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School of Pharmacy honors select faculty members

Four faculty members at the Ole Miss School of Pharmacy received awards in august for their exceptional work in research and service for the university.

Faculty members Michael Warren, Robert Doerksen, Rahul Khanna and Jordan
Zjawiony were recognized by The University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy
during its annual fall faculty retreat for their individual contributions in research, innovation and service.Warren, a clinical assistant professor of pharmacy practice, received the Faculty Service Award. Each year the award is given to a faculty member who shows dedication in providing assistance to others. Warren also serves as an academic adviser for pre-pharmacy
“Although I am the award recipient this year, I’m certainly not the only one who
thinks that service is an important aspect of our profession,” Warren said. “I was just lucky enough to be selected this year.”
In addition to advising, Warren serves at the Student Health Center’s Travel Clinic, where he helps students who will be traveling abroad maintain their health.
He said he hopes he is setting a good example of how valuable service opportunities are to help others.
“I’m very blessed in so many ways, and I just think it is my responsibility to give back, to help other individuals try to accomplish what I was able to accomplish when I was in school and after graduation,” Warren
said. “I just see that as my responsibility, and I get great internal value from getting the feeling that I am valued by other individuals and that I am actually helping them.”
Doerksen, associate professor of medicinal chemistry and pharmacology, was
recognized for the Faculty Innovation Award for the inventive way in which he
teaches his students to absorb information and stay interested in class.
While teaching a medicinal chemistry class, Doerksen required his students to write reports on lectures, which he said they found very helpful for learning material.
“I know teaching is such an important part of being a professor, so I was very
pleased to get this sort of affirmation that my efforts to be a good teacher were somehow worthwhile,” he said. “I think students want to explore new opportunities and learn in different ways, but they feel there is some pressure to do well in school so they don’t want to take the time to do these other activities.
If you just give them a very small motivation, then that can prove to be worthwhile.”
The School of Pharmacy honored Khanna with the New Investigator Award, his second after winning the same award from the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy in December 2011.
This award provides him with grant money to work on a project of his
choice. Although he is grateful for the monetary aspect, he said it is more important that the university recognized his work and that he could not have earned it without the support of his fellow faculty and students.
Khanna said the recognition adds credibility to the work he has done so far. He
has already been published in several peer-reviewed journals.
“We are very fortunate to have Dr. Khanna as a faculty member in our department,” said Erin Holmes, assistant professor of pharmacy administration.
“He is not only a talented researcher, but also a passionate teacher and mentor of our pharmacy students and graduate students.”Zjawiony, a professor of pharmacognosy, received the Cumberland Pharmaceuticals Inc. Research Award for his research on psychoactive plants and their effect on the central nervous system.
He has written several peer-reviewed articles and has already secured funding
from federal funding agencies.
“I am very pleased and honored to be recognized by my faculty colleagues,”
Zjawiony said. “I hope that my further research on psychoactive natural products will lead to new drug candidates for depression and other central nervous disorders.”
Chair and professor of pharmacognosy Daneel Ferreira said Zjawiony proved
himself to be deserving of the award, along with funding from the National Institutes of Health and other federal funding agencies.
“Dr. Zjawiony has been doing cutting-edge research for many years, especially
in the area of psychoactive plant natural products,” Ferreira said. “He has published many good papers in top-tier journals, he’s an outstanding faculty member. As far as teaching of our graduate program is concerned, this highest reward of the School of Pharmacy is a just reward for his high-quality research