Faculty in the Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences (COPPS) are making a national impact in medical research. The prestigious Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research has listed the college as the No. 12 pharmacy program in the nation for generating the most research funding, and the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) lists the college as the largest recipient of National Institutes of Health (NIH) research grants among all Florida pharmacy programs, as well as among those at the University of Georgia, Auburn and Samford.
These accomplishments have helped to contribute to the University’s recent elevation by the Carnegie Classification of Institutes of Higher Education System to an R-2 or “high research activity” institution. This new classification ranks FAMU on the same research level, with only half the faculty, as institutions such as Auburn University and Old Dominion University.
“I am extremely proud of our faculty, administration, graduate students, and our research office assistants as we do our part to keep FAMU in its rightful place as a national leader in medical research and in training the next generation of pharmaceutical scientists and pharmacy professionals,” said COPPS Dean Michael D. Thompson, Pharm.D.
At the core of the college’s advances in research is its renowned Research Centers in Minority Institutions (RCMI) Program, which over the last five years has received a total $13,696,992 in NIH funding.
The RCMI program serves the dual purpose of bringing more racial and ethnic minority scientists into mainstream research while also promoting minority health research because many of the investigators at RCMI institutions study diseases that disproportionately affect minority populations. The researchers credited for the program’s success are Karam F.A. Soliman, Ph.D., principal investigator; Carl B. Goodman, Ph.D., associate program director; and core activity leaders John Cooperwood, Ph.D and Selina Darling-Reed, Ph.D.
COPPS also recently announced two significant advances in medical research. Professor Seth Ablordeppey, Ph.D., received a total of $1,411,289, or $337,755 for four years, from the NIH’s National Institute of General Medical Sciences for his research on a new approach to the development of novel antipsychotic drugs.
“This award reinforces that Florida A&M University continues to be a leader in research at the national level. The quality of our faculty is second to none,” said Vice President for Research Timothy Moore, Ph.D. “We will continue to innovate so that we may take our ideas and change the lives of the citizens of Florida, the nation, and the world.”
COPPS also recently opened its state-of-the-art Molecular Modeling Facility (MMF) to afford a variety of multidiscipline biomedical researchers an environment that integrates molecular modeling and machine-driven simulation tools to address fundamental research questions through the development of a variety of models and simulation profiles correlated to various data sets.
Recent Pharmacy Grants Through the NIH
- The FAMU-TCC Bridges to the Baccalaureate in the Biomedical Sciences Program received a total of $1,887,755 or $399,699 annually over five years in NIH-National Institute of General Medical Sciences funding. The Bridges program is intended to enhance the pool of community college students from diverse backgrounds nationally underrepresented in biomedical and behavioral sciences that go on to research careers in the biomedical and behavioral sciences as well as participation in NIH-funded research.
- The FAMU P20 Center of Excellence for Cancer Research, Training and Community Service received the NIH-National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities grant for $5,443,319 in total or $980,609 per year across a five-year period. The P20 COE program’s overall goal and objective is to develop innovative cancer research (breast and lung) utilizing an interdisciplinary and synergistic approach toward addressing some of the most significant health consequences in minority and socioeconomic disadvantaged populations.
- The P20 Florida Minority Cancer Research and Training Center (MiCaRT) received $692,088 or $177,045 across a four-year period in NIH-National Cancer Institute funding. MiCaRT is the state’s first and only National Cancer Institute P20-funded minority institution/cancer center partnership focused on cancer research and training for African-Americans.
- The Support of Competitive Research (SCORE) had multiple SCORE SC1 (NIH-National Cancer Institute) awardees. Nazarius Lamango, Ph.D., as principal investigator, received a $1,351,400 award over a four-year period for his research, “Disrupting Polyisoprenylated Protein Function for Lung Cancer Therapy.” Mandip Sachdeva, Ph.D., principal investigator, received $1,156,275 over a four-year period for his research, “Targeted Nanocarriers for Treatment of Lung Cancer.”
- The College also received funding under the SCORE SC2 Award (NIH-National Cancer Institute). The SC2 mechanism provides early stage investigators the opportunity to test a new idea, or gather preliminary data to establish a new line of research. It also allows more experienced investigators to switch to a different research area from the one in which they have been engaged and published. Syreeta Tilghman, Ph.D., as principal investigator, was awarded $126,071.
- The Innovative Programs to Enhance Research Training (IPERT) program is designed to support stages of research career development from the undergraduate to the faculty level. IPERT complements the research training and research education programs at Florida A&M University. Shawn Spencer, Ph.D., principal investigator, and Carl B. Goodman, Ph.D., as co-principal investigator, were awarded $2,541,585 total, or $527,517 annually for this program.
- The R21 (NIH-National Cancer Institute) grant was awarded to Mandip Sachdeva, Ph.D., principal investigator, in the amount of $340,901 or $182,126 over a two-year period for his research on the “Role of Telmisartan on Intra-Tumoral Distribution of Targeted Nanoparticles.” The grant is intended to encourage exploratory/developmental research by providing support for the early and conceptual stages of project development.