The UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy hosted the 12th annual Chapel Hill Pharmaceutical Sciences Conference on June 4, focused on the interface between drug delivery and the microbiome.
Over 100 attendees gathered at the William and Ida Friday Center in Chapel Hill for the conference.
Speakers included faculty from the School and from UNC’s chemistry, microbiology and biomedical engineering programs, as well as faculty from other universities, including Duke University, N.C. State University, the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Colorado Boulder. Experts from the private sector also lectured at the conference, and students and postdoctoral researchers from UNC, North Carolina State University and Duke University gave poster presentations.
The microbiome — the community of microorganisms living in the human body —plays an important role in health, disease, and the management of different diseases. New therapeutics that focus on perturbing or harnessing the microbiome for treating disease are being developed, said Aaron Anselmo, Ph.D., an assistant professor of pharmacoengineering and molecular pharmaceutics at the School and a co-organizer of the conference.
“By increasing interactions between pharmaceutical scientists, microbiologists and engineers and fostering research at the intersection of these topics, we will foster collaborative research between investigators,” Anselmo said. “Scientists in the Research Triangle have a great opportunity to become leaders in this field because of the strong presence of academic and industry research that is focused on drug delivery and on the microbiome. The PharmSci conference provides a forum to showcase that research.”
The conference was broken into five sessions: “Probiotics,” “Engineering the Microbiome,” “Infections,” “Industry Perspective” and “Immunotherapies and the Microbiome.”
Along with Anselmo, the conference was organized by Sam Lai, Ph.D., associate professor of Pharmacoengineering and Molecular Pharmaceutics at the School, and David Zaharoff, Ph.D., associate professor in the UNC/N.C. State Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering.
Support for the conference was provided by the UNC Research Opportunities Initiative, the North Carolina Biotechnology Center and the open access journal “Bioengineering & Translational Medicine.”