SPOKANE, Wash – Two graduate students in pharmaceutical sciences at Washington State University have received prestigious fellowships from the American Foundation for Pharmaceutical Education.

Both students recently moved across the country to follow their faculty advisors to WSU where the professors have accepted positions in the College of Pharmacy’s clinical pharmacology unit in Spokane.

Each student will receive $6,500 paid directly to WSU to support their work for a year, beginning Sept. 1, 2013.

“This is a competitive national process and therefore a great honor to receive an award,” said Gary M. Pollack, dean of pharmacy at WSU. The students submitted applications for the fellowships and were required to explain their research, their goals and their achievements.

Student Kara Vogel moved from Michigan almost a year ago so she could continue her work in the lab of K. Michael Gibson, who is a geneticist and chair of the new clinical pharmacology unit. Vogel got her bachelor’s degree in mathematical sciences, numerical and applied analysis from the University of Michigan in 2007. She began graduate studies with Gibson in August of 2010 at Michigan Technological University, and she relocated with Gibson’s laboratory last year when he began work at WSU.

As a new researcher, Vogel is interested in correcting inherited metabolic disorders through pharmacological and cellular intervention. She was a teaching assistant in the general immunology course at MTU. Vogel has another 1.5 to 2 years of study before obtaining her Ph.D. and she is not yet sure what job she will pursue afterward.

“I love the work I am currently doing, obtaining data on disease pathophysiology and preclinical pharmacological studies,” Vogel said. “I would gladly have a career which offered the chance to alleviate sufferings from disease.”

Student Brandon T. Gufford just arrived this week after moving from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he has been studying with Mary F. Paine, who will be moving her lab from UNC to WSU in Spokane this summer. Paine is a registered pharmacist in Oregon and has a Ph.D. in pharmaceutics from the University of Washington. She has been at UNC for 14 years.

Like Paine, Gufford’s research is focused on understanding the interactions between herbal products and conventional medications. He has been studying with Paine for two years and has two or three more years remaining.

“Following my graduation from the Doctor of Pharmacy program at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in May 2011, I moved to North Carolina to pursue graduate training,” Gufford said. “Ultimately, I aspire to a career in academia as an independent investigator within a research intensive school of Pharmacy.”

Clinical pharmacology is the science of drugs and their clinical use and researchers in the unit are focused on issues commonly encountered in drug development, such as interactions among drugs and other compounds.