(from left to right) Philip Mayeux, Ph.D., Clark Sims, Emily Holthoff and Alex Alund and Edward Sherwood, M.D., Ph.D.
Twenty students made poster presentations as part of the symposium.
June 3, 2014 | Doctoral students pursuing dissertation research projects in pharmacology and toxicology got a chance to display their work May 12 at the first Systems Pharmacology and Toxicology Symposium hosted by the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology in the UAMS College of Medicine.
The symposium was part of a Systems Pharmacology and Toxicology (SPaT) T32 training grant.
“The event gives us a chance to showcase our students,” said Philip Mayeux, Ph.D., SPaT program director. “It’s mostly third-year students who have been taking classes and have limited research experience, so it’s been good for them.”
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 will increase this year from two to four students. The UAMS Translational Research Institute provides support for one additional student each year. Mayeux expects to choose the next class of students in August.
The SPaT program trainees and training faculty are drawn from three doctoral programs: pharmacology, interdisciplinary toxicology and interdisciplinary biomedical sciences. The program trains students to answer questions with an emphasis on metabolism, drug design, pharmacodynamics, pharmacokinetics and signaling. This provides students with a broader perspective on pharmacology and toxicology that better prepares them to be leaders of 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 the three SPaT trainees: Alex Alund, Emily Holthoff and Clark Sims. Alund and Sims are supported by the grant, while Holthoff is supported by the UAMS Translational Research Institute. Twenty students made poster presentations later in the day.
Edward Sherwood, M.D., Ph.D., professor of anesthesiology and vice chair for research at Vanderbilt University, gave the keynote presentation. Sherwood’s lecture focused on his research on sepsis and the systemic inflammatory response syndrome. He and his research group have done extensive work in studying mechanisms of sepsis-induced systemic inflammation and organ injury with emphasis on the roles of natural killer and T lymphocytes.
Mayeux plans to make the symposium an annual event. “The crowd and response we received for the event has been excellent.”