University of Wisconsin–Madison

DiscoveRx Magazine – Spring 2019

Welcome to the Spring 2019 issue of DiscoveRx

Improving Practice

Rural health care leaders Hussain Harun, Chris Barron, and Abigail Moore

Transforming Rural Health

Hussain Harun (PharmD ’12), Chris Barron (BS ’97), and Abigail Moore (PharmD ’17) are just three of many Badger pharmacists in Wisconsin’s rural areas developing new programs and services to help patients stay healthy.

Alumni Pioneers

Award-Winning Visionary

Bruce Scott (BS '79) has earned the American Society of Health-System Pharmacy's highest award. "The fact that I’ve achieved nothing in my career alone isn’t lost on me," he says.

Bruce Scott

Above and Beyond

Luke Beirl (PharmD '11) worked his way up to CEO of Hayward Area Memorial Hospital within seven years of earning his PharmD. "I noticed an unmet demand for leaders in health care in rural areas,” he says, so he took on the challenge.

Luke Beirl

Photo Gallery

Milwaukee Pharmacy Alumni Event

The UW–Madison School of Pharmacy Associate Dean for Advancement Dave Mott (BS ’88, MS ’92, PhD ’95) kicked off a new series of pharmacy alumni events around the state of Wisconsin with a gathering in Milwaukee. The next event is coming to Green Bay on Tuesday, April 23 — find details and RSVP here!

See photo gallery >>
Alumni gathering at Pizano's in Milwaukee

Legends of Pharmacy

George Zografi collage

A School of Pharmacy ‘Change Agent’ 

As former dean and professor emeritus, George Zografi left an indelible mark at the School of Pharmacy and on the face of pharmaceutical research and pharmacy practice. Learn more about his life, career, and legacy of mentorship.

Research in Action

Re-Engineering Bacteria for Biofuels

Normally, Assistant Professor Jason Peters' research focuses on finding new genetic targets for future antibiotics. But now, he's using that same CRISPR technology to enable better bioenegy production.

Jason Peters in his lab

Finding Pharmacists' Role in Cystic Fibrosis

Cystic fibrosis is one of the most common and complex life-shortening inherited diseases. Assistant Professor Olufunmilola Abraham (MS '11, PhD '13) is starting a new research project to learn how pharmacists can help.

Olufunmilola Abraham

Reconstructing Bacterial Communities

Assistant Professor Jason Kwan is building better computational tools for exploring microbial communities. The resulting tools will be broadly useful for many types of scientific questions, including how those communities form after forest fires.

Jason Kwan

Alumni Reflections


Berook Addisu (PharmD ’10) shares what he finds rewarding about his career in pharmacy and in helping patients understand the most commonly prescribed therapy: medication.


Alumni Spotlight

In the Crime Lab

PharmTox alumna Melisa Wittkowske (BS ’06) oversees the DNA Databank Unit of the Wisconsin State Crime Laboratory. Her team processes DNA samples and enters them into the FBI-owned Combined DNA Index System to help uncover investigative leads.

Melisa Wittkowske

Q&A with Dave Zgarrick

From his most recent streaming binge to what he'd be doing if not pharmacy, get to know School of Pharmacy alumnus David Zgarrick (BS ’88).

Dave Zgarrick at a football game
Send us your alumni feature ideas

[Insert Your Feature Here]

Do you know an alumnus that we should know? Whether they’re making an impact on the profession, on their community, or on their hobbies, we’d like to tell their story.

Share your ideas >>

Badger Icon

Otto Puls (BS ’55), retired pharmacist, has been the official scorer for Wisconsin Men’s Basketball for 55 years and has become the team’s lucky charm. On Wisconsin and Varsity commemorate his 55th year:

Q&A with On Wisconsin magazine >>
Feature in Varsity magazine >>

Battling Resistance

Addressing the Threat

Professor Tim Bugni is one of several researchers at the School of Pharmacy seeking to discover new drugs. In this talk, he discusses the need to uncover new molecules with greater chemical diversity.

