be nominated, she said.

Crouch was nominated by Patrick Stolz and Kimberly Paulson, who are Crouch’s classmates on the WSU local NCPA student chapter leadership team, for the hard work and dedication that he gives to his local chapter and community pharmacy practice.

“Our executive team feels that Mr. Jeff Crouch deserves this award and recognition because he has demonstrated a strong passion for independent pharmacy. He is a very involved member of our student NCPA chapter. For example, he participated in compounding club, attended NCPA’s annual conference in Austin, Texas, and competed in the Pruitt Schutte Student Business Plan Competition this year. He is always looking for a way to better himself, our NCPA student chapter, and the profession of independent pharmacy,” wrote Paulson in her nomination letter.

The NCPA Foundation provides scholarships for professional development and research grants to pharmacy faculty, students and practitioners in order to contribute to the success of independent community pharmacy.

Other College News
  • Pharmacotherapy professor emeritus William E. Fassett and two co-authors published, "Pharmacists and executions," in The Hill Congress Blog on April 10, 2015. read article
  • William Fassett published, "Washington Pharmacy Law: A User’s Guide 2015," on the website
  • Pharmacotherapy Associate Professor Joshua J. Neumiller published the book, "Practical Insulin, 4th Edition," for the American Diabetes Association.
  • Joshua Neumiller and one co-author presented the poster, “Medication-taking practices and preferences in patients with multiple chronic medical conditions (MCMC),” at the National Kidney Foundation Spring Clinical Meeting in Dallas, Texas, on March 26, 2015. Poster authors: Joshua Neumiller, Pharmacotherapy Clinical Professor and Associate Dean for Professional Education Brian Gates, and eight others.
  • Pharmaceutical Sciences Postdoctoral Research Associate Heidi Medford and one co-author presented the poster, "Knockdown of the 110kDa subunit of OGT dysregulates cardiac remodeling in response to pressure overload," at the Experimental Biology Conference in Boston, Mass., March 31-April 3, 2015. Poster authors: Heidi Medford, Experimental and Systems Pharmacology Associate Professor Susan A. Marsh, and three others.
  • Experimental and Systems Pharmacology Postdoctoral Research Associate Kara Vogel, Experimental and Systems Pharmacology Research Associate Garrett Ainslie, Allen I. White Distinguished Professor and Experimental and Systems Pharmacolgy Chair K. Michael Gibson, and two co-authors presented the poster, "Selected correction of bigabatrin-related toxicity in mice with adjuvant rapalog intervention," at the Experimental Biology Conference in Boston, Mass., March 31-April 3, 2015.
  • Pharmaceutical Sciences Associate Professor Salah-uddin Ahmed presented, "Synovial fibroblasts in inflammatory arthritis: passive responders or active mediators of joint destruction," as part of the College of Pharmacy Research Seminar Series on April 15, 2015.
  • Experimental and Systems Pharmacology Clinical Research Professor Vanessa González-Pérez was a plenary speaker at the 2015 National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) April 16-18, 2015, at Eastern Washington University.
  • K. Michael Gibson gave a seminar titled, "GABA and mitophagy: novel pathomechanisms in disordered GABA metabolism," at Boston Children’s Hospital on April 17, 2015.
  • Experimental and Systems Pharmacology Assistant Professor Shobhan Gaddameedhi gave a lecture titled, "Circadian rhythms, UV-DNA repair & skin cancer: surprising relationships in mice, what about in humans?" at the University of Washington School of Medicine Dermatology Division in Seattle, Wash., on April 29, 2015.
  • Pharmacotherapy Research Professor Carol Wysham received a $67,558 grant over 1.5 years for the clinical trial, "Efficacy and safety trial of linagliptin, as add on to basal insulin in elderly Type 2 diabetes mellitus patients (SILVERLINA)." This project is a 24-week randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel group, efficacy and safety trial of once daily linagliptin, 5 milligrams orally, as add on to basal insulin in elderly Type 2 diabetes mellitus patients with insufficient glycaemic control.
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) students
  • Sara Dumit (Gaddameedhi lab, experimental and systems pharmacology) will present, “Circadian regulation of DNA damage response: implications of chronochemotherapy in triple negative breast cancer treatment,” for the College of Pharmacy Graduate Student Research Seminar on May 1, 2015, on the WSU Health Sciences campus in Spokane.
  • Sara Dumit with five other WSU students won the fifth annual WSU Global Case Competition on April 10, 2015. Her team will have the opportunity to travel to Brazil for further study related to the case and split a scholarship awarded for first place. read news story
  • Dustin T. Rae (Trobridge lab, pharmaceutical sciences) received a $500 Dorothy Otto Kennedy Travel Award to attend the 18th Annual Meeting for the American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy in New Orleans, La., May 12 - 16, 2015. Rae will present three abstracts at the meeting.
  • Victor Bii (Trobridge lab, pharmaceutical sciences) received a $500 Dorothy Otto Kennedy Travel Award to attend the 18th Annual Meeting for the American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy in New Orleans, La., May 12 - 16, 2015. Bii will present the poster titled, “A novel gammaretroviral shuttle vector insertional mutagenesis screen to identify breast cancer metastasis genes."
  • Kari Gaither (Liu lab, pharmaceutical sciences) presented the poster titled, “Antitumor and antimetastatic response of melanoma-bearing normal and alcoholic mice to Sunitinib and ALT-803 treatment,” on April 20, 2015, at the American Association of Cancer Research in Philadelphia, Penn. Poster authors: faculty co-authors Pharmaceutical Sciences Dorothy Otto Kennedy Distinguished Professor Gary Meadows, Pharmaceutical Sciences Associate Research Professor Hui Zhang, graduate student co-author Alex Little (Meadows lab, pharmaceutical sciences) and seven others.
  • Emily Johnson (Marsh lab, experimental and systems pharmacology), with faculty co-authors Heidi Meadford, Susan Marsh, and two others, co-authored the research poster, "Knockdown of the 110kDa subunit of OGT dysregulates cardiac remodeling in response to pressure overload."
Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) students
  • Cassandra Song was selected by her peers to speak at the 2015 Commencement Ceremony on Thursday, May 7, 2015.
  • Ryan Nottingham was selected as a recipient of the 2015 AACP Walmart Scholars Program with faculty mentor Pharmacotherapy Clinical Assistant Professor and Director of Student Services Jennifer Robinson. Nottingham will receive a $1,000 scholarship to attend the AACP Annual Meeting and the AACP Teachers Seminar in National Harbor, Maryland, July 11-15, 2015.
  • Jeff Crouch is one of 17 students nationwide to receive the 2015 NCPA Outstanding Student Member Award.
  • Derek Matlock was selected to participate in a weeklong national pharmacy business training hosted by Live Oak Bank in August. Read news story
  • The WSU Professional Pharmacy Student Organization (PPSO) received the 2015 President's Award for Leadership, for the organization's impact on advancing student leadership and engagement at WSU.
Coming Events
  • May 7, 2015
    The College of Pharmacy will host the 2015 Commencement Ceremony from 2:00-4:30 p.m. at the Martin Woldson Theater in downtown Spokane, Washington. event details

WSU College of Pharmacy logo
P.O. Box 1495, Spokane, WA  99210-1495 |