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Pharmacy School Implements Brown Bag Series as A Part of its New Research Visioning Plan

Jon Haywood

The School of Pharmacy kicked off its first of many “Brown Bag Discussions” on Sept. 5 in the Thad Cochran Research Center. Nearly 30 talented research scientists and faculty members from both the Jackson and Oxford campuses came together to discuss how to improve, synergize and streamline their areas of research. “Our aim is to take four targeted research areas and organize a Brown Bag series around each one of those (in order to) make other investigators and faculty members aware of the strengths that we have,” said Dr. Larry Walker, leader of the first Brown Bag discussion and the director of the National Center of Natural Products Research. The four areas that these discussions will target are cancer, cardiometabolic disorders, neuroscience/drugs of abuse and infectious diseases. The Brown Bag series will greatly benefit the University’s faculty, staff and research scientists. “(The discussions) will facilitate the development of new collaborations. It will help scientists gain a better understanding of what their colleagues are doing,” stated Dr. Steven Cutler, director of the Center of Research Excellence in Natural Products Neuroscience and another facilitator of the discussions. This series will not only serve faculty, but the students as well. “Our students will benefit from the fact that new research interactions and collaborations will continue to keep us at the forefront of so many research areas,” said David D. Allen, Dean of the School of Pharmacy. If the remaining discussions are as successful as the first meeting, the collaboration of these talented research scientists will have a positive impact on Mississippians and the quality of their healthcare. “That’s real exciting,” Allen said. “We can not only impact people internally, but externally as well.” The Brown Bag Luncheon Series is a component of the School of Pharmacy’s new Research Visioning Strategic Plan. Allen, who started working at the university in January, plans to focus the school’s broad areas of research into specific areas of strength. Ideally, Allen hopes to have a new therapeutic agent that can treat some forms of cancer and impact Mississippians in particular within the next five years; however, if the school is well on the road to identifying therapies that can have an impact in the four targeted areas of research, he will be satisfied. The Brown Bag Discussions will be held every Wednesday at noon in the Thad Cochran Research Center.