Kazunori Kataoka, Ph.D., professor in the Graduate Schools of Engineering and Medicine at the University of Tokyo and is one of the world’s leading polymer chemists and drug-delivery scientists, presents at the inaugural Carolina Nanoformulation Workshop.
Kazunori Kataoka, Ph.D., professor in the Graduate Schools of Engineering and Medicine at the University of Tokyo and is one of the world’s leading polymer chemists and drug-delivery scientists, presents at the inaugural Carolina Nanoformulation Workshop.

From March 14 to 18, scientists from industry and academia converged on the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy to learn about and to get hands-on experience with the latest advances in nanomedicine at the inaugural Carolina Nanoformulation Workshop.

The workshop is a unique blend of classroom and hands-on training that stresses application and participation. It featured nearly two dozen speakers and two days of seminars for 17 participants followed by three days of practical experience in the laboratories of the School’s Center for Nanotechnology in Drug Delivery.

The goal of the CNW is to provide safe and effective solutions for drug-delivery issues faced by industrial scientists, according to organizer Alexander Kabanov, Ph.D., Dr.Sci., director of the School’s Center for Nanotechnology in Drug Delivery.

“The Carolina Nanoformulation Workshop is not a regular conference but unique training mechanism. There is no training like this in nanomedicine in the country right now,” Kabanov said. “The UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy is reaching out to industrial and academic trainees to teach them to translate the most recent discoveries in nanomedicine to new therapeutics and better patient care.”

The workshop included five lecture blocks with multiple lectures in each block. Interactive learning modules were made available online to the participants prior to the workshop to facilitate active learning and discussion during the onsite sessions. The online content is also made available for six months after the conclusion of the conference.

Kabanov said that he was pleased with the mix of participants. Trainees came from Pfizer, Midatech Pharma, Dubiopharm Research & Manufacturing, SA and Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma Co. At least one clinician also participated with the balance of attendees being made up of students and postdoctoral fellows.

“The reason for the select number of participants is that we go into great in depth and provide two days of theory in the classroom and three days of experience in the lab,” Kabanov said. “We are also using innovative education technology tools first developed and adopted by the School for its Doctor of Pharmacy program.”

Twenty-three speakers addressed and analyzed key issues relevant to industry scientists and presented nanotechnology-based strategies that have been successful in clinical trials. Kabanov highlighted the participation of

  • Kazunori Kataoka, Ph.D., one of the world’s leading polymer chemists and drug-delivery scientists who updated participants on the status of several of the nanomedicines he has created, including those in phase III clinical trials;
  • Rogério Gaspar, Ph.D., vice chancellor at the University of Lisbon and an international expert in regulatory science and affairs of nanomedicines;
  • Anil Patri, Ph.D., chair of the Nanotechnology Task Force at the Food and Drug Administration and directs regulatory science research and standards development; and
  • Peter Senter, Ph.D., vice president of chemistry and a distinguished fellow at Seattle Genetics.

CNW participants received training on a comprehensive body of physicochemical characterization techniques to develop pharmaceutical-grade nanoparticle therapies; thorough analytical characterization of in vivo nanoparticle disposition (biodistribution/pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, PK/PD); and on factors affecting nano delivery to tumors in animal models vs. patients.

The Carolina Nanoformulation workshop is funded by the UNC Eshelman Institute for Innovation. The institute was created by a historic $100 million gift from Fred Eshelman, Pharm.D., and pursues high-risk, high-reward ideas that advance innovation in education, research and health care.

2016 Carolina Nanoformulation Workshop Speakers

Kristy Ainslie, Ph.D., is an associate professor in the School’s Division of Molecular Pharmaceutics whose research expertise includes immune-targeted therapies for the development of vaccines and treatment of autoimmune and infectious diseases.

Valery Alakhov, Ph.D., is the vice president of research and development and chief scientific officer of ReForm Bio Inc. and has published extensively in the areas of oncology, polymer chemistry, drug delivery and nanomedicine in peer-reviewed journals. He is the inventor in more than 100 filed and issued patents in the U.S. and internationally.

Elena Batrakova, Ph.D., is an associate professor in the Division of Molecular Pharmaceutics, and her expertise includes developing cell-mediated delivery systems for antioxidants and neuronal growth factors to attenuate neuroinflammation and produce neuroprotection to treat neurodegenerative diseases.

Tatiana K. Bronich, Ph.D., is a Parke-Davis Professor at the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy and the co-director at the Center for Drug Delivery and Nanomedicine. Her expertise includes self-assembling polymer materials and applications of these materials in nanomedicine.

Pallav Bulsara, Ph.D., is a formulation scientist and senior investigator at GlaxoSmithKline with extensive experience in developing inhaled formulations for investigational, safety assessment and Investigational Medicinal Product Dossier studies.

