Fellows


INFECTOUS DISEASES PHARMACOTHERAPY FELLOWS

 

SENIOR PHARMACOTHERAPY FELLOW

 Sean Avedissian, PharmD

Visiting Instructor, Infectious Diseases Pharmacotherapy Fellow

Midwestern University Chicago College of Pharmacy 
555 31st Street 
Alumni Hall, 201
Downers Grove, IL 60515   
Infectious Diseases Pharmacotherapy Fellow
Northwestern Memorial Hospital 
251 E. Huron St.
Feinberg Pavilion, LC 700 
Chicago, IL 60611  

savedi@midwestern.edu 

Dr. Avedissian received his Doctor of Pharmacy degree from University of Southern California in 2015. He completed his PGY-1 Pharmacy Practice residency at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center in Long Beach, California. Dr. Avedissian is currently engaged in advanced research and methodologic training in the Infectious Disease Pharmacotherapy Fellowship at Midwestern University Chicago College of Pharmacy. He is also engaged in additional education through Northwestern University's Master of Science in Clinical Investigation program, which is a 2-year Master's degree program. His interests include pharmacokinetic modeling of antibiotics in special populations.  Outside of work he enjoys martial arts, working out, watching movies, and spending time with friends.

JUNIOR PHARMACOTHERAPY FELLOW

Jiajun Liu, PharmD

Midwestern University
Chicago College of Pharmacy
Department of Pharmacy Practice
555 31st St.
Downers Grove, IL 60515
Office: (630) 515-6311
e-mail: jliu@midwestern.edu

EDUCATION
PharmD Pharmacy Midwestern University 2016
Others Chemistry Loyola University Chicago 2012


RESEARCH SUMMARY
Scientific field of interest:
During my pharmacy training at Midwestern University, I gained ample experience of translational research in both clinical and laboratory setting. Specifically, I was mentored by Dr. Rhodes on several projects that he had lead (see publications below). My early exposure in clinical pharmacy and research work in the area of infectious diseases (ID) made me realize how translational research interplays with patient care. My student research work was further supported by multiple awards from the Chicago College of Pharmacy, which greatly facilitated my continued learning and project presentations at local and national pharmacy meetings. My early experience as a student had driven me to pursue a post-graduate training (PGY-1) in pharmacy at Edward Hines, Jr. VA Hospital. While my PGY-1 training had strong emphases in internal work and outpatient ambulatory care, I found opportunities to work with preceptors who are active in ID research. As a PGY-1 resident, I strived to balance my clinical and research experience to become an excellent researcher and educator.
Upon matriculation into an intense two-year infectious diseases pharmacotherapy fellowship, a joint program between Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Midwestern University, my current training has been in advanced research and methodology. Specifically, I am training in in-vitro cellular experimentation and aim to translate study outcomes to patient care. I am also highly interested in clinical data modeling and PK/PD model development, as well as its applications in clinical practice. Together with my pursuit of a master degree in clinical investigation at Northwestern University, I will continue my advanced training and build a career path to being an innovative researcher and educator.


Research projects
Project I: Development of assays for polymyxin B and define pharmacokinetic profile of nanoparticle coupled polymyxin B. In the era of high bacterial resistance, novel strategies are needed to effectively utilize currently available antimicrobial agents. Polymyxin B was developed in 1947 and is active against many Gram-negative pathogens; its use, however, is limited by kidney injury. Our group coupled polymyxin B with a specific nanoparticle to enhance biodistribution while reducing kidney insults. In the meantime, we are developing a rapid and accurate method to quantity polymyxin B components, and this will provide useful data for future clinical use. Lastly, we also aim to perform cell culture experiments to correlate with in vivo PK-TD data.

Project II: Understand the risk factors/drivers of "inappropriate" antimicrobial use and evaluation of a clinical tool to predict antibiotic "outbreak." Appropriateness in antimicrobial prescribing has become a focal national and international issue. It has been estimated that upwards of 50% of antibiotic use is inappropriate. In order to decrease inappropriate use, drivers of incorrect use must be identified at each local setting. The study will identify vancomycin consumption outbreaks and vancomycin never events (most inappropriate use). By focusing on the outbreaks and never events, we hope to identify risk factors/drivers of inappropriate vancomycin use. Secondly, we will establish consumption outbreak thresholds for identifying time periods with frequent vancomycin never events and aids in classification of appropriate and safe antibiotic use.

Project III: Gender as a predictor in vancomycin-induced kidney injury. Vancomycin is one of the most commonly used antimicrobial agent in the hospital setting, and monitoring serum vancomycin trough levels has become a standard practice for both efficacy and toxicity. Pre-clinical data from our group has suggested that there is a possible link between gender and kidney injury (measured in serum creatinine increase). Our study will yield important data in further tailoring effort in maximizing efficacy of vancomycin therapy or selection of alternative agent while reducing toxicity in amongst at-risk patients.

Selected Publications
List publications in a chronological order. Can create or copy and paste links from Pubmed.
1. O'Donnell JN, Rhodes NJ, Miglis CM, Catovic L, Liu J, Cluff C, Pais G, Avedissian S, Joshi M, Griffin B, Prozialeck W, Gulati A, Lodise TP, Scheetz MH. Doses, durations, and gender predict vancomycin-induced kidney injury in pre-clinical studies. Int J Antimicrob Agents. 2017 Aug 10;PubMed PMID: 28803934.
2. Rhodes NJ, Kuti JL, Nicolau DP, Van Wart S, Nicasio AM, Liu J, Lee BJ, Neely MN, Scheetz MH. Defining Clinical Exposures of Cefepime for Gram-Negative Bloodstream Infections That Are Associated with Improved Survival. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2015 Dec 14;60(3):1401-10. PubMed PMID: 26666929; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4775983.
3. Rhodes NJ, Liu J, McLaughlin MM, Qi C, Scheetz MH. Evaluation of clinical outcomes in patients with Gram-negative bloodstream infections according to cefepime MIC. Diagn Microbiol Infect Dis. 2015 Jun;82(2):165-71. PubMed PMID: 25801780.
4. Rhodes NJ, Richardson CL, Heraty R, Liu J, Malczynski M, Qi C, Scheetz MH. Unacceptably high error rates in Vitek 2 testing of cefepime susceptibility in extended-spectrum-β-lactamase-producing Escherichia coli. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2014 Jul;58(7):3757-61. PubMed PMID: 24752253; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4068587.

POST DOCTORAL RESEARCH ASSOCIATE

Gwendolyn Pais, B.Pharm., Ph.D.

Midwestern University Chicago College of Pharmacy

555 31st Street
Centennial Hall, 206
Downers Grove, IL 60515

Email: gpais@midwestern.edu

Gwendolyn Pais earned her Ph.D. in Biopharmaceutical Sciences from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She completed a Postdoctoral training in Molecular Pharmacology at Midwestern University with the Gulati group and is currently engaged in Pharmacokinetic/Pharmacodynamic (PK/PD) modeling of antibiotics in infectious diseases with the Scheetz group. Dr. Pais is interested in utilizing quantitative systems pharmacology as an extension of PK/PD modeling in Alzheimer's research. In her spare time she enjoys reading and spending time with her family and friends.