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Drake-Vanadro Drug Development Fellowship Program

The Vanadro-Drake University Drug Development Fellowship, unique to the Midwest, provides pharmacy graduates the opportunity to gain a solid foundation and competitive edge within the industry through intensive training in various aspects of new drug development.

The drug development fellow works with many different industry partners to provide groundbreaking patient care to patients globally. The Fellowship provides interactions with drug companies, the Food and Drug Administration, research laboratories, and didactic training in numerous aspects of research. Additionally, the fellow is able to gain teaching experience in Drake’s Doctor of Pharmacy program.

2024 Vanadro and Drake University Drug Development Fellowship Brochure

Hear from 2019-2020 fellowship graduate and Vanadro Clinical Pharmacologist, Amanda Hoerres:

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Participation in various client meetings to provide insight and guidance into development of an appropriate clinical pharmacology plan.
  • Development of study documents including protocols and protocol concepts, IND submission documents, and various synopses.
  • Engagement in literature reviews, data analysis, and reporting of data to client’s and various other stakeholder’s.
  • Management of pharmacokinetic responsibilities of contract research organizations (CROs).
  • Evaluation of study design to ensure appropriateness and compliance within the recommendations of ICH/FDA guidelines.
  • Participation in hands-on laboratory research training under the supervision of a Drake Professor.
  • Lecture presentations of drug development topics to Drake University faculty and students. 

About Vanadro Drug Development Consulting

Company Overview

Founded in 2018, Vanadro Drug Development Consulting is a group of clinical pharmacists specializing in the development of drugs in the realm of immuno-oncology. The Vanadro portfolio spans all types of therapies from small molecules to large molecules, as well as, cellular therapies. Vanadro has a unique opportunity as a consulting firm to be involved in every aspect of drug development from R&D to pre-clinical work and beyond. Vanadro is dedicated to the success of our clients. As such, Vanadro employees work diligently to provide insight on study design, regulatory guidance, and pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic properties of new chemical entities (NCEs). Vanadro provides its clients with full pharmacology packages from literature reviews, to pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic analyses, population pharmacokinetic modeling, and more.


Immuno-oncology is truly one of the most exciting, while at the same time, very challenging areas of oncology research and development. Immuno-oncology development attempts to utilize the full power of one’s immune system to be able to fight the cancer. These molecules are developed to stimulate the immune system to recognize and to attack the cancerous cells. Finding the balance between toxicity and efficacy can be quite challenging making this one of the more arduous drug development pathways.

Application Process

August: Application will open at

  • Applicants are required to have obtained a PharmD by the start of the fellowship.
  • Required documents:
    • Letter of interest
    • CV
    • At least 2 letters of recommendation

Mid-October: Application will close, and the first round of interview invitations will be released.

Early November: First round of interviews will occur.

Mid-November: On-site interviews/Offer extension.

Meet the Fellows

2021-2022 Fellow

Valentin Vandendoren, PharmD

Valentin Vandendoren obtained his PharmD from the University of Wyoming (UWYO) School of Pharmacy in 2021. Valentin has a wealth of research and leadership experience, and three years of teaching experience at the university level. He tailored several of his final-year rotation experiences in the UWYO PharmD program to match his interests in pharmacology, drug development, and research. Those experiences include a research rotation at the UWYO focused on preclinical and clinical drug development, as well as safety efficacy, and pharmacokinetic studies; an oncology rotation at Ivinson Memorial Hospital focused on specific drug knowledge and therapeutics related to oncology; and an academic rotation at the UWYO focused on teaching and presentation skills, as well as research experiences and scientific writing. While fulfilling these rotations, Valentin completed research on pharmacological mechanisms and therapies associated with transient receptor protein channels. This led to co-authoring a review paper comparing the safety of capsaicin and liraglutide. Other research involvement at the UWYO led to his writing a review on preclinical models used to test and develop multiple sclerosis drugs. After Valentin's Fellowship concluded in 2021, he was hired on at Vanadro as a Clinical Pharmacologist.

Read the official article announcing Valentin as the 2021-2022 Fellow here.

2020-2021 Fellow

Ivy Xue, PharmD

Ivy Xue obtained her PharmD from the University of North Carolina Eshelman School of Pharmacy in 2020. A native of Iowa, Xue also earned a Bachelor of Arts in Health and Multidisciplinary Science from the University of Iowa in 2016. Xue has a wealth of research and leadership experience, and a keen interest in pharmacology and drug policy. While working towards her PharmD, she completed internships with the Food and Drug Administration and Bristol-Myers Squibb, and was a Policy and Global Health Intern for the International Pharmaceutical Federation in The Hague, Netherlands. Xue also served as the Policy Vice President of the American Pharmacists Association – Academy of Student Pharmacists from 2018 – 2019. Following the completion of her fellowship, Ivy moved to Boston, Massachusetts, to work as a Clinical Pharmacologist with Vertex Pharmaceuticals.

Read the official article announcing Xue as the 2020-2021 Fellow here.  


2019-2020 Fellow

Amanda Hoerres, PharmD

Amanda Hoerres received her PharmD from Drake University's College of Pharmacy and  Health Sciences in 2019. Hoerres completed research for five years at Drake while working towards her degree, particularly in the area of oncology. She worked with PARP inhibitors to better understand the role of matrix metalloproteinases in DNA repair and was a part of the SoapyCilantro team, a project meant to teach high school students about pharmacogenomics. Her research earned her a NASA Grant and Harris Endowment fund in 2017. Hoerres also has a history of leadership and mentorship. She served as the  Philanthropy Co. Chair (2014-2015), Vice President (2015-2016), and Treasurer (2016-2018) of the professional pharmacy fraternity Lambda Kappa Sigma. She has served as a mentor to Drake University and high school students interested in research and drug development. 

During the Fellowship, Hoerres gave a successful lecture series and assisted in the writing of two INDs, created 30+ data analysis presentations and corresponding graphs, and wrote 10+ deep-dive literature reviews ranging from regulatory topics, to specific patient population data, to drug-drug interaction assessments. After her Fellowship concluded in 2020, Hoerres was hired on at Vanadro as a Clinical Pharmacologist.

Read the official article announcing Amanda Hoerres as the first Vanadro and Drake University Drug Development Fellow here

Meet the Fellowship Team

Sanela Bilic, PharmD, MBA
President & CEO of Vanadro
Clinical Pharmacologist
Adjunct Assistant Professor Clinical Sciences (2020-present)
Fellowship Director


Amanda Hoerres, PharmD
Clinical Pharmacologist at Vanadro
Adjunct Assistant Professor Clinical Sciences (2020-present)
Fellowship Alumni (2019-2020)


Craige Wrenn, BS, PhD
Department Chair, Pharmaceutical & Administrative Sciences
Professor of Pharmacology
Fellowship Co-Director


Erik Maki.jpeg

Erik Maki, PharmD, BCPS
Department Chair, Pharmacy Practice
Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice
Fellowship Co-Director


Renae Chesnut, EdD, MBA, BS
Dean of the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences
Professor of Pharmacy Practice

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