The objective of this program is to train pharmaceutical scientists to handle the development of products arising from biotechnology research (i.e., therapeutic drugs and vaccines). Due to the difficulty and complex nature of developing biotechnology-derived drugs, it is necessary to train a new "breed" of pharmaceutical scientists who can respond to the need for interdisciplinary approaches for the advancement of biological, chemical, and pharmaceutical sciences by integrating mathematics, physics, biology, molecular biology, and chemistry to solve difficult problems in designing therapeutic agents of the future. This new type of scientist could also be employed in academic institutions to expand the educational training of future pharmaceutical biotechnology scientists. This training program has been in existence for 26 years with 37 faculty mentors and eight students will be in the training program. There are three major areas of research in this training program: (1) the traditional "pharmaceutics" area that includes formation, analysis, and delivery, (2) the protein structure and bioinformatics area, and (3) the vaccine stabilization and formulation area. The 37 faculty mentors are from various departments (e.g., Chemistry, Medicinal Chemistry, Mechanical Engineering, Molecular Biosciences, and Pharmaceutical Chemistry, etc.) and Centers (Adams Institute for Bioanalytical Chemistry, Bioengineering and Bioinformatics Centers). The Steering Committee oversees all aspects of the Biotechnology Training Program;Drs. Siahaan and Volkin serve as the PI and Co-PI of the program, respectively. The students will be selected from a pool of applicants that are nominated by the faculty mentors from the participating departments. The Steering Committee will select the trainees from the nominated students each year. The trainees have to take required and elective courses for the training program including a course on responsible conduct in research. The students are also required to do 3-6 months industrial internship. The students'progress will be monitored in quarterly meetings and annual KU retreat. The trainees organize the Joint CU-KU Symposia, which is a joint symposium with the Biotechnology Training Program at the University of Colorado. The trainees will be supported by the training program for a maximum of two years. The alumni of this program who have been working for five years in industry and academia will be invited to present their research at the yearly KU retreat as well as to provide feedback on the training program.

Public Health Relevance

The mission of the training program is to produce future scientists that will work in the area of pharmaceutical biotechnology to support development of biotechnology products (i.e., therapeutic drugs and vaccines) for improving human health in US and globally.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institutional National Research Service Award (T32)
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Gerratana, Barbara
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University of Kansas Lawrence
Schools of Pharmacy
United States
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