During the Opening Session of the 2012 American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS) Annual Meeting and Exposition, AAPS President David Y. Mitchell, Ph.D., presented the following ground-breaking researchers with awards commemorating their contributions to the pharmaceutical sciences:
Postdoctoral Fellow Award- Sponsored by Abbott Laboratories and Merck
Courtney Sloan, Ph.D., is a National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Research Service Award (NRSA) Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign working with Drs. Ryan Bailey and Stephen Sligar. She is currently working on new tools for studying how cells in our bodies interact with drugs and other chemicals. A single cell has thousands of different receptors on its surface, which enable it to communicate with other cells through chemical signals. Many pharmaceutical drugs interact with cell surface receptors to produce their desired therapeutic effects. Dr. Sloan is working on applying a biosensing technology developed in the Bailey lab to study how drugs and other chemicals interact with multiple different cell receptors simultaneously. The information from these studies could lead to the development of new pharmaceutical drugs and/or drugs with fewer side effects.
Sumith A. Kulartne, Ph.D., is the Vice President of Research & Development, On Target Laboratories, LLC, West Lafayette, IN (March 2012- present). Under his guidance, On Target is developing targeted-Near Infra Red (NIR) imaging agents that detect tumor margins during surgery for cancers and biologics for inflammatory diseases. On Target is conducting multiple clinical trials at Mayo clinics, UPenn, IU Medical School for cancers such as ovarian, lung, prostate, and kidney. Dr. Kularatne pursued his postdoctoral studies in biomedicines to target metastatic cancers, cancer stem cells, acute myeloid leukemia, and ovarian cancer using anti-CXCR4, IL3, and bispecific antibodies. He has also developed folate receptor-targeted PET imaging and therapeutic. PSMA-targeted SPECT imaging agent that he developed is currently evaluating in Phase I clinical trials at IU Medical School and PSMA-targeted therapeutic agents are under clinical development at Endocyte Inc, West Lafayette, IN.
Innovation in Nanotechnology Award- Sponsored by Hospira
Arun Kumar Upadhyay, Ph.D., has developed protein, polymer, and virus based nanosystems for enhanced and/or sustained delivery of therapeutic agents including small molecule drugs, peptides, and proteins. He also elucidated the mechanisms of inclusion body formation and developed approaches for efficient purification of protein drugs. His long term goals include development of new drugs and delivery systems for treating retinal degenerative diseases.
Outstanding Educator Award- Sponsored by Biogen Idec
John L. Neumeyer, Ph.D., is the Matthews Distinguished Professor of Medicinal Chemistry (emeritus) at Northeastern University and the Director of the Medicinal Chemistry Program at McLean Hospital, Harvard Medical School. His research program has focused on finding better molecules for mapping and studying dopamine and cocaine receptors in the brain. Parkinson's Disease (PD) is caused by the degeneration of a set of neurons in the brain that use dopamine as a neurotransmitter. Chemical analogs of cocaine (as well as cocaine itself) are known to inhibit dopamine uptake by binding to cocaine receptors in the brain. Dr. Neumeyer and his co-workers at Northeastern University, Research Biochemicals Inc, and Harvard Medical School developed a radiopharmaceutical that can be used to image and pinpoint sites where dopamine is taken up in the brain. The radiotracer [-123I]-FPCIT (ioflupane, DATscan-) is now a commercially available imaging agent used for the early diagnosis of PD or to monitor the progression of PD in patients.
New Investigator Grant in Pharmaceutics and the Pharmaceutical Technologies- Sponsored by Pfizer Global Research and Development
Seungpyo Hong, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Biopharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago, leads a research group specialized in the use of "Biomimetic Nanotechnology" to discover novel, innovative therapies and methodologies in various medical-related fields, particularly for prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of debilitating diseases such as cancer. Using a unique approach that combines lessons learned from Nature with cutting-edge nanotechnology, he has developed a new strategy to improve the specificity and sensitivity of both drug delivery vehicles and surface capture of target cells. His work has been published and highlighted in high-impact journals such as Nature Nanotechnology, Angewandte Chemie, and Chemical & Engineering News.
AAPS Community Service Award- Sponsored by The University of Colorado/Center for Pharmaceutical Biotechnology
Joseph W. Polli, Ph.D., has received the 2012 AAPS Community Service Award for his service to the Boy Scouts of America Cub Scout Pack 152, Boy Scout Troop 152 and the Crosswinds District located in Cary, North Carolina. Over the past 14 years, he has contributed to the skills and leadership development of more than one hundred young men, provided organizational leadership, developed the high adventure outdoor camping program, and given financial support. Outside of scouting, Dr. Polli is an internationally recognized researcher in membrane transporters and drug development, studying what happens to a drug as it is absorbed and moves throughout the body, and how the body eventually eliminates the drug. Dr. Polli's specialty is to understand the mechanisms controlling how a drug enters the brain. He is a researcher in the Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics Division at GlaxoSmithKline, Inc. located in Research Triangle Park, NC.
Research Achievement Award in Drug Discovery and Development Interface- Sponsored by Allergan
Aleem Gangjee, Ph.D., Professor of Medicinal Chemistry, Mylan School of Pharmacy Distinguished Professor at the Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences at Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, PA. Dr. Gangjee and co-workers have designed and made single drugs that attack cancer cells at two or more sites and thus function as two or more drugs used in highly successful combination cancer chemotherapy. Combining several types of action in single drugs affords the ability to attack cancer cells on several fronts such that it has little or no chance to survive or become resistant to the treatment. These single drugs are more cost effective since they do the work of two or more drugs given separately and allow a reduction of dose and hence are less toxic. The compounds have shown excellent activity in animals with human tumors and have the possibility of human trials for cancer treatment.
Research Achievement Award in Formulation Design and Development- Sponsored by Pfizer Inc.
Mansoor Khan, R.Ph., Ph.D., is a Senior Biomedical Research Scientist (SBRS) and serves as the Director of Product Quality Research in the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) in FDA. Prior to joining FDA in 2004, Dr. Khan was a Professor of Pharmaceutics and Director of Graduate Program in the School of Pharmacy at Texas Tech University. He has earned his Ph.D. degree in Industrial Pharmacy from the St. John's University School of Pharmacy in 1992. He has published over 210 peer-reviewed manuscripts, four texts, 15 book chapters, and has been invited to give more than 150 presentations world-wide. Dr. Khan's research focuses primarily in the area drug formulations design and development of "challenging molecules." It encompasses pediatric dosage forms, nanoparticles, modified release dosage forms, biosimilar characterization, particulate engineering, and scientific underpinnings of Quality by Design utilizing novel Process Analytical Technologies. As the Director of Product Quality Research, Dr. Khan serves as the CDER's principal advisor on all matters related to planning and conducting research to study the impact on product quality, changes in bulk drug substances, formulation component and composition, and manufacturing equipment and processes. As a recognized expert, Dr. Khan participates fully in policy formulation; planning and evaluating programs, including oversight of pharmaceutical science activities to insure that basic and original research are considered in major CDER decisions. He maintains contact with "state of the science" in order to integrate the most advanced research theory or practice in the field of pharmaceutical science into the Center's new, generic, and biotech drug programs. Dr. Khan is an AAPS Fellow, and serves on the editorial board of several leading journals.
Research Achievement Award in Pharmacokinetics, Pharmacodynamics, and Drug Metabolism- Sponsored by Aptalis Pharmaceutical Technologies
Jashvant D. Unadkat, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Pharmaceutics at the University of Washington, studies how drugs are handled by the body - namely how they are absorbed, metabolized, excreted and distributed. Translating findings from the bench to the bedside is a hallmark of his laboratory. Dr. Unadkat's research has shown how to prevent drug interactions and has also provided potential avenues to better treat diseases such as hepatitis C, AIDS and Alzheimer's disease. For example, he developed a novel imaging technique to measure the activity of a transporter that transports beta-amyloid, a peptide that causes Alzheimer's disease, out of the brain. This finding could result in novel ways to treat this disease.
Regulatory Science Achievement Award- Sponsored by Chiron Corporation
Vijay Kumar Tammara, Ph.D., is currently VP, Global Regulatory Affairs at Nuron Biotech Inc., and is an Editor for the Journal, "Clinical Research and Regulatory Affairs". Dr. Tammara received his Ph.D. in Pharmaceutics from the University of Louisiana, Monroe, LA. His research interests include: Regulatory Science with special emphasis on BA/BE, in vitro in vivo correlations, PK/PD relationships, drug-drug Interactions, and pediatric drug development. He is an active member of AAPS, since 1988 and contributed significantly to many of its educational programs. Dr. Tammara is an AAPS Fellow.