The School of Pharmacy held its annual research poster competition recently in the school’s professional practice lab. This year’s competition featured eight posters, with five submissions in the undergraduate student category and three in the graduate student category.
Four award recipients were identified following a formal judging and review process. Maria Whelan received the Association of Faculties of Pharmacy of Canada (AFPC) award and Nelson Pearce the Canadian Society for Pharmaceutical Sciences (CSPS) award. Lyudmila Chibrikova was recognized with the School of Pharmacy undergraduate award and Swetha Kalidindi received the School of Pharmacy graduate award.
In its current format, the competition is in its fourth year, but a version of the event has been in place since 2000. That year, Dr. Mohsen Daneshtalab joined the faculty and started encouraging graduate students to submit research posters for national competitions.
“I realized very early on that we had to do more when it came to promoting research that was going on at the school,” said Dr. Daneshtalab, associate dean of graduate studies at the School of Pharmacy. “It started with selecting a graduate student every year for the AFPC award, and it has evolved from there. Now we have undergraduate and graduate students participating, and we follow a formal process that begins with a call for submissions and an abstract review before the posters are accepted for the competition itself.”
This year, the research streams of pharmacy practice, social-administrative pharmacy, and pharmaceutical sciences were all represented. Maria Whelan is a 3rd year student who received the AFPC award for her work in the category of pharmacy practice. The award will allow her to represent Memorial at a national level when she presents her poster, A retrospective cohort study to measure the safety and efficacy of concurrent neoadjuvant capecitabine-radiation therapy in the treatment of rectal cancer: the Newfoundland experience, at the AFPC annual meeting in Niagra Falls in June. One project in the pharmaceutical sciences category was the submission by Nelson Pearce, also a 3rd year student in the undergraduate program. He received the CSPS award for his poster, Multi-disease animal model for examining the relationship between stroke and rheumatoid arthritis.
“A big motivator for me to get involved in the competition was Dr. Noriko Daneshtalab,” said Nelson. “She supervised my project this past summer and her enthusiasm was contagious. She was very adamant about the opportunity and experience presented by the poster competition. Winning the CSPS award includes a trip to the conference in Vancouver this summer to present my research poster. I'm really looking forward to getting a glimpse of current research in the pharmaceutical sciences as well as seeing the city itself.”
Creating opportunities for students and raising awareness are exactly the reasons why Dr. Mohsen Daneshtalab continues to emphasize the importance of celebrating research at the School of Pharmacy.
“Events like the poster competition raise awareness among the entire university community and the school itself about our research activity, and recognize the high quality and value of that work,” he said. “It’s very important in a school such as ours because all students should appreciate how important research is to the profession. It creates many different and exciting opportunities for pharmacists and research scientists alike.”