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Home > Press > UCSF conference to focus on therapeutics of the future

Some of the leading scientists in bioengineering, nanotechnology and pharmaco-genomics will gather on Tuesday, January 26, 2010 to discuss how to harness the tools of these emerging fields to develop new diagnostics and treatments for complex diseases.

UCSF conference to focus on therapeutics of the future

San Francisco, CA | Posted on January 26th, 2010

The day-long conference will serve as the inaugural symposium for the UCSF Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences and will take place in the William J. Rutter Center on UCSF Mission Bay Campus, at 1675 Owens Street. The conference will begin at 8:00 a.m. and conclude at 4:50 p.m.

"Our goal is to drive the innovation of better, more effective, intelligent therapeutics for patients everywhere," said Kathy Giacomini, PhD, who co-chairs the department with Sarah Nelson, PhD.

"The hope is that this new department and inaugural symposium will help spur new ideas, new directions and new ways of working across academia, industry and government toward that goal," Nelson added.

The symposium marks the one-year anniversary of the first joint department between a school of medicine and a school of pharmacy in the nation. The cross-school collaborations within the new UCSF department are targeted toward addressing the need for a more strategic approach to drug development, better diagnostic tests, a clearer understanding of how patients' genetics influence their response to drugs, and the development of modern therapies to tackle currently incurable diseases such as diabetes and cancer.

The day will showcase key research in the field, including the following:

• How the new understanding of biological networks can help in developing therapeutics that target entire systems to treat complex diseases;

• How the field of genomics is changing what we know about drug transporters and population differences in disease risk and drug response;

• How collaborations between engineers and clinical scientists are contributing to translating laboratory research into real therapies for patients.

A lunchtime panel - moderated by UCSF Chancellor Susan Desmond-Hellmann, MD, MPH, and QB3 Director Regis Kelly, PhD - will explore partnerships between the academic research and industry, and how these partnerships can be improved to help accelerate the pace between therapeutic research and its real-world application.

The department is a union of the former Program in Bioengineering, in the UCSF School of Medicine, and the Department of Biopharmaceutical Sciences, in the UCSF School of Pharmacy, which were joined in January 2009. Many of the department's researchers also are affiliated with the California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences (QB3), an institute headquartered on the UCSF Mission Bay Campus that pulls together biomedical researchers and quantitative scientists - physicists, engineers and computer scientists - at UCSF, UC Berkeley and UC Santa Cruz.

While other universities have combined engineering and medicine, or engineering and pharmacy, into joint departments, none other has created a collaboration focused on speeding the innovations of medicine and medical devices to "intelligent" therapeutics, according to School of Pharmacy Dean Mary Anne Koda-Kimble, PharmD.

"The future of novel therapeutics lies in this junction between pharmacology, engineering, and biology," Koda-Kimble said. "This department and symposium are both signals of how serious we are at UCSF about shaping the future of pharmacy science and of therapeutic medicines."

A complete symposium program, with the day's schedule and backgrounds for each presenter, is available at:


About UCSF School of Medicine
The UCSF School of Medicine has a fourfold mission of education, research, patient care and public service. In spring 2009, “U.S News & World Report” ranked the school fifth nationally both for its research training and its primary care training – the only medical school in the country ranked in the top five in both categories. For more information, please visit

The UCSF School of Pharmacy is the nation’s premier graduate-level school of pharmacy, the oldest pharmacy school in the western U.S., and a wellspring for discovery and innovation in the pharmaceutical sciences, education, and the pharmaceutical care of patients. For more information, please visit

UCSF is a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care. For more information, see

For more information, please click here

Kristen Bole


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