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American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists, Rocky Mountain Discussion Group is just around the corner, and we are so excited for you to see what’s in store. We’ve brought together a unique and inspiring group of speakers, with a schedule full of engaging events and networking meetups. Don’t miss out!

Home: Welcome


Conference begins at 10AM PDT / 11AM MDT

 10:00 AM 


10:05 AM-10:45 AM

Keynote Talk

Why Diversity in Research Matters – Findings from the NWA-PGRN that Inform the Precision Medicine Agenda 

Kenneth Thummel, UW, Seattle

10:50 AM - 11:20 AM

PharmVar and the Landscape of PGx Resources for Research and Clinical Implementation 

Andrea Gaedigk, CMH, Kansas City

11:25 AM - 11:55 AM

Challenges to Precision Medicine from Natural Products

John Clarke, WSU, Spokane

12:00 PM - 12:30 PM

Translational PK-ADME-DDI Science in the Age of Biomarkers & Liquid Biopsy

David Rodrigues, Pfizer, Groton

12:35 PM  - 1:30 PM

Career development discussion with the speakers

Lead by David Rodrigues

1:35 PM - 2:30 PM

Student Presentations

2:30 PM

Closing Remarks

Home: Schedule

Our Speakers

We’re proud to feature a list of prominent speakers who are at the forefront of their fields. These professionals are always eager to share their knowledge and inspire others. Don’t miss out - register today.


Andrea Gaedigk

Dr. Gaedigk is a Professor of Pediatrics at the Children’s Mercy Research Institute in Kansas City where she directs the Pharmacogenetics Core Laboratory in the Division of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutic Innovation. Her work focuses on variation in pharmacogenes in diverse adult and pediatric populations in clinical and basic research which has led to over 215 peer-reviewed publications. She is also directing the Pharmacogene Variation Consortium and closely works with the Pharmacogenomics KnowledgeBase and the Clinical Pharmacogenetics Implementation Consortium to promote the implementation of pharmacogenetics into clinical practice. Finally, Dr Gaedigk is a collaborator on many internal, national, and international research projects.  


David Rodrigues

David has been in the pharmaceutical industry for 31 years and currently holds the title of Senior Scientific Director as head of Drug Transporter & ADME Biomarker Sciences at Pfizer (Groton, CT, USA).  Before joining Pfizer in 2014, he spent productive periods at US-based G. D. Searle and Abbott Labs (Chicago, IL), Merck (West Point, PA) and Bristol-Myers Squibb (Lawrenceville, NJ).  During that time, he served on both scientific (Associate Research Fellow, Senior Research Fellow) and managerial (Director, Senior Director, Executive Director) ladders.

He has authored 181 peer-reviewed manuscripts, nearly two dozen book chapters and presented at >90 venues (scientific symposia/webinars).  David has also served on the editorial boards of various DMPK-related journals (e.g., Current Drug Metabolism, Drug Metabolism Letters, Xenobiotica, Drug Metabolism & Disposition).  In addition, he has edited/co-edited three textbooks related to drug interactions and one on the topic of drug metabolism.  At the present time, he serves as adjunct professor at the College of Pharmacy (University of Rhode Island, RI), is on the Advisory Board of the College of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences (Washington State University, WA), and is member of the International Transporter Consortium (ITC).  In 2009, David was inducted as Fellow of The American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS).  He is the recipient of the 2021 Distinguished Accomplishments in Drug Discovery & Development Award bestowed by the International Society for the Study of Xenobiotics (ISSX).


John Clarke

Dr. Clarke is an Assistant Professor at the Washington State University Health Sciences campus in Spokane, WA. He received his B.S. in Biology from Brigham Young University-Idaho and his Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Biology from Oregon State University. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the department of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the University of Arizona with Dr. Nathan Cherrington. His research interests and expertise are focused on elucidating the mechanisms of inter-individual variability in xenobiotic metabolism, disposition, and toxicity. This includes research with environmental contaminants and pharmaceuticals. He has extensive experience working with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and natural product-drug interactions. He has been funded through the Department of Defense, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, and the National Center for Complimentary and Integrative Health.


Kenneth Thummel

Kenneth Thummel received his Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Science from the University of Washington in 1987 and completed a post-doctoral fellowship in Pharmacology at the University of Connecticut Health Science Center. In 1989, he was appointed to the University of Washington School of Pharmacy faculty, promoted to the rank of Professor in 2001 and was Chairman of the Department of Pharmaceutics between 2006 - 2019. He currently holds the title of Professor of Pharmaceutics. 

 Dr. Thummel’s research interests include the elucidation of genetic, hormonal and environmental factors that contribute to interindividual differences in xenobiotic biotransformation, in particular, intestinal cytochrome P450 3A-mediated first-pass drug metabolism, as well as gene x diet modifiers of drug response in Alaska Native and American Indian people.

Dr. Thummel is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET), and the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS). He is the recipient of the Rawls-Palmer Progress in Medicine Award from the American Society for Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics and the Bernard B. Brodie Award from the ASPET Drug Metabolism and Disposition Division, and is a Past-President of ASPET.

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Student Speakers


Christine S. Nervig

Dual-Drug Antibody-Drug Conjugates for Potentiated Therapy

Antibody drug conjugates (ADCs) are touted for their ability to site-selectively deliver potent chemotherapeutics directly to tumor sites and minimize off-target toxicity. To date, 11 ADCs have been approved and hundreds more are in clinical pipelines. Despite increasing success, ADCs are still limited by challenges with internalization, drug release, and resistance. We posit that conjugating two distinct payloads to the same antibody with differing mechanisms of action can significantly improve efficacy of an ADC compared to the mono-drug variant. We have synthesized a library of mono- and dual-drug ADCs via a modular strategy for drug conjugation that allows for facile optimization of drug placement, ratio, and overall drug to antibody ratio (DAR). Drugs and linkers are chosen based on potency, potential for complementary mechanisms of action or increased ADC internalization, and compatibility with synthetic strategy. We show that dual-drug ADCs have improved efficacy in vitro over single-drug conjugates. Construction and evaluation of these ADCs has the field-shifting potential to demonstrate synergistic benefits of combination therapies for hard-to-treat cancers.


Noah Powers

Next generation vaccines: TLR7/8 agonist self-adjuvanted anti-fentanyl vaccine enhances protection from fentanyl challenge

Overdose deaths due to illegal synthetic opioid use has expanded to epidemic levels.  Currently approved therapies and overdose reversal agents have failed to slow the spread of opioid use disorders as exemplified by the 31% increase in overdose deaths between 2019 and 2022, many of which involved fentanyl and fentanyl analogues.  Vaccines have been studied as a potential alternative or combination therapy for the treatment of several substance use disorders (nicotine, heroin), but have shown limited success due to sub-optimal adjuvant formulations failing to drive strong responses for long-lasting protection.  In this study, we demonstrate that co-conjugation of Toll-like receptor 7/8 (TLR7/8) agonist UM-3006 alongside a fentanyl hapten (F1) on the surface of an immunogenic carrier protein cross-reactive material 197 (CRM) significantly increased generation of high-affinity hapten-specific antibodies as well as enhanced protection of mice from high dose fentanyl challenge relative to an un-conjugated (admix) control.  In combination with aluminum salt (alum) adjuvant antibody responses were further increased, demonstrating the greatest protection of mice from fentanyl challenge to support further investigation of TLR agonist co-conjugates for study in anti-opioid vaccines.


Sheena Sharma

Polymorphic UGT2B17 is involved in intestinal and hepatic first-pass metabolism of dimethandrolone: Implication for precision clinical trials

Dimethandrolone undecanoate (DMAU), an oral investigational male hormonal contraceptive is a prodrug, which is rapidly converted in vivo to its active metabolite, dimethandrolone (DMA). Poor and variable oral bioavailability of DMA are critical challenges affecting its potential success as an oral drug. The objectives of our study were to i) elucidate the mechanisms of variable pharmacokinetics of the active metabolite (DMA) in vitro and in vivo, and ii) integrate the data into a physiologically-based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) model for proposing precision clinical trials. The high-resolution mass spectrometry analysis of in vitro hepatocyte incubations and in vivo human serum samples revealed glucuronidation as the major pathway of DMA biotransformation. The in vitro screening results confirmed that UDP glucuronosyltransferase 2B17 (UGT2B17), plays a key role in metabolizing DMA to DMA-glucuronide. Since human UGT2B17 is a highly variable enzyme with a 20 to 80% gene deletion frequency, the effect of UGT2B17 genetic variation on DMA metabolism after oral administration could lead to high inter-individual variability. The developed PBPK model integrated with UGT2B17 variability data suggests stratification of human subjects based on UGT2B17 genotype or biomarker as a potential approach for the safer and effective development of oral DMAU.


Letícia Salvador Vieira

Analysis of Monoamine and Organic Cation Transporter Expression in Neuroblastoma and Relationship with Overall Survival

Neuroblastoma (NB) is a neuroendocrine cancer most prevalent in children, with high-risk NB patients facing poor prognosis and long-term survival below 50%.  Although amplification of the proto-oncogene MYCN is a well-established risk factor in NB, identification of other prognosis markers is important, especially for high-risk patients without MYCN amplification.  The majority of NB tumors express the norepinephrine transporter (NET), a solute carrier (SLC) monoamine transporter known to play an important role in targeting of radiopharmaceuticals used in diagnosis and treatment of NB.  However, little is currently known about the expression of other functionally related SLC transporters in NB.  In this talk, I will present how we used data mined from the TARGET database to investigate the expression of monoamine and organic cation transporters in NB tumor samples and how we further explored the potential association of transporter expression with overall survival in NB patients with and without MYCN amplification.

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Christi Cho

Characterizing CYP2J2 and the altered arachidonic acid pathway in clear cell renal cell carcinoma

CYP2J2 is a drug metabolizing