Vergara receives top prize for research

vergara accepts top prize

Spokane-based pharmacy graduate student Ana Vergara won first place for the Best Poster presentation competition at the International Symposium on Microsomes and Drug Oxidations (MDO) in Davis, California. Vergara was presented the award at the closing session of the conference on October 6.

vergara accepts top prize

“It is great performing research and publishing our data, but it is even better to be able to share your knowledge with others to advance the field. I am very honored that I was able to present my research,” said Vergara.

The conference brings together science professionals in the fields of drug metabolism and transport, pharmacokinetics, drug development, clinical pharmacology, and toxicology.

Vergara is a graduate student in the Ph.D. in pharmaceutical sciences program at Washington State University in Spokane. She works in the research lab of Dr. Philip Lazarus.

“Ana has been working on our NIH-funded grant and has been doing a fantastic job examining the regulation of carcinogen metabolizing enzymes,” said Lazarus, who also serves as chair of the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the College of Pharmacy.

According to Lazarus, Vergara’s work has shown that certain enzymes are important in the metabolism of major carcinogens in the lung and other aerodigestive tract tissues and that there may be differences between people in how these enzymes are regulated, which would influence an individual’s risk for certain cancers.

“Her award at the MDO meeting is definitely a reflection of her outstanding work and dedication to her studies,” he said.

Vergara graduated from Columbia Basin College and from WSU Tri-Cities with a Bachelor of Science in biology and a minor in chemistry. She chose the WSU pharmaceutical sciences program in Spokane because it gave her the opportunity to be close to her family and still get a great graduate research setting.

“I enjoy how we have a diverse set of research interests in the College of Pharmacy, and I felt that pharmaceutical sciences would be a good fit for me. I was specifically excited to study metabolism and carcinogenicity in the laboratory of Dr. Lazarus who specializes in studying tobacco carcinogen metabolism. He is an outstanding scientist and a great mentor,” said Vergara.

[Lori J. Maricle] 11/01/2016