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Brittany Jennings
September 8, 2021

Jacob Robinson, MS, is a Pharm.D. student at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy.

Jacob Robinson, MS, a third year Pharm.D. student, was recently honored with the American Foundation for Pharmaceutical Education (AFPE) Gateway to Research Award.

The Gateway scholarship provides a unique opportunity for Pharm.D. and baccalaureate degree students to participate in a faculty-mentored research project. The award aims to help students learn how to identify relevant research problems, generate a research hypothesis, analyze data, interpret and use research results in practice, effectively communicate research and clinical data to a broad audience, develop problem-solving skills, and sharpen critical thinking skills.

The exposure to and understanding of research enables students to improve their clinical skills to facilitate better communication with patients and medical team members that will ultimately equip them for the changing healthcare workforce, according to the AFPE.

“It is very exciting to receive this award. It is my goal to utilize my training as a pharmacist and researcher to improve clinical outcomes through disease and medication discovery,” Robinson said. “I am humbled to be selected and look forward to sharing the results of my research in the future.”

Robinson will work under the guidance of faculty mentor Daniel Crona, Pharm.D., Ph.D., on his research project titled, “Epithelial mesenchymal transition mechanisms in metastatic prostate cancer: the role of MPP8.”

“We are so thrilled for Jacob and his accomplishment. An AFPE Gateway to Research Award is very prestigious, and Jacob should be very proud. But more importantly, Jacob’s research is at the vanguard of epigenetic pharmacotherapy innovation, and his work will provide crucial and fundamental knowledge as we move this towards the clinic and ultimately helping patients with lethal prostate cancer,” Crona said.

Robinson’s ultimate research goal – to decrease treatment resistance in patients battling metastatic prostate cancer and drive toward a novel therapeutic that would extend the lives of those living with the disease.

Robinson said 20 percent of prostate cancer patients relapse and progress to metastatic prostate cancer, substantially decreasing overall survival rates.

“Androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) is standard-of-care in metastatic prostate cancer, but ADT resistance typically occurs within 18-24 months, resulting in progression to castration-resistant metastatic prostate cancer (mCRPC),” Robsinson added. “Despite treatment advances, mCRPC remains incurable and there is an urgent and unmet public health need to establish long term effective treatment options for these patients.”

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