UA Health Sciences Centers Collaborate to Present Discovering New Medicines at Arizona Summit

The Arizona Center for Drug Discovery and the University of Arizona Cancer Center will host a one-day summit, “Discovering New Medicines in Arizona,” at the Phoenix Biomedical Campus on Wednesday, Oct. 2.

The summit will take place in the Health Sciences Education Building (HSEB) and the Phoenix Biomedical Sciences Partnership Building, 475 N. Fifth St., from 7:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. It will highlight key areas of research seeking to discover effective drug candidates to treat diseases prevalent in Arizona, while establishing collaborations that enable success for future research and discoveries. Registration is required to attend.

“Drug discovery is a strength at the University of Arizona Health Sciences,” said Rick G. Schnellmann, PhD, dean and Howard J. Schaeffer endowed chair in pharmaceutical sciences at the UA College of Pharmacy. “The UA summit speakers have international reputations and the diseases they study are ones that most impact Arizona citizens. This summit showcases what we are capable of accomplishing at the UA Health Sciences in drug discovery across interdisciplinary units.”

The UA Health Sciences has seen several successful drug discovery spin-offs in recent years. Examples include DesertDx, a molecular diagnostic company, Reglagene, a company that discovers new medicines to fight cancer, and Regulonix, which develops non-opioid drugs to treat chronic pain.

The conference will begin by showcasing examples of drug discovery already occurring at the UA Health Sciences, followed by a deeper discussion into new drug possibilities. Five topics will be addressed in morning plenary sessions, including:

  • “Diseases of Aging in Neurosciences,” by Roberta Brinton, PhD, director, Center for Innovation in Brain Science
  • “Drug Development in Cancer Prevention and Treatment: E Pluribus Unum,” by Julie Bauman, MD, MPH, chief, Division of Hematology and Oncology; deputy director, UA Cancer Center; co-leader, Therapeutic Development Program
  • “Pain: Chronic Treatments to Replace Opioids,” by Todd Vanderah, PhD, professor, UA College of Medicine – Tucson
  • “Lung Diseases,” by Monica Kraft, MD, professor and chair, UA College of Medicine – Tucson
  • “Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome,” by Lawrence Mandarino, PhD, director, UA Center for Disparities in Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism

Afternoon breakout sessions will focus on critical areas for new drug discovery, including diseases of aging in neurosciences, cancer research, airway diseases and pain. An external panel discussion, which includes speakers from investment firms, including Mara Aspinall, BlueStone Venture, Michael Sember, Desert Angels, and Jinzhu “Cookie” Yu, PhD, Pappas Capital, will conclude the event. These venture capitalists will provide insight to conference attendees around how investment firms fund drug discovery projects and what they look for in academic partners.

List of Additional Speakers for “Discovering New Medicines in Arizona” Summit:

  • Scott Boitano, PhD, professor, UA College of Medicine – Tucson
  • Andrew Capaldi, PhD, assistant professor, UA College of Science
  • Jennifer Carew, PhD, co-director, Hematologic Malignancy Disease Team, UA Cancer Center
  • Rui Chang, PhD, associate professor, UA College of Medicine – Tucson
  • Louise Hecker, PhD, associate professor, UA College of Medicine – Tucson
  • May Khanna, PhD, assistant professor, UA College of Medicine – Tucson
  • Monica Kraft, MD, professor and chair, UA College of Medicine – Tucson
  • Julie Ledford, PhD, associate professor, UA College of Medicine – Tucson
  • Lawrence Mandarino, PhD, director, UA Center for Disparities in Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism
  • Timothy Marlowe, PhD, director, Molecular Analysis Core, UA College of Medicine – Phoenix
  • Laurent Martin, postdoctoral research associate, UA College of Medicine – Tucson
  • Kathleen Rodgers, PhD, associate director, Translational Neuroscience, Center for Innovation in Brain Science, professor, pharmacology
  • John Streicher, PhD, assistant professor, UA College of Medicine – Tucson
  • Michael Worobey, PhD, head, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

The summit will be held prior to the AZBio Awards, an annual celebration of the best of Arizona’s biosciences industry. Two UA leaders, Marti Lindsey, PhD, and Monica Kraft, MD, will be honored at the event, which will be held at the Phoenix Convention Center at 4 p.m.

“This summit exemplifies the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration as we develop innovative drugs to treat difficult diseases afflicting people across Arizona,” said Julie Bauman, MD, deputy director of the UA Cancer Center. “I am excited to present alongside researchers and physicians who are leaders in their fields. Together, we can transform patient care and revolutionize treatment throughout our state.” 

About the Arizona Center for Drug Discovery

The Arizona Center for Drug Discovery (ACDD) accelerates academic-based drug discovery by bridging faculty experts with pharmacy industry partners and connecting interdisciplinary experts across the University and bioscience community. Launched in 2018 by the UA College of Pharmacy, ACDD is a vibrant organizational hub, creating a pipeline for drug discovery and development and translating current research into commercializable endeavors. The ACDD aims to create a portfolio spanning biologic targets, therapeutic areas and modalities.

About the University of Arizona Cancer Center

The University of Arizona Cancer Center is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center with headquarters in Arizona. The UA Cancer Center is supported by NCI Cancer Center Support Grant No. CA023074. With primary locations at the University of Arizona in Tucson and at Dignity Health St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix, the UA Cancer Center has more than a dozen research and education offices throughout the state, with more than 300 physicians and scientists working together to prevent and cure cancer. For more information: uacc.arizona.edu (Follow us: Facebook | Twitter | YouTube)

About the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy

The Arizona Center for Drug Discovery is one of numerous centers housed at the UA College of Pharmacy. The University of Arizona College of Pharmacy is the premier pharmacy college in the Southwest, and one of the top in the nation, focused on drug discovery, toxicology, pharmaceutics, outcomes sciences, pharmaceutical education and research through interprofessional training and collaborative public/private partnerships. Preparing pharmacists and pharmaceutical scientists in undergraduate, professional, graduate and post-doctoral programs, the college embraces an entrepreneurial spirit, providing tailored educational opportunities to broaden students' experiences. As the first health sciences college at the UA, the college has a long history of improving science and health both in Arizona and around the world. For more information, visit pharmacy.arizona.edu.

About the University of Arizona Health Sciences

The University of Arizona Health Sciences is the statewide leader in biomedical research and health professions training. The UA Health Sciences includes the UA Colleges of Medicine (Tucson and Phoenix), Nursing, Pharmacy, and the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, with main campus locations in Tucson and the growing Phoenix Biomedical Campus in downtown Phoenix. From these vantage points, the UA Health Sciences reaches across the state of Arizona and the greater Southwest to provide cutting-edge health education, research, patient care and community outreach services. A major economic engine, the UA Health Sciences employs nearly 5,000 people, has approximately 900 faculty members and garners $200 million in research grants and contracts annually. For more information: uahs.arizona.edu (Follow us: Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | LinkedIn | Instagram)

Release Date: 
09/30/2019 - 6:30am
Original Story: