Research at the College

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Research at the College

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The College of Pharmacy is home to world-renowned researchers who are leading in their fields of study.

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Ema Cocucci, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor
Ema Cocucci, MD, PhD,
Assistant Professor

Ema Cocucci, MD, PhD

Dr. Cocucci studies basic mechanism of membrane trafficking and is interested in how these processes deviate during cancer development when compared to normal cells. His research adopts multiple techniques, including traditional biochemistry, cell biology and high resolution fluorescent live cell microscopy. Dr. Cocucci’s goal is to define novel targets for cancer therapy and to improve drug delivery, studying the internalization pathways and the mechanisms of endosomal escape adopted by artificial and biological nanovectors.

 

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Chris Coss
Christopher Coss, PhD, 
Assistant Professor 

Christopher Coss, PhD

Roughly half of all cancer patients experience unexpected weight loss as a consequence of their disease. This phenomenon is known as cancer cachexia and is associated with reduced quality of life, increased risk of adverse response to cancer treatment and overall increases in cancer related death. Despite being recognized for millennia, cancer cachexia has no known effective treatment. Dr. Coss’ Lab focuses on:

  1. Therapeutically targetable cachectic mechanisms: The drivers of cachexia are not well understood. An improved understanding of anabolic resistance and catabolic processes in cachectic animal tissues inform our novel therapeutic approaches for the treatment of cancer cachexia.
  2. Chemotherapeutic drug disposition in cachectic cancer patients: Incredible heterogeneity exists between cancer patients’ body composition and how drugs behave once administered. An improved understanding of how patient body composition impacts chemotherapeutic drug disposition will inform the design of improved chemotherapeutic dosing regimens.

 

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Jack Yalowich
Jack Yalowich, PhD 
Professor

Jack Yalowich, PhD

For more than 20 years, Dr. Yalowich’s lab has conducted studies of a particular class of anticancer agents known as DNA Topoisomerase II (topo II) inhibitors. These drugs cause DNA damage and tumor cell killing. Major efforts are directed toward characterizing mechanisms of action of these drugs and overcoming drug resistance.

Dr. Yalowich’s current projects focus on:

  1. Understanding how cancer cells modify the target enzyme (topo II) to avoid drug-induced cell killing
  2. Strategies to “correct” topo II modifications and re-sensitize tumors to drugs
  3. The use of nutritional antioxidants (such as vitamin C) to prevent cancer-causing effects of topo II inhibitors which can arise in some patients years after therapy is complete
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Cynthia Carnes, PharmD, PhD
Cynthia Carnes, PharmD, PhD, Senior Associate Dean

Cythia Carnes, PharmD, PhD

Dr. Carnes’ research is focused on furthering our understanding of abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias) with the goal of optimizing treatment. A particular focus of her program is understanding the underpinnings of arrhythmias occurring during heart failure. A second aspect of Dr. Carnes’ arrhythmia research program is developing and validating processes to improve clinical pharmacy services for patients on long-term antiarrhythmic medication therapy.

Dr. Carnes is also interested in junior faculty development with an emphasis on providing foundations for research independence in clinical and translational research. This work is supported in her role as director of the KL2 scholars program at the Ohio State Center for Clinical and Translational Science.

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Macarius Donneyong, PhD, MPH
Macarius Donneyong, PhD, MPH, Assistant Professor

Macarius Donneyong, PhD, MPH

Nearly three out of every five adults in the United States consume prescribed medications. Dr. Donneyong’s research focuses on the safety and effectiveness of medications and medical devices. Specifically, he applies quantitative methods from epidemiology, pharmacoepidemiology, biostatistics and data analytics to analyze large healthcare databases such as health insurance claims and other linked databases which capture prescribed medication use and outcomes on their safety and effectiveness. Currently, Donneyong focuses on:

  1. Drug-drug interactions: The simultaneous use of multiple medications is growing increasingly common. He investigates whether it is safe to simultaneously use certain medications or not.
  2. The role of the social determinants of health factors on the effectiveness of prescribed medications: He is interested in how the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age influence the safety and effectiveness of prescribed medication use in the community settings.
  3. Medication outcomes among racial/ethnic minorities: Through population-based observational studies, he tries to measure differences in the utilization, safety and effectiveness of prescribed medications between racial groups, as racial/ethnic minority groups tend to be under-represented in clinical trials of drugs.
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A. Douglas Kinghorn, PhD, DSc
A. Douglas Kinghorn, PhD, DSc, Jack L. Beal Professor 

A. Douglas Kinghorn, PhD, DSc

The research in Dr. A. Douglas Kinghorn’s lab deals with the extraction, purification, and characterization of the chemical structures of biologically active substances of tropical plants. Examples of the use to society of these lead compounds are as potential cancer chemotherapeutic and chemopreventive agents, therapies for the tropical infectious disease leishmaniasis, and as sweetening and taste-modifying components of foods and beverages.

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Yizhou Dong, PhD
Yizhou Dong, PhD, Assistant Professor

Yizhou Dong, PhD

Dr. Dong’s research: Cell-specific and multifunctional drug delivery in vivo has been regarded as one of the most challenging issues in the field of drug delivery. A wide variety of cell types in humans still cannot be efficiently and specifically reached by delivery systems such as lung epithelial cells, metastatic tumor cells, and immune cells. An even more formidable task is delivering multiple payloads into specific cells and tissues. In order to address these challenges, Dr. Dong’s Drug Discovery and Delivery Laboratory focuses on the following research areas:

  1. To develop cell specific drug delivery systems
  2. To construct multifunctional drug delivery systems
  3. To demonstrate therapeutic efficacy of these systems in animal models for treating genetic disorders, infectious diseases, as well as cancers.

Platform biotechnologies under development in the Drug Discovery and Delivery Laboratory include:

  • Developing new biomaterials for therapeutic and diagnostic applications
  • Engineering RNA molecules including mRNAs and the CRISPR systems
  • Constructing targeted drug conjugates such as antibody/ligand drug conjugates.

 

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Peixuan Guo, PhD
Peixuan Guo, PhD, Sylvan G. Frank Endowed Chair

Peixuan Guo, PhD

Dr. Guo works on both basic research and its subsequent practical applications, focusing on understanding the mechanisms and assembly of viral DNA packaging motor, and using components of the biomotor for various applications. By applying interdisciplinary approaches including chemistry, biophysics, biochemistry, nanotechnology, bioengineering, molecular biology, cell biology, computer modeling, and pharmaceutical sciences, Dr. Guo studies RNA, DNA and proteins and their interaction.

Dr. Guo’s current project areas are:

  1. RNA nanotechnology and its application for the delivery of siRNA/miRNA/drug for the treatment of cancers, viral infection, and genetic diseases
  2. Nanobiotechnology, including structure, function and mechanism of Phi29 DNA-packaging nanomotor
  3. Single molecule imaging and optical instrumentation to study the interaction of RNA, DNA, and protein
  4. Single pore technology for DNA sequencing, macromolecule detection, and disease diagnosis, using channels of variety of viral DNA packaging motors

 

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Dan Shu, PhD
Dan Shu, PhD, Research Associate Professor

Dan Shu, PhD

Dr. Shu has devoted her research career to the development of RNA nanotechnology for the treatment of cancers, specifically focusing on the treatment of breast cancer, including triple negative breast cancer. Dr. Shu is developing novel therapeutics utilizing RNA nanoparticles for the specific delivery of small interfering miRNA or siRNA to cancers and related stem cells. Her long-term objective is to focus on the development and translation of RNA nanotechnology-based therapeutics and imaging agents into clinical trials.

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Katherine Kelley, PhD
Katherine Kelley, PhD, Associate Dean-Assessment & Strategic Initiatives, Associate Professor-Clinical 

Katherine Kelley, PhD

Dr. Kelley publishes in the area of the scholarship of teaching, learning and assessment. This area of inquiry revolves around answering questions about whether students are learning and what teaching methods are effective. Dr. Kelley also publishes about assessment strategies and techniques.