UA Centers Partner to Present Discovering New Medicines in Arizona Summit

The Arizona Center for Drug Discovery and the University of Arizona Cancer Center to host Oct. 2 summit in Phoenix to discuss new innovations in drug discovery that will benefit citizens throughout the state and beyond.
"Together, we can transform patient care and revolutionize treatment throughout our state."

The Arizona Center for Drug Discovery and the University of Arizona Cancer Center will host a one-day summit, “Discovering New Medicines in Arizona,” at the Phoenix Biomedical Campus on Wednesday, Oct. 2.

The summit will take place in the Health Sciences Education Building (HSEB) and the Phoenix Biomedical Sciences Partnership Building, 475 N. Fifth St., from 7:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. It will highlight key areas of research seeking to discover effective drug candidates to treat diseases prevalent in Arizona, while establishing collaborations that enable success for future research and discoveries. Registration is required to attend.

“Drug discovery is a strength at the University of Arizona Health Sciences,” said Rick G. Schnellmann, PhD, dean and Howard J. Schaeffer endowed chair in pharmaceutical sciences at the UA College of Pharmacy. “The UA summit speakers have international reputations and the diseases they study are ones that most impact Arizona citizens. This summit showcases what we are capable of accomplishing at the UA Health Sciences in drug discovery across interdisciplinary units.”

The UA Health Sciences has seen several successful drug discovery spin-offs in recent years. Examples include DesertDx, a molecular diagnostic company, Reglagene, a company that discovers new medicines to fight cancer, and Regulonix, which develops non-opioid drugs to treat chronic pain.

The conference will begin by showcasing examples of drug discovery already occurring at the UA Health Sciences, followed by a deeper discussion into new drug possibilities. Five topics will be addressed in morning plenary sessions, including:

“Diseases of Aging in Neurosciences,” by Roberta Brinton, PhD, director, Center for Innovation in Brain Science

“Drug Development in Cancer Prevention and Treatment: E Pluribus Unum,” by Julie Bauman, MD, MPH, chief, Division of Hematology and Oncology; deputy director, UA Cancer Center; co-leader, Therapeutic Development Program

“Pain: Chronic Treatments to Replace Opioids,” by Todd Vanderah, PhD, professor, UA College of Medicine – Tucson

“Lung Diseases,” by Monica Kraft, MD, professor and chair, UA College of Medicine – Tucson

“Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome,” by Lawrence Mandarino, PhD, director, UA Center for Disparities in Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism

Afternoon breakout sessions will focus on critical areas for new drug discovery, including diseases of aging in neurosciences, cancer research, airway diseases and pain. An external panel discussion, which includes speakers from investment firms, including Mara Aspinall, BlueStone Venture, Michael Sember, Desert Angels, and Jinzhu “Cookie” Yu, PhD, Pappas Capital, will conclude the event. These venture capitalists will provide insight to conference attendees around how investment firms fund drug discovery projects and what they look for in academic partners.

Confirmed Speakers

Julie Bauman, MD, MPH, Chief, Division of Hematology & Oncology; Deputy Director, University of Arizona Cancer Center; Co-Leader, Therapeutic Development Program
Scott Boitano, PhD, Professor, College of Medicine - Tucson
Roberta Brinton, PhD, Director, Center for Innovation in Brain Science
Jennifer Carew, PhD, Co-Director, Hematologic Malignancy Disease Team, UA Cancer Center
Rui Chang, PhD, Associate Professor, College of Medicine - Tucson
Louise Hecker, PhD, Associate Professor, College of Medicine - Tucson
May Khanna, PhD, Assistant Professor, College of Medicine - Tucson
Monica Kraft, MD, Professor and Chair, College of Medicine - Tucson
Julie Ledford, PhD, Associate Professor, College of Medicine - Tucson
Larry Mandarino, PhD, Director, UA Center for Disparities in Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism
Timothy Marlowe, PhD, Director, Molecular Analysis Core, College of Medicine - Phoenix
Laurent Martin, Postdoctoral Research Associate, College of Medicine - Tucson
Kathleen Rodgers, PhD, Associate Director, Translational Neuroscience, Center for Innovations in Brain Science, Professor, Pharmacology
John Streicher, phD, Assistant Professor, College of Medicine - Tucson
Todd Vanderah, PhD, Professor, College of Medicine - Tucson
Michael Worobey, PhD, Department Head, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology

The summit will be held prior to the AZBio Awards, an annual celebration of the best of Arizona’s biosciences industry. Two UA leaders, Marti Lindsey, PhD, and Monica Kraft, MD, will be honored at the event, which will be held at the Phoenix Convention Center at 4 p.m.

“This summit exemplifies the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration as we develop innovative drugs to treat difficult diseases afflicting people across Arizona,” said Julie Bauman, MD, MPH, deputy director of the UA Cancer Center. “I am excited to present alongside researchers and physicians who are leaders in their fields. Together, we can transform patient care and revolutionize treatment throughout our state.”  

Download the Agenda


Contact: Alli Benjamin, APR, | 520-626-3389