Exploring opportunities across campus helps undergraduate students build a well-rounded education


August 17, 2022

BSPS student Serena Fadell in the lab
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There are many advantages to attending The Ohio State University College of Pharmacy – having opportunities to collaborate with other professions across campus, particularly at the six other health science colleges (Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing, Optometry, Public Health and Veterinary Medicine), is just one of them.

Bachelor of Science in Pharmaceutical Sciences (BSPS) students like Saanvi Ganesh, Class of 2023, can take advantage of a more well-rounded educational experience by engaging in research outside the walls of Parks Hall. Ganesh is taking the lessons she is learning as a BSPS student and applying them to research in the physiology and cell biology department of the College of Medicine.

While working alongside her College of Medicine mentors, Jidong Fu, MD, PhD, associate professor of physiology and cell biology, and Dandan Yang, PhD, postdoctoral researcher, Ganesh is helping with research on the cardiac cell MicroRNA-1 and its mechanisms in the heart to eventually be applied to therapeutics in cardiac medicine.

“Having the opportunity to conduct research with other health care professions while bringing my own knowledge has been eye-opening,” Ganesh said. “This experience adds to the knowledge I learn inside the classroom, and I am thankful to learn from other professionals across campus.”

Serena Fadell, BSPS Class of 2022, pictured above, finds the campus’s interprofessional connections helpful to her education as well.

She is a research volunteer at the Hadad Lab in the College of Arts and Sciences Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. Taking what she is learning as a BSPS student and applying it to the lab has been beneficial to the team.

“The molecule properties I work on in the research I assist with are similar to the properties of the drugs I’ve learned about in my BSPS classes,” Fadell said. “This research experience on the other side of campus has supplemented my knowledge and taught me more about therapeutics.”

Fadell works alongside Christopher Callam, PhD, associated professor, and Christopher Hadad, PhD, professor, in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and Craig McElroy, PhD, research assistant professor at the College of Pharmacy.

The research is geared toward making a therapeutic that will combat the effects of nerve agents such as pesticides – an issue that contributes to thousands of deaths in developing countries each year. Fadell contributes to the research by synthesizing molecules known as quinone methide precursors, which are tested to reactivate an enzyme called acetylcholinesterase that becomes inhibited by nerve toxins – making the result deadly.

Both Ganesh and Fadell have used their research experiences to prepare them for medical school, but for students like Christina Himes, BSPS Class of 2023, who are hoping to obtain a Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD), cross-campus interprofessional research helps them narrow down their pharmacy interests.

Himes works as a research assistant in the MINDSET Lab under Jasmeet Hayes, PhD, associate professor, and Sarah Prieto, graduate student, from the Department of Psychology. Researchers in the MINDSET Lab study the effects of traumatic brain injury and psychological stress on the human brain.

Currently, Himes is helping to write a research paper on examining the impact of chronic and traumatic stress, including discrimination, on metrics of cognitive health.

“I began my undergraduate career as a double major with psychology and pharmaceutical sciences because I was interested in both fields,” Himes said. “This research has solidified my interest in psychology and helped me narrow down what I want to do as a career. I look forward to completing psychiatric and behavioral health classes as a future pharmacy student.”

Himes sees the abundance of disciplines taught at Ohio State as a huge advantage to students like her.

"The psychology department and the pharmacy buildings are within a five-minute walk to one another, so it's easy to feel connected to other colleges across campus and interact with different people across health sciences to get a new perspective and see what is out there," Himes said. "A lot of students I am working with now in the lab plan on going to medical school, others plan to get a PhD or master's. I'm building a huge network."