A group of guests in conversation standing on top of third floor lecture pod at the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy

More than 300 people attended event at the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy to see the future of pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences

The Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy building was full of activity and excitement at the Pharmacy Open House on Wednesday, May 24. More than 300 people – including alumni, students, faculty and preceptors – attended the event, the first in-person event of its kind at the Faculty in several years.

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“The motivation for this event was to create a live and dynamic opportunity for people to engage with our Faculty and also to share our ambitious five-year plan, Emerge, Thrive, and Lead,” said Lisa Dolovich, dean of the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy. “In this plan, we set clear goals and priorities to guide our efforts and ensure we are building an environment where all students, faculty, and staff thrive and are engaged in defining the future of pharmacy and pharmaceutical science.”

Attendees had opportunities to learn about the future of pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences through mini-lectures, lab tours and student poster presentations.

Professor Raymond Reilly giving a presentation to a crowd
Professor Raymond Reilly spoke to guests about his work developing radiopharmaceuticals for cancer treatment.

Raymond Reilly, director of the Centre for Pharmaceutical Oncology at the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy, presented the event’s keynote talk. He spoke about his research team’s work to develop radiopharmaceuticals for cancer treatment, particularly therapies that can cross the blood-brain barrier to treat brain tumours. He described preclinical research to develop new treatments for the brain tumour glioblastoma multiforme and exciting advancements in his clinical work in collaboration with researchers at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre to treat brain metastases of breast cancer.

Attendees were also able to attend mini-lectures with faculty members providing information and updates related to curriculum and research. Natalie Crown, Jaris Swidrovich and Lachmi Singh spoke about the updates to the PharmD curriculum and new initiatives to engage underrepresented populations in the pharmacy profession. Carolyn Cummins and Keith Pardee spoke about the collaboration central to the Precision Medicine initiative at the University of Toronto. In the final mini-lecture of the evening, Zubin Austin led a lively discussion about leadership and entrepreneurship in pharmacy.

Future pharmacists and researchers were on display with pharmaceutical sciences graduate students and Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) students presenting their research at a poster session. Three students were recognized with awards for their presentations.

Pharmaceutical Sciences Graduate Students Sarah Shawky, Tiffany Ho, and Victoria Gudzak
From left: Sarah Shawky, Tiffany Ho, Victoria Gudzak
  • Sarah Shawky, a PhD student supervised by Carolyn Cummins, received the $500 first prize for “Screening proteins secreted by endothelial progenitor cells as mediators of liver X receptor-dependent anti-atherosclerotic activity.”
  • Victoria Gudzak, a PhD student in Anna Taddio’s research group, received the $300 second prize for ““Improving the client experience in university-based flu vaccination pop-up clinics with the CARD™ (Comfort, Ask, Relax, Distract) system.”
  • The $150 third prize was awarded to Tiffany Ho, a PhD student supervised by Gang Zheng, for “In vivo fluorescence activation and photodynamic efficacy of a novel EDTA-nanoparticle for porphyrin delivery.”

The evening allowed the Faculty to showcase its accomplishments in recent years, as well as the initiatives being undertaken, both in research and the professional programs.

“Our community at U of T and here at the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy, is committed to developing ground-breaking ideas about what the future will and could look like. And so much of what we do is made possible by our incredible community of donors,” said Dolovich. “The Defy Gravity campaign recognizes that together, we can rise to any challenge. This fundamental principle is reflected in our academic plan and throughout this event, and I hope you are inspired to join us in reaching this goal.”

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