Wilkes Pharmacy students, professor present at conference

Pharm. D. Candidates Erika Zarfoss and Ashley Eden present research in Pheonix, Ariz.

Wilkes University pharmacy students presented research findings at the American College of Clinical Pharmacy (ACCP) annual conference in Phoenix, Ariz., which took place Oct. 7 to 10.

Pharm. D. Candidates Erika Zarfoss and Ashley Eden presented at the conference. The subject of their presentation was the effects of vitamin C in cardiac surgery patients, relating to decreasing their risk of post-operation atrial fibrillation.

According to the ACCP, the annual meeting is designed for health professionals involved with clinical pharmacy—students, residents, fellows, and experienced practitioners and educators. The educational programming developed for the Annual Meeting provides attendees with new, high quality information that will be both challenging and applicable in their practice.

“It was a great conference with pharmacy students across the nation; it was really cool. There were a ton of posters being presented, it was awesome to see all the different work being done across the country and to be a part of that,” said Zarfoss.

Zarfoss’ and Eden’s presentation, a poster, consisted of results from healthy volunteers who had taken oral vitamin C. The main focus of their presentation was the analysis of blood from healthy volunteers and the concentration of oxidative biomarkers in their blood.

Biomarkers are a measurable substance in an organism whose presence is indicative of some phenomenon such as disease, infection, or environmental exposure.

According to Clinical Chemistry, the leading international journal of clinical laboratory science, providing 2,000 pages per year of peer-reviewed papers that advance the science of the field, oxidative stress is a pervasive condition of increased amounts of reactive oxygen/nitrogen species, and is now recognized to be a prominent feature of many acute and chronic diseases and even of the normal aging process.

Although Zarfoss and Eden participated at the conference, the subject of their presentation continues on.

“We’re currently enrolling patients at Geisinger, who will be undergoing cardiac surgery. We will actually be administering the vitamin C, through I.V. to them. Again, we’ll be taking blood samples from them, similar to what we did for the healthy volunteers and analyzing their levels of oxidative biomarkers,” said Zarfoss.

The body of the study came from Dr. Scott Bolesta, associate professor of pharmacy practice at Wilkes. Bolesta enlisted the help of Zarfoss and Eden to assist in furthering the research. Bolesta hopes to see the project go further, eventually being applied to actual patients.

Through presenting at the annual meeting, Zarfoss hopes to inspire future pharmacy students and to positively impact the Wilkes community.

“I think it’s always awesome for us to get Wilkes’ name out there, especially in the pharmacy school. We have 14 chapters of national, student pharmacy organizations on campus, but the one that we went to isn’t one of them. It’s not one Wilkes typically participates in.

“It was great for us to be able to go there. Two of our professors also presented their research also. They say pharmacy is a small world, and it is. It’s always great to get our small school’s name out there,” said Zarfoss.