Several pharmacist students working in a lab.

Research themes

Biotargets and mechanisms of disease

This theme forms the foundation of basic molecular science in pharmacy.

Researchers in this area investigate fundamental cell biology and physiology that contribute to disease, drug-receptor interactions, and drug-induced signaling pathways.

This research covers a broad range of diseases, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, liver disease, obesity, aging, Alzheimer’s disease, and epigenetic diseases.

This work will provide an essential understanding of biological processes that contribute to the development of novel biotherapeutic agents.

Learn more about our researchers working in this area:

Drug discovery, design, development, and delivery

This theme encompasses the disciplines of pharmaceutics, pharmacokinetics, medicinal chemistry, and pharmacology.

Pharmaceutics is the study of the delivery of drugs to their intended sites of action with the goal of targeting specific tissues or organs to increase efficacy and reduce adverse effects.

Medicinal chemistry includes the development of new drugs utilizing systematic approaches like computer-aided drug design, and synthetic organic chemistry, as well as the development of novel biologic drugs.

Pharmacokinetics is the study of the liberation from dosage forms, absorption, distribution, metabolism, excretion, and toxicity, of drugs.

Pharmacologists study the fundamental biochemical and physiological mechanisms of drug action to produce new and improve existing drugs. Our goal is to develop new treatments for growing health concerns like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

Learn more about our researchers working in this area:

Population therapeutics and health outcomes research

Study of medications’ use in the real world to generate novel evidence of their safety, effectiveness, and value.

This theme is broad and includes research in pharmacoepidemiology, pharmacogenetics, health economics, health policy, medication therapy management, pharmacy practice, clinical epidemiology, and statistical methods as applied to pharmacoepidemiology.

Students interested in these areas of research have the opportunity to obtain a concentration in pharmacoepidemiology as a part of their degree.

Learn more about our researchers working in this area:

Translational pharmacotherapy and practice

The translational pharmacotherapy and practice theme deals with the movement of pharmacotherapy knowledge and research from concept development to direct patient application.

Many of our researchers are imbedded or practice within clinical settings providing them with the unique opportunity to allow practice to inspire and form the basis of research concepts and development.

Work produced by our researchers includes studies in a broad range of therapeutic areas, including cardiology, infectious diseases, renal disease, mental health, addiction medicine, diabetes, primary care, and care of older adults.

This breadth of research has fostered collaborations with other University of Manitoba research units, including many departments of medicine, as well as research partnerships with other Manitoba health care institutions and organizations such as the College of Pharmacists of Manitoba, Manitoba Centre for Health Policy etc.

Graduate students in this area do projects in pharmacy practice, clinical pharmacogenomics, applied pharmacokinetics, knowledge translation, and patient-level and population utilization assessment for clinical and policy applications.

This work is fundamental in informing clinician scientists, front-line clinicians, and decision makers on current therapeutic progress and potential applications of optimized pharmacotherapy to patient care.

Learn more about our researchers working in this area:

College of Pharmacy Research Day

Our annual research day is focused on recognizing the accomplishments and innovations in research in the College of Pharmacy.

2024 Pharmacy Research Day

When: Thursday, March 14, 2024 | 1:00 to 5:00 p.m.
Where: Apotex Centre, Bannatyne Campus

Read more about Pharmacy Research Day in UM Today.

Our researchers

Undergraduate research opportunities

Student working in a lab.

UM Undergraduate Research Awards

Each year, the University of Manitoba provides a multitude of unique learning opportunities through the undergraduate research awards. This program allows undergraduate students to interact with the best minds and research leaders in their fields. This experience opens them up to new possibilities for a research career in either government, academic or industry sectors.

College of Pharmacy PharmD Undergraduate Summer Research Experience

Offered by the College of Pharmacy, the summer research experience offers undergraduates a unique opportunity to hone their research skills and build strong relationships with faculty mentors.


  • Exclusively available to Year 1 and Year 2 PharmD students.

