37th Annual Pharmacological Sciences Training Program Symposium Showcases Interdisciplinary Research
The Pharmacological Sciences Training Program (PSTP) at the University of Michigan is a National Institutes of Health funded fellowship that assists students as they work toward PhD degrees through collaboration-driven projects, courses, and events. Every summer, new PSTP trainees are selected from doctoral programs in the College of Pharmacy and Medical School to become leaders in experimental therapeutics. Through PSTP, trainees are given many opportunities to intersect their scientific disciplines and expand their knowledge of the pharmacological sciences. One of these opportunities is the annual PSTP Symposium held in the spring.
Over 140 people attened this year’s PSTP Symposium, which was held on March 31. The event began with a lecture on drug shortages by Dr. Andrew Shuman, assistant professor of otolaryngology at U-M, followed by a seminar on glycoengineering in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries by Dr. John Lowe, senior director of pathology at Genentech.
Over lunch, graduate students from all health science-related programs were then invited to present their research at a poster session, where they received feedback from faculty and post-doctoral student judges. The top three posters were awarded cash prizes at the end of the day. Following the poster session were four student talks, two of which were given by senior PSTP trainees Nathan Scharf, Medicinal Chemistry, and Tyler Beyett, Chemical Biology. The day concluded with a reception to celebrate all the innovative research students are furthering at U-M.
“The Symposium is a great opportunity to discuss your research with other students and faculty in similar fields,” says Nathan Scharf. “I was able to learn from other perspectives and new ideas that I wouldn't have received otherwise. Hearing from Dr. Shuman about the ethical dilemmas of drug shortages was really thought provoking, giving insight into a problem that we often don't give much attention in academia.”
“As a graduate student, it is easy to become so engrossed in your own project that you lose an appreciation for the necessity of synergistic research in drug discovery and development,” explains Brian Thompson, Pharmaceutical Sciences. “This event was personally quite impactful as it enabled me to recognize this critical link between my research area and many others.”
“I like that the PSTP symposium brings together scientists from a variety of departments who all share the common interest of therapeutic action and development,” adds Tyler Beyett, Chemical Biology. “While I didn’t have dinner with the speaker this year, it was a really good experience in past years being able have one-on-one time in a casual setting with some of the most renowned scientists in the field, in my case a couple of years ago, a Nobel laureate.”