Wesam Ismail is a registered pharmacist and PhD candidate in the College of Pharmacy, focusing on pharmacoepidemiology – the utilization and effects of drugs in large numbers of people.
Ismail uses vast data sets to evaluate and compare the benefits, implications, and outcomes of different interventions to prevent, diagnose, treat, and monitor health conditions.
His master’s thesis is titled “Correlation between NOXA and PUMA single nucleotide polymorphisms and chemotherapy response in patients with colorectal cancer." In 2017, he was honored to give a podium presentation on his thesis at the Saudi Oncology Research Symposium.
In addition to this research, Wesam has used big data to study the risk of hyperglycemia with the use of certain prescribed medications and to better understand treatment success among liver transplant recipients.
“In the hyperglycemia project, we reviewed the electronic medical records of patients who visited the ER over a period of time, and then compared the medications of those whose primary reason for visiting the ER was hyperglycemia with other patients,” said Ismail. “We found that there were some medication classes that showed an increased risk of hyperglycemia, which is helpful information for doctors and pharmacists.”
Born in Kuwait, Ismail attended the Jordan University of Science and Technology, where he ranked third in his class of 213 students, received the Top Students Achievement Award, and was awarded the Scientific Research Fund Scholarship from the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research. He continues to serve as a member of the Jordanian Pharmacists Association.
After researching the UI’s rankings, research strengths, and faculty projects and publications, Ismail was confident that he had found the ideal place to further his career.
American universities have a reputation for excellence in Jordan, but Ismail’s professors urged him to attend the University of Iowa over other institutions. After researching the UI’s rankings, research strengths, and faculty projects and publications, Ismail was confident that he had found the ideal place to further his career. A colleague who had completed his pharmacy degree at the UI College of Pharmacy told him he would not be disappointed.
Ismail is working with his advisor, Associate Professor Amber Goedken, and said that she has helped him settle into his new academic environment. He is a research assistant for Goedken and Associate Professor Julie Urmie.
Ismail moved from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to Iowa City in 2019 with his wife and son. Ismail’s son, who is four and in preschool, is an avid student and expresses disappointment when school is canceled due to a holiday or vacation. His daughter, who was born in Iowa in 2020, is a true Iowan! This past winter’s frigid temperatures were shocking to the family, but they don’t regret the move. Ismail says he and his wife have received a warm welcome, and their children enjoy playing outside at the local parks—even in the snow!