Funding allocation:

  • Six students will receive financial support.
  • Year 1 students: $2,000 each per month.
  • Year 2 students: $2,500 each per month.

Duration of support:

  • Year 1 students: Eligible for four months (16 weeks).
  • Year 2 students: Eligible for two months (10 weeks), contingent upon hospital rotations.

How to apply:

  1. Review project descriptions 
  2. Contact the primary investigator (PI) leading the project of interest.
  3. Contact for an application.
  4. Include the following documents with your application:
    1. Curriculum vitae
    2. Research description
    3. Print out of student grades from your Aurora account
    4. Research ethics approval, if applicable

Research description

The research description is a clear, concise outline of the project, which should be feasible for an undergraduate pharmacy student to execute within the 10 weeks (for 2nd year) - 16 weeks (for first year) summer work term.

The description must include the following sections:

  • An introduction/background
  • Hypothesis/rationale
  • Study design
  • A description of the your role and references

The description may be a maximum of three pages. This does not include reference pages, charts, photographs, diagrams, etc., which may be appended. Figure and table legends are limited to two lines.

Project descriptions:

A new pharmacological strategy to prevent amyloid-mediated islet inflammation and beta cell death in type 2 diabetes

Lucy Marzban, principal investigator

Short description of research
Diabetes is the most common endocrine disorder worldwide and has two major types including Type 1 (T1D; Juvenile onset) and type 2 (T2D; adult onset) diabetes. In both types of diabetes pancreatic islet beta cells fail to produce enough insulin which leads to elevated blood glucose levels, but the underlying mechanisms are different. In patients with T1D, beta cells are destroyed by the body’s immune system, while in patients with T2D, progressive beta-cell dysfunction and peripheral insulin resistance cause beta cell failure.

Formation of toxic protein aggregates, named islet amyloid, is one of the important factors that contributes to islet inflammation, impaired beta cell function and death in patients with T2D. Studies in our group focus on exploring the mechanisms by which amyloid promotes islet inflammation and causes beta-cell death in T2D. The ultimate goal of our studies is to develop new pharmacological strategies to protect pancreatic islets from amyloid toxicity thereby improving islet beta cell survival and function in patients with T2D. Students who join our research group will learn how to culture islets, prepare islet sections, immunolabel live and fixed cells/tissues, and use imaging techniques.

Students will also develop problem-solving, data analysis, and presentation skills by participating in our regular lab meetings. Our lab is located at the Apotex Centre (Bannatyne Campus), a multi-disciplinary research environment that provides trainees various opportunities for interaction with scientists from different health research disciplines.

Breaking Bad 2.0: The Anticancer Chronicles

Geoffrey Tranmer, principal investigator

Short description of research
Unlike the Breaking Bad television series, an academic medicinal chemistry lab is well equipped to synthesize new drugs (anticancer) and we actually want to help people/patients. My group is in the process of synthesizing a series of anticancer compounds for the treatment of various cancers. Due to potential patent issues, we are not able to disclose the general structure of the molecules we wish to synthesize, however, I can provide a brief overview of the project below.

The summer student will synthesize new anticancer drugs and assist in the study of the anticancer properties of the compounds using various biochemical assays. This is a medicinal chemistry project where the student will synthesize new molecules on a daily basis and assist in the testing of their anticancer properties with the help of a doctoral student. Additionally, the student may also perform some in vitro cell based assays, following proper training.

Overall, the summer research project is like a G-Rated academic version of Breaking Bad, but much less glamourous, dramatic or cinematic, and a whole lot safer and intellectually rewarding.

Disclaimer: No recreational vehicles will be harmed during the completion of this project.

Patient engagement in pharmacy research: A scoping review

Anna Chudyk, principal investigator

Short description of research
Patient engagement in research refers to the meaningful and active engagement of patients and caregivers in the research process, through roles such as research advisor or research team member. Patient engagement in research is steadily evolving into a staple of Canadian health research, as championed by the establishment of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research’s Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research.

