Meet Our Faculty

Our nationally and internationally recognized faculty advance pharmacy education, research and practice to tackle society’s toughest healthcare problems. Read more about how their work is making a difference. 

Courtney Aldrich

Courtney AldrichFighting Multidrug-resistant Pathogens

As a Professor in the Department of Medicinal Chemistry, Courtney Aldrich’s research focuses on developing new antibacterial agents for multidrug-resistant pathogens, including the bacteria that cause the deadly disease tuberculosis (TB).

Elizabeth Ambrose

Elizabeth AmbroseConducting research to address real-world threats and emergencies

Today, Ambrose’s research program focuses on designing countermeasures to biological and chemical warfare agents, specifically Bacillus anthracis (the causative agent of anthrax), the ricin toxin, and organophosphate nerve gases such as sarin, soman and the nerve agent VX.

Heather Blue

Heather BlueOn the Front Lines of the Opioid Epidemic in the Classroom and in the Emergency Department

When Blue was approached by the Emergency Department’s Medical Director Nick Van Deelen, MD, to help address the high rates of opioid overdose deaths in St. Louis County, she committed to addressing the problem from all angles.

James Cloyd

James CloydImproving Care of Individuals Suffering from Rare Diseases

Professor James Cloyd’s research and educational interests have focused on medications used to treat rare pediatric neurological disorders, orphan drugs, antiepileptic drugs and clinical neuropharmacology.

Peter Dosa

dosaThe Quest to Halt Vision Loss and Blindness

Research Assistant Professor Peter Dosa is working to halt glaucoma’s vision loss through the development of improved medications, which is especially critical for those populations disproportionately affected by glaucoma—African Americans, seniors age 60 and older, individuals with a family history of glaucoma and those with diabetes.

Carolyn Fairbanks

carolyn fairbanksStopping Pain Impulses Before They Reach the Brain

Carolyn Fairbanks seeks to keep painkilling drugs out of the brain in order to prevent drug addiction. “The burden of chronic pain for individuals and for our society, our community, is very great,” said Fairbanks. She explains that keeping pain impulses and potentially addictive painkilling drugs away from the brain means restricting them to peripheral areas like skin and internal organs or to the spinal cord.


Dave Ferguson

Dave FergusonEngaging Students in the Community to Address the Complex Issues of Substance Abuse

According to Professor of Medicinal Chemistry Dave Ferguson, the genesis of the “Drugs of Abuse” course was a gap in the curriculum when it came to awareness and care for patients with substance abuse problems.

Kylee Funk

Kylee FunkPart of interprofessional partnership to improve medical access

Assistant Professor Kylee Funk has been practicing at the University of Minnesota Health Nurse Practitioners Clinic in downtown Minneapolis. One of the only nurse practitioner-led clinics in the region at the time of its opening, the clinic aims to improve people’s access to qualified care providers in a diverse and growing community.

Oscar Garza

Oscar GarzaAddressing Critical Health Inequities

Assistant Professor Oscar Garza addresses critical health inequities using a framework of social justice and University-Community Partnerships. He is building healthy communities by promoting economic, social, cultural, historical, and institutional equity.

Brian Isetts

Brian IsettsDeveloping Medication Therapy Management Services

Professor Brian Isetts is a national expert in studying the outcomes of medication therapy management (MTM) services. In 1999 Isetts was recognized for creating the University’s student-driven Pharmaceutical Care Experiential Clinic, which offered MTM services to patients under his direction. It was just the beginning of the college’s leadership in MTM.

Pamala Jacobson

Pamela JacobsonMaking Precision Medicine a Reality

In Pamala Jacobson’s dream, every person who needs medical treatment will receive drugs that work for them—not, as sometimes happens today, drugs that don’t.

Amanda Klein

Amanda KleinResearch to Find New Therapies for Chronic Pain

A faculty member on the Duluth campus since 2015, Amanda Klein conducts research on neurological pain. In particular, she is working on mechanisms of pain and downstream signalling components of opioid receptors. The goals of her research are to find new therapies for chronic pain, and alleviate opioid tolerance and withdrawal.

Ling Li

ling liAlzheimer’s Disease Research

Professor and VFW Endowed Chair in Pharmacotherapy for the Elderly Ling Li is an expert in Alzheimer’s disease and atherosclerosis, age-related disorders leading to memory loss and heart attack, respectively. Her research focuses on cholesterol and related molecules and their impact on brain function as well as cardiovascular disease.

Ramaiah Muthyala

Ramaiah MuthyalaExtending the College’s Leadership in Orphan Drugs Across the Globe

Research Associate Professor Ramaiah Muthyala is the founder, president and CEO of the Indian Organization for Rare Diseases (IORD) — an umbrella organization representing all rare diseases and patients in India.

Chrystian Pereira

Chrystian PereiraCommunity Service Means Improved Public Health

During a rural fourth-year pharmacy rotation, Pereira was placed at Renville County Hospitals & Clinics – Olivia Clinic in southwestern Minnesota. There, he explored the role of the pharmacist in occupational health and provided care in a migrant farmworkers’ clinic.

Philip S. Portoghese

philip portogheseAn International Leader in Opioid Research 

Since joining the College of Pharmacy faculty in 1961, Distinguished Professor Philip S. Portoghese, Ph.D., has made significant contributions to the field of medicinal chemistry. His research focuses on the neurosciences, and has been critical to the understanding of pain management, addiction, and tolerance to morphine-like pain relievers.

Paul Ranelli

Paul RanelliOpening Eyes to Perception of Medication

To bring focus on medication outside of cost, Ranelli turned to art, which would allow patients to openly tell the story of their relationship with medication.

Shellina Scheiner

Shellina ScheinerCaring for Older Adults in Transition Between Hospital and Home

Assistant Professor Shellina Scheiner practices on an interprofessional team in a transitional care unit. By monitoring medications for older adults in transition between hospital and home, she ensures that medications are safe, effective and appropriate.

Mark Schneiderhan

Mark SchneiderhanBridging the Gap Between Mental Health Care and Primary Health Care Systems

Associate Professor Mark Schneiderhan, a board-certified psychiatric pharmacist, says the process of going to a primary care doctor can prevent mentally ill patients from seeking primary care, an essential piece to their overall health care.

David Stenehjem

David StenehjemOn a Quest to Use Big Data to Stop AML

With a five-year survival rate of 27 percent, acute myeloid leukemia (AML), which starts in bone marrow and quickly moves into blood, is one of the most challenging cancers to treat in adults.

Robert Straka

Robert StrakaA Longstanding Commitment to Public Engagement

As part of his work supported by a University of Minnesota Grand Challenges Exploratory Research Grant, Straka partners with members of the Hmong community to increase inclusion and understanding about variations of genes that influence medication effectiveness.

Carston R. Wagner

Carston Rick WagnerEradicating Cancer with Immune Cells Armed with Nanorings

Carston R. Wagner, professor and endowed chair of the Department of Medicinal Chemistry, has proven we can use nanotechnology to transform our own immune cells into cancer serial killers by his team’s development of techniques that activate immune cells, specifically T-cells, to track down and eradicate tumor cells. This research highlights one of the most exciting areas in cancer therapy.

Sarah Westberg

Sarah westbergPracticing at an Advanced Level

While practicing at the Women’s Health Specialists Clinic, Associate Professor Sarah Westberg is able to practice at an advanced level: she fully manages medication use by initiating, modifying and discontinuing drug therapy under collaborative practice agreements with physicians and nurse practitioners.