Faculty & Research Interests

LIU Pharmacy Faculty & Research

Almas Babar, Ph.D. R.Ph.
Professor of Industrial Pharmacy and Cosmetic Sciences
Division of Pharmaceutical Sciences
almas.babar@liu.edu
718-488-1634

Research Interest:

Cosmetic Sciences: Development of Solid, Semisolid and Aerosol Novel Drug Delivery Systems for both oral and dermatological applications: Enhancement of drug dissolution of hydrophobic drug compounds and their bioavailability. Controlled-Release solid-dispersion technology with predictable dissolution profiles for multiple strength dosage forms using a single powder. Optimization of drug release and enhancement of clinical efficacy of pharmaceutical and cosmeceutical products with reduced level of drug (less is more).



Kenza E. Benzeroual, B.S., M.S., Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Pharmacology
Assistant Dean for Academic and Student Affairs
Kenza.Benzeroual@liu.edu
718-488-1258

Research Interest:

Neurodegenerative diseases, cancer and drug discovery: investigating naturally-based products for neuroprotective signaling mechanisms in Alzheimer and Parkinson diseases, and anticancer effects in glioblastoma. Primary focus is identifying biomarkers for drug development and potential therapeutic applications.



Agnes Cha, Pharm.D., AAHIVP, BCACP
Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice
Division of Pharmacy Practice
Agnes.Cha@liu.edu
718-488-1724

Research Interest:

HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C: Research centers on the management of patients with HIV and their comorbidities. Involved in evaluating antivirals for HIV/Hepatitis C coinfection, evaluation of interdisciplinary practice models and the impact of clinical pharmacists on patient care, reducing clinically significant drug-drug interactions with antiretrovirals, reversibility of tenofovir related renal dysfunction, and cardiovascular risk assessment in HIV patients.
Current project on real-world experience with higher than recommended doses of lamivudine in varying degrees of renal impairment, and the clinical significance of dolutegravir and metformin co-administration.



Rutesh H. Dave, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Pharmaceutics
Director, Division of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Rutesh.Dave@liu.edu
718-488-1101

Research Interest:

Pharmaceutical Pre-formulation and Formulation: My major research interest is in the area of solid dosage form and develop new technologies for delivery of poorly insoluble drugs. Since past few years, nanotechnology has been a focus of my laboratory and especially to incorporate them into oral film for better bioavailability and ease of administration. Another area of interest is in powder characterization and to understand the behavior of powder during pre-formulation step and changes during scale-up process. We are continuously working with many generic companies to develop complex solid generics as well as develop strategies to bypass the patents associated with it.



Kathleen Frey, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Division of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Kathleen.Frey@liu.edu
718-488-1471

Research Interest:

Structure-based Drug Design and Molecular Modeling: Rational drug design of small molecules for the treatment of infectious diseases and cancer; Optimization of natural products using protein crystallography, molecular modeling and computational chemistry; Drug-Target co-crystallography; Predicting drug resistance using molecular modeling; Predicting polymorphisms in metabolizing enzymes, carrier proteins, and transporters.



Avinash Kumar, Ph.D.
Research Scientist, Cancer Research Laboratories
Director, Small Animal Imaging Core
Avinash.Kumar@liu.edu
718-780-6061

Research Interest:

Molecular cell biology and pharmacology of prostate cancer: MTA1-mediated signaling in prostate cancer progression and metastasis, MTA1-associated miRNAs in prostate cancer biology, MTA1 and miRNA-targeted efficacy of dietary stilbenes in prostate cancer chemoprevention and treatment.
Current projects: Understanding the role of MTA1 in prostate cancer progression and bone metastasis using transgenic and xenograft mouse models, determining the MTA1 inhibitory property of FDA approved chemotherapeutic agents for treatment of prostate cancer and elucidating the MTA1-targeted efficacy of combinatorial approaches for treatment of prostate cancer.



Anait S. Levenson, M.D., Ph.D.
Professor of Cancer Research and Pharmacology
Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies
Anait.Levenson@liu.edu
718-246-6323

Research Interest:

Cancer Molecular and Cell Biology, Drug Discovery: Molecular biology and pharmacology of hormone-dependent cancers, particularly breast and prostate cancer. Molecular aspects of estrogen receptor (ER) signaling, differential pharmacology of selective ER modulators (SERMS), molecular targets and biomarkers in cancer progression and metastasis, epigenetic mechanisms in cancer, nutritional chemopreventive and therapeutic applications in cancer, dietary stilbenes and microRNAs, pre-clinical animal models (xenografts and transgenic mice) in breast and prostate cancer and bone metastasis.
Current projects: si-RNA-mediated knockdown of metastasis-associated protein 1 (MTA1)-signaling and targeted therapy in prostate cancer.