Learn about research in the Bugni Lab >>

Class Notes

Elliott Sogol, Jeanine Abrons, Jeff Fish, Tyler Liebenstein, Bill Doucette, and Otto Puls are featured in Class Notes

Spring 2019 Class Notes

Families are growing, careers are taking off, books are being published and contributions are being honored — see what has been keeping who busy. Stay up to date with your UW–Madison School of Pharmacy alumni peers through class notes.

Read what’s new >
Submit a class note >

Tune In

Medicine on Main Street
April 28  |  5 pm CST  |  WPT

Professor David Mott (BS ’88, MS ’92, PhD ‘95) and Assistant Professor Ed Portillo (PharmD ’14) are featured in a documentary on Wisconsin Public Television, sharing their perspective on the expanding role of pharmacists in rural areas. If you’re up late, the special is also airing April 12 at 11:30 pm CST, or watch it online.

Ed Portillo WPT interview

Upcoming Events

Brown County Pharmacy Alumni Gathering
Saturday, April 23, 6:30-10 pm

School of Pharmacy alumni in the Brown County/Green Bay area: Reconnect with us at the Green Bay Distillery!

Associate Dean for Advancement Dave Mott (BS ’88, MS ’92, PhD ’95) is hosting Green Bay-area alumni for a party with food, drinks, and networking while the Milwaukee Brewers take on the St. Louis Cardinals. See more details and RSVP.

Busse Lecture:
Dale Wurster
Thursday & Friday, March 28–29

The School is hosting Dale Wurster, Pharmaceutical Sciences and Experimental Therapeutics professor at the University of Iowa, for a two-part lecture: “Determination of Adsorption Site Specificity: Activated Carbon as a Model” (Thursday) and “Compression Calorimetry” (Friday).

Hutchinson Lecture:
Janet Smith
Friday, April 5

Janet Smith, director of the Center for Structural Biology at the University of Michigan, is visiting the School to deliver a talk titled “Natural Product Biosynthetic Enzymes: Not All Domains Are What They Appear to Be.”

Rennebohm Lecture:
David Kingsley
Thursday & Friday, April 25–26

Professor of Developmental Biology David Kingsley, of Stanford University and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, is visiting the School to deliver a two-part lecture: “Fishing for the Secrets of Vertebrate Evolution” (Thursday) and “Applying Evolutionary Principles to Common Traits and Diseases in Humans” (Friday).

Professional Development

CE Programs and Events

Madison Clinical Conference

The Health Professional’s Role in Management of the Patient with Diabetes | CE: ACPE, ANCC | April 10-11, 2019 | Madison, Wis.

Certificate in Formulary Drug Evaluation Processes

Essential Skills for Evidence-Based Formulary Decision Making within Pharmacy & Therapeutics Committees | CE: ACPE | Through August 16, 2020 | Online

Pharmaceutical Courses

Cardiovascular Physiology, Pharmacology, and Safety

April 3–May 29, 2019 | Online

Principles of Solid Dosage Forms

May 13-17, 2019 | Madison, Wis.

Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacodynamics (PK-PD) 

May 20-23, 2019 | Madison, Wis.

Stability Testing Series 

May 9 & 30, June 20 & July 11, 2019 | Online

Land O’ Lakes Conferences

Annual Bioanalytical Conference

July 15-19, 2019 | Madison, Wis.

Annual Pharmaceutical Analysis Conference

August 12-25, 2019 | Madison, Wis.

Drug Metabolism and Applied Pharmacokinetics Conference

September 9-12, 2019 | Madison, Wis.

All three conferences are accepting poster abstracts for the 2019 poster session. Go to the conference of your choice for details.

Stay Connected

Watch videos about our faculty and alumni on our YouTube channel, and get our latest updates on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

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Editor-in-Chief Katie Gerhards
Photographer  |  Sally Griffith-Oh
Contributing writers  |  Katie Ginder-Vogel, Jill Sakai, Kristin Rattini
Contributing photographer  |  Ingrid Laas
Editorial Advisor  |  Alyson Kim

DiscoveRx magazine is a quarterly digital publication by the University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Pharmacy.


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