Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Six University of Iowa (UI) College of Pharmacy graduate students have successfully completed their Doctor of Philosophy degrees or will finish this summer. Of those, four participated in the May 12 Graduate Doctoral Commencement Ceremony at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City, along with their advisors. Professor David Roman, associate dean for Research and Graduate Education, represented the College at the event and assisted with the hooding of our graduates. Learn about the research and plans of these accomplished spring/summer graduates:

Rachel Crawford


Track: Medicinal and Natural Products Chemistry

Advisor: Lach Chair and Professor Jonathan Doorn

Research Area: Detailing the neurotoxicity of dopamine and its metabolites and exploring of a potential biomarker for Parkinson's disease.

Upcoming Plans: Working as a postdoctoral fellow at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore studying organophosphate poisoning.

Walla Malkawi


Track: Pharmaceutics

Advisor: Bighley Chair and Professor Aliasger Salem

Research Area: The development of innovative technologies to deliver therapeutics agents, including DNA and small therapeutic molecules to target specific tissues or cells in the body. More specifically, using nanotechnology and electroresponsive hydrogels.

Upcoming Plans: Pursuing a career in the industry working in the formulation sector.

Autumn Moore 2022


Track: Medicinal and Natural Products Chemistry

Advisor: Professor Robert Kerns

Research Area: Making novel treatments for type II diabetes through increasing glucose transporter activity.

Upcoming Plans: Continuing research through a postdoctoral position in the UI Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics under Associate Professor Julien Sebag. Also, pursuing a master’s degree in business administration at Iowa.

Leyla Rezaei Picture1 2023


Track: Pharmaceutics

Advisor:  Professor Maureen Donovan

Research Area: Development of abuse-deterrent formulations to control the ongoing opioid crisis. 

Upcoming Plans: Joining pharmaceutical research and development company AbbVie as a senior clinical pharmacologist.

Sanjib Saha


Track: Pharmaceutics

Advisor: Bighley Chair and Professor Aliasger Salem

Research Area:  Investigating ferroptosis susceptibility in Fuchs Endothelial Corneal Dystrophy (FECD) and developing ocular drug delivery systems for ubiquinol and ripasudil as first-line therapy to prevent FECD progression.

Upcoming Plans: Joining pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca as a senior scientist working on the formulation development team in Boston.

Kevin Tobin


Track: Pharmaceutics

Advisor: Associate Professor Nicole Brogden

Research Area: Using thermosensitive hydrogels in combination with microneedles to improve transdermal delivery of naltrexone for opioid and alcohol dependency treatment. 

Upcoming Plans: A postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy’s Center for Translational Medicine developing pharmacometric models to help produce safe and effective artificial blood products.

*Degree will be conferred in August.

Visit the graduate student area of our website to learn who received awards for the 2022-23 academic year.

2023 PhD Commencement - Aliasger Salem, Rob Kerns, Autumn Moore, Nicole Brogden, Kevin Tobin, Leyla Rezaei, Dave Roman, Sanjib Saha, Maureen Donovan