John M. Lonie, R.Ph., Ed.D.
Associate Professor, Social and Administrative Sciences
Division of Pharmaceutical Sciences
John.Lonie@liu.edu
718-488-1259

Research Interest:

Social Pharmacy: Factors affecting empathic and emotional development in pharmacy students and pharmacists; Improving patient outcomes using novel methodologies to measure, predict and improve medication adherence. Current project: Design and evaluation of the impact of a specialized pharmacist training program geared toward improving patient antidepressant medication adherence.



Kenneth Morris, Ph.D.
University Professor
Director, Lachman Institute for Pharmaceutical Analysis
Kenneth.Morris@liu.edu
718-246-6452

Research Interest:

Pharmaceutical Material Science: Physico-chemical properties of formulation components on the performance of the final pharmaceutical dosage form. These properties include: particle size, shape, surface area, and charge; crystal structure, lattice energy, forms (i.e.: polymorphs and hydrates), morphology; relative crystallinity (and amorphous content); hygroscopicity; and solubility. A focus of our research is the use of advanced analytical techniques to follow these properties throughout the manufacturing process. The techniques include: powder and single crystal x-ray diffraction, differential scanning calorimetry, thermal gravimetric analysis, mid and near diffuse reflectance Fourier transform infra-red spectrophotometry, dielectric spectroscopy, and molecular and crystallographic modeling.



Jadwiga Najib, B.S., M.S., Pharm.D.
Professor of Pharmacy Practice
Division of Pharmacy Practice
Jadwiga.Najbi@liu.edu
718-488-8226

Research Interest:

Mental Health Disorders: Clinical management of attention-deficit-hyperactivity disorder; mood disorders, especially depression and bipolar disorders; and sleep disorders, emphasis on insomnia. Drug-Induced movement disorders, their management and legal implications. Current interest in social and psychological aspects of health behavior.



Joseph P. Nathan, M.S., Pharm.D.
Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice
Director, International Drug Information Center
Joseph.Nathan@liu.edu
718-488-1251

Research Interest:

Drug Information Services/Resources and Health and Drug Literacy of Professionals and Consumers: The continuous evolution of drug information centers in the US, information resources used by healthcare professionals and consumers, health literacy of healthcare professionals and consumers as it relates to pharmaceuticals and dietary supplements.



Eun-Jung Park, Ph.D.
Research Scientist, Cancer Research Laboratories
Director, Flow Cytometry Core
Eunjung.Park@liu.edu
718-780-6062

Research Interest:

Cancer Research and Drug Discovery: Examination of the biological activities of natural products via a set of in vitro assays and mechanistic studies on the potent compounds or extracts using in vivo models.
Current projects: To investigate the effect of daily intake of grape on health and longevity.



John M. Pezzuto, Ph.D.
Professor and Dean
John.Pezzuto@liu.edu
718-488-1004

Research Interest:

Cancer Research and Drug Discovery: Biology-driven natural product drug discovery and characterization, with primary emphasis in the fields of cancer chemotherapy and cancer chemoprevention. Current long-term project is designed to investigate the effects of grape consumption on health.



Dovenia Ponnoth, Ph.D
Assistant Professor of Pharmacology & Toxicology
Division of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Dovenia.Ponnoth@liu.edu
718-780-4079

Research Interest:

Cardiovascular Pharmacology, Lung Biology: Main research focus is Cardiopulmonary Pharmacology and the interaction between reactive airway diseases and development of cardiovascular diseases (CVD); asthma/COPD pathogenesis; role of Angiotensin ll and adenosine in lung diseases and CVD. Identifying novel vascular smooth muscle and endothelial derived-relaxing factors, signaling mechanisms and dysfunction in CVD; population and epidemiological basis of the correlation between lung function and stroke, hypertension and atherosclerosis.



Warren N. Ratna, M.S., Ph.D. (Ratneswaran Ratnasabapathy)
Professor of Pharmacology
Division of Pharmaceutical Sciences
WRatna@liu.edu
718-488-1499

Research Interest:

Neurodegenerative and infectious diseases, cancer: Elucidation of the molecular mechanism underlying estrogen-mediated stabilization of mRNA. mRNA protein interaction in mRNPs. Effects of estrogen-mimicking environmental pollutants, phytoestrogens and synthetic, selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs) on the expression of estrogen responsive genes. Differential regulation of estrogen-responsive genes by SERMs. siRNA-mediated downregulation of amyloid precursor protein and τ protein implicated in Alzheimer’s disease, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and HMG Co-A reductase. Tat-mediated transcriptional regulation in HIV-1.



Vikas Sehdev, B.Pharm., Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Pharmacology
Program Director for Pharmacology, Toxicology, and Medicinal Chemistry Graduate Program
Division of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Vikas.Sehdev@liu.edu
718-488-1447

Research Interest:

Cancer Biology, Drug Discovery and Drug Development: Primary areas of interest include identification and characterization of novel therapeutic targets, investigational anticancer agents, and enhanced drug combinations for the treatment of Blood, Gastrointestinal, and Breast Cancers in collaboration with academic, clinical, and industrial research partners.



