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UM pharmacy faculty member wins AACP New Investigator Award

Quentin Winstine / The Daily Mississippian

The American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy recently announced that a University of Mississippi faculty member is among 18 recipients of the New Investigator Award.

Rahul Khanna, assistant professor of pharmacy administration and assistant professor in the Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, will use the award to study the relationship between the health and well-being of caregivers of autistic children and the emotional and physical stress they experience.

“I feel really fortunate and excited to be selected for this award, especially since they are so competitive,” Khanna said. “This is a national award, and there is a lot of prestige associated with it.”

Khanna applied for the same award last year but fell short of the selective process.

“Thanks to the support and encouragement I received from our department chair, Dr. Donna West-Strum, and other colleagues, I applied for this award with a new research proposal,” he said.

Khanna has already started working on the project associated with the award. This is a one-year award that goes until the end of this year and also includes the submission of a mid-year progress report.

“Since there are several steps involved in this project, I have set up weekly deadlines for myself to accomplish them,” he said. “I want to make sure that I submit a quality report, which is in line with the expectations for this award.”

Finding the time for research and teaching is no problem for Khanna, who said the two complement each other.

“The beauty of working in academia is that each day is different and brings different sets of opportunities for work and learning,” he said.

Some of his days are devoted completely toward working on his teaching lectures, while other days he concentrates on his research. When Khanna isn’t planning lectures or working on research, he keeps an open-door policy for students.

“I believe teaching to be a continuous process, which goes beyond the confines of a classroom,” he said.

Not only is Khanna devoted to making sure his students learn, but he is also generally involved in more than one research project at a given time. Khanna said he tries to structure his days accordingly so that he can give appropriate time to each project at hand.

To stay organized, Khanna said he prefers to set up weekly meetings with his research team in order to make continuous progress and address issues in a timely manner.

Besides teaching and research, Khanna is involved in service activities, which generally involve being part of departmental and school committees, reviewing manuscripts and reviewing conference presentation abstracts.
Amid his hectic schedule, Khanna said he manages to find down time to enjoy himself.

“When not working, I try to catch up on television shows, watch a game or maybe go out for dinner with my friends,” he said. “I also like playing basketball and tennis, which helps me keep an active routine.”

Khanna’s full schedule is reflective of his devotion to teaching and research.

“We are very proud of Dr. Khanna,” said Donna West-Strum, chair of pharmacy administration. “He is a talented young investigator with lots of potential, as indicated by the competitive nature of the AACP award program. We look forward to collaborating with him as he continues to develop his scientific career.”