David Darr, M.S., is the operations director of the Mouse Phase 1 Unit at the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center that facilitates the preclinical development of novel anti-cancer therapeutics in highly faithful genetically engineered murine models of human cancer.

Rogério Gaspar, Ph.D., is a vice chancellor at the University of Lisbon and a full professor in pharmaceutics in the Faculty of Pharmacy who has more than 20 years’ experience in the design and evaluation of nanoparticles and liposomes for drug and gene delivery. He is an international expert in regulatory science and affairs of nanomedicines.

Zhen Gu, Ph.D., is an assistant professor at the Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy and North Carolina State University. His research expertise includes development of novel strategies that apply stimuli-responsive systems for delivering therapeutics in dose-, spatial- and temporal-controlled fashions.

Matthew Haynes is a Ph.D. candidate in the pharmaceutical sciences in the laboratory of Eshelman Distinguished Professor Leaf Huang, Ph.D. His research involves exploiting physical and chemical properties of materials to create novel nanoparticles for systemic and lymphatic drug delivery with current focuses on both cancer therapy and autoimmune suppression.

Anthony Hickey, Ph.D., is a distinguished fellow and a senior research pharmacologist at the Research Triangle Institute and a professor emeritus of the School. Hickey has more than 30 years of academic and research experience in pulmonary biology, aerosol physics, powder dynamics, pharmacokinetics, drug disposition, formulation design and device development.

Shawn D. Hingtgen, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the Division of Molecular Pharmaceutics. His expertise includes development of novel stem cell-based therapies for treating terminal cancers, including brain cancer.

Leaf Huang, Ph.D., is a Fred Eshelman Distinguished Professor in the Division of Molecular Pharmaceutics. He is a pioneer in liposome research and non-viral gene therapy who has made enormous contributions with many of his inventions currently under preclinical testing.

Alexander V. Kabanov, Ph.D., Dr.Sci., is the Mescal S. Ferguson Distinguished Professor at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, director of the CNDD and the co-director of the Carolina Institute for Nanomedicine. He has made very impactful contributions to the field of polymer-based drug and gene delivery.

Kazunori Kataoka, Ph.D., is a professor in the Graduate Schools of Engineering  and Medicine at the University of Tokyo and is one of the world’s leading polymer chemists and drug-delivery scientists who has made several high-impact contributions in developing nanomedicines for clinical applications. Several of his polyion complex-based nanomedicines are currently under clinical trials.

Samuel Lai, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in in the Division of Molecular Pharmaceutics whose research expertise includes development of mucus-penetrating particles for drug delivery.

Christopher Luft, Ph.D., is a research associate professor at UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy and the deputy director of the Carolina Institute for Nanomedicine. He is an expert in PRINT technology for delivery of small molecule and macromolecule drugs.

Matthew Parrott, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the UNC Department of Radiology and Biomedical Research Imaging Center who expertise includes developing new radiochemistry and use of positron emission tomography and single photon emission computed tomography to image cancer.

Anil Patri, Ph.D., is the director of the National Center for Toxicological Research/ORA Nanotechnology Core Facility and the chair of the Nanotechnology Task Force at the Food and Drug Administration and directs regulatory science research and standards development.  He has over 20 years’ experience in nanotechnology, a decade of translational research conducting preclinical assessment of cancer nanomedicines at the Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research.

Peter D. Senter, Ph.D., is the vice president of chemistry and a distinguished fellow at Seattle Genetics. He leads Seattle Genetics’ chemistry department, which carries out research in antibody-drug conjugate technologies, including the development of potent drug payloads, novel linker systems, conjugation methodology and mechanism of action studies.

Marina Sokolsky, Ph.D., is a research assistant professor at UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, member of the CNDD and the director of the UNC Translational Nanoformulation Research Core Facility. Her research interests include remotely actuated theranostic drug-delivery systems using polymer-modified magnetic nanoparticles.

Alexander Tropsha, Ph.D., is the K.H. Lee Distinguished Professor in the division of Chemical Biology and Medicinal Chemistry at UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy. He is an expert in the fields of computational chemistry, cheminformatics and structural bioinformatics who works to develop new methodologies and software tools for computer-assisted drug design.

Andrew Wang, M.D., is an associate professor and director of clinical and translational research in the Department of Radiation Oncology at UNC-Chapel Hill. His expertise includes preclinical development, evaluation and clinical translation of nanoparticle therapeutics to improve cancer management.

William Zamboni, Pharm.D., Ph.D., is the director of UNC GLP Bioanalytical Facility and the director of the Translational Oncology and Nanoparticle Drug Development Initiative Lab at UNC-Chapel Hill. He is also the co-director of the North Carolina Biomedical Innovation Network for GLP toxicology and pharmacology studies of small molecule and nanoparticle agents.

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