Bupendra K. Shah, B. Pharm., M.S., Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Social and Administrative Sciences
Division of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Bupendra.Shah@liu.edu
718-780-4593

Research Interest:

Health Education and Services Research: Pharmacists perspectives, training needs, service capabilities and performance; Patient perspectives and patient outcomes such as medication adherence; A specific focus of our research is the use of quantitative and qualitative methods to investigate several aspects of patient care delivery and outcomes of pharmacists delivered interventions such as patient counseling, medication therapy management and public health services and team based care.



Billy Sin, Pharm.D., BCPS
Assistant Professor of Pharmacy Practice
Residency Program Director, PGY-2 Emergency Medicine Pharmacy Residency Program
Billy.Sin@liu.edu
718-488-1987

Research Interest:

Pharmacy Practice in Emergency Medicine and Pain Management: Our profession is continually evolving. In an era of dynamic change, how should pharmacist adapt? What is our role? What should we do to make the biggest impact? The Emergency Department (ED) is the frontline for provision of medical care. It is also the safety net of our health-system, especially for those who seek immediate care but lack routine primary care. In order to expand our value and more importantly, channel the value our profession brings to the public, the ED is a great environment to demonstrate the value of the pharmacist. In an inherently fast-paced environment usually defined by high patient volume, complex clinical acuity, and limited resource, our research focus is to determine and evaluate potential practices and services that the pharmacist may provide to improve patient care. Pain, is the most common reason for patient visits to the ED. As the drug expert, pharmacist has the knowledge, skills, and ability to make innovative changes to standard practice and how pain is managed in an acute setting.



Grazia Stagni, Ph.D
Professor of Pharmaceutics
Division of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Grazia.Stagni@liu.edu
718-488-1231

Research Interest:

Pharmaceutical Sciences: cutaneous microdialysis, topical and transdermal delivery, in-vitro/in-vivo correlations, bioequivalence of topical formulation, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamic modeling. A specific focus of our research is the use of microdialysis to study the rate and extent of delivery to the skin either from topical/transdermal devices (iontophoresis, microneedles) and formulations, and from systemic administrations.



David Taft, Ph.D
Professor of Pharmaceutics
Division of Pharmaceutical Sciences
David.Taft@liu.edu
718-488-1263

Research Interest:

Pharmacokinetics and Biopharmaceutics: Research centers on application of in vitro, in vivo and in silico tools to evaluate absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion. This includes application of perfused organ systems (kidney, intestine, liver) to characterize drug disposition mechanisms and in vivo experiments to evaluate the pharmacokinetics of novel compounds following various routes of administration. These studies are used to support the development of novel drug formulations or to assess potential drug:drug interactions. Computer-based modeling and simulation techniques are used to predict plasma drug levels in humans from preclinical data (IVIVE), to correlate in vitro and in vivo data (IVIVC), to assess pharmacokinetics in special populations, or to provide pharmacokinetic analysis of data generated from clinical studies.



Yoonsun Mo, M.S., Pharm.D., BCPS, BCCCP
Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice
Division of Pharmacy Practice
Yoonsun.Mo@liu.edu
(718) 780-6114

Research Interest:

Dr. Mo’s research interests involve all aspects of critical care including pain/agitation/delirium practices, sepsis, infectious diseases, anticoagulation/hemostasis management, and alcohol withdrawal syndrome.
Clinical research projects currently in progress include a survey study on current practice patterns in the management of alcohol withdrawal syndrome and a retrospective cohort study evaluating the effect of modafinil on cognitive function in intensive care unit patients.



Mimi Pezzuto, MS, RPH
Program Adviser for Cosmetic Sciences/Pharmaceutics Graduate Program
Adjunct Faculty
Division of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Mimi.Pezzuto@liu.edu
(718) 488-1630

Research Interest:

Cosmetic Sciences: Evaluation and testing of sun protection factor (SPF) value for sunscreen formulas. Cholecalciferol (Vitamin D) dermal formulations. Product development.
History of Pharmacy: Historical prescription records’ relevance to medical practices.



Shalonda Williams, Pharm.D., BCACP
Assistant Professor of Pharmacy Practice
Division of Pharmacy Practice
Shalonda.Williams@liu.edu
(718) 488-1000 x2211

Research Interest:

Adherence Improvement: Improvements and innovations in research centers revolving around patients with asthma, COPD, heart failure, and/or diabetes and their comorbidities. Involved in transitions of care, medication management, evaluation of interdisciplinary practice models and the impact of clinical pharmacists on patient care, reducing readmission rates, and improving medication adherence. Current interests also include public health, health disparities, and cultural sensitivity.

Current project on the impact of a pharmacist-coordinated transitions of care program on patient adherence and follow-up.


CONTACT

LIU Pharmacy
John M. Pezzuto, A.B., Ph.D.
Dean