May 14, 2015

Symposium Highlights Systems Pharmacology and Toxicology

SPaT Symposium speakers, left to right, Daniel Meeker, Emily Coffman Holthoff, Alex Alund, Gary Peltz, Lascelles Lyn-Cook, Clark Sims and Chuck Hay. Peltz, M.D., Ph.D., a Stanford University professor, was the keynote speaker.

May 14, 2015 | A UAMS doctoral training program barely two years old is already  reaching milestones like hosting its second annual symposium gathering students, faculty and keynote speakers to share findings and research in systems pharmacology and toxicology.

Doctoral students pursuing dissertation research projects in pharmacology and toxicology had a chance to display their work May 7 at the second annual Systems Pharmacology and Toxicology (SPaT) Symposium hosted by the UAMS College of Medicine’s Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology.

The symposium was part of a Systems Pharmacology and Toxicology (SPaT) T32 training grant, which is in the second year of a five-year grant funding period. SPaT is funded by a grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS). It was awarded to the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology in 2013 and provided support for two students in the first year. The number of students supported by the grant increased this year to four students.

Symposium attendees examine some of the research posters on display at the event.

“This year was especially exciting because all six of our trainees gave oral presentations,” said Philip Mayeux, Ph.D., SPaT program director. “They really showcased the outstanding and cutting-edge research coming out of our program.”

Program trainees and training faculty in the SPaT program are drawn from three doctoral programs: pharmacology, interdisciplinary toxicology and interdisciplinary biomedical sciences. The program trains students to explore the molecular mechanisms underlying the working of drugs and chemicals and, equipped with a broader perspective, prepares them to lead multi-disciplinary research teams.

The training faculty includes more than 30 faculty members from the UAMS Colleges of Medicine, Public Health and Pharmacy; Arkansas Children’s Hospital, and the National Center for Toxicological Research (NCTR).

The symposium included oral presentations from SPaT trainees: Alex Alund, Chuck Hay, Lascelles Lyn-Cook, Daniel Meeker, Clark Sims and Emily Holthoff. Eleven students made poster presentations later in the day.

The featured speaker was Gary Peltz, M.D., Ph.D. a professor of anesthesiology and perioperative and pain medicine at Stanford University.

Philip Mayeux, Ph.D., SPaT program director at UAMS, takes a moment to visit with Gary Peltz during a break in the symposium schedule.

“Having Dr. Gary Peltz meet with our trainees and deliver the keynote address was very special,” Mayeux said. “Dr. Peltz is internationally recognized for his research, which is transforming the way drug discoveries are made.”

Peltz’s lecture focused on computational genetics and translational discovery. His laboratory develops and uses state of the art genomic methods to identify genetic factors affecting disease susceptibility and to translate these findings into new treatment paradigms.