However, its rate of adoption has varied widely across research disciplines, which each have their own facilitators and barriers to engagement. This study will present a student with a unique opportunity to help shape the relatively nascent field of patient engagement in pharmacy research by contributing to a scoping review of patient engagement in pharmacy research.The student will develop invaluable skills in scoping review design and conduct, which translate directly into conducting literature reviews that underlie any research study.

Pharmacogenomic Testing Options in Canada (PGx-CAN)

Abdullah Maruf, principal investigator

Short description of research
Pharmacogenetics (PGx) is the study of genetic variation in medication response both in terms of therapeutic and adverse effects. The ability to prescribe medication while limiting adverse drug reactions and promoting the best possible care for patients is essential to patient-centred health and wellness. PGx testing has the potential to optimize medication therapy for individual patients.

Given the exponential growth in the evidence base and favourable perceptions of PGx testing among clinicians, patients, and the general public, there is good reason to anticipate increases in both the supply of and demand for testing in the future. As such, healthcare providers will undoubtedly be tasked with deciding which test, if any, best suits the needs of their patients and clinical practice.

The study aims to identify and assess PGx testing options in Canada as of May 2024. Our critical evaluation hopefully will assist healthcare providers in this decision-making process in choosing a PGx test.

Synaptic loss after knockdown of astrocyte NMDA receptors

Jill Stobart, principal investigator

Short description of research
The Stobart lab has reduced the expression of NMDA receptors in astrocytes and found that they are critical for astrocyte calcium signaling and nearby neuronal activity that regulates sensory perception. Our preliminary results suggests that neuronal synapses are lost after astrocyte NMDA receptors are decreased. However, it remains unclear what type (excitatory or inhibitory) synapses are lost and how this affects nearby neuronal circuits.

The summer student will conduct an immunohistochemistry staining project to stain both inhibitory and excitatory synapses in mouse brain tissue with and without a reduction in astrocyte NMDA receptors. The candidate will learn the tissue staining techniques, confocal microscopy and the quantification of synaptic integrity from the acquired images. Students will also have a chance to participate in other types of imaging and electrophysiology experiments, as well as the Stobart lab journal club and group research meetings.

How to apply

To apply, contact for full application for the Undergraduate Summer Research Award.


Funding and resources

The College of Pharmacy is committed to funding research and supporting our principal investigators. Here are some examples of places to start looking for funding.

Safety training for research personnel


The College of Pharmacy follows all policies and procedures established to ensure the safety and well-being of its students and staff. Safety training is mandatory for all new research personnel.

Internal personnel - wet lab

Before the first day at work, all new research personnel must:

Visit UM Learn and register for:

  • College of Pharmacy lab safety training course
  • Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) and biosafety training courses

After each course, submit your certificate of completion to the lead lab technician.

Schedule an in-person training session with the lead lab technician to complete the laboratory safety checklist for new lab personnel.

On/after the first day at work, all new research personnel must:

Non-pharmacy personnel

All applicants from outside the College of Pharmacy must have an internal principal investigator sponsoring their application. Review our faculty directory to find a researcher who can be responsible for your work in our labs.

Contact the lead lab technician for your application package. Return the completed form to the lead lab technician.

Visit UM Learn and register for Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) and biosafety training courses. Submit your certificates to the lead lab technician upon completion.

Note: The associate dean (research) reviews the applications and applicants are contacted with further details once a decision has been made.

Non-university personnel

All applicants from outside the University of Manitoba must have an internal principal investigator sponsoring their application. Review our faculty directory to find a researcher who can be responsible for your work in our labs.

Note: International visitors are encouraged to contact the University of Manitoba International Centre for information on visa applications.

Completing non-lab research at the College of Pharmacy

Individuals performing research with dry lab faculty must complete a mandatory orientation. This includes:

  • Summer students (from the College and university)
  • Volunteers
  • Incoming graduate students

Contact us

College of Pharmacy
Apotex Centre
750 McDermot Avenue West
University of Manitoba (Bannatyne campus)
Winnipeg, MB R3E 0T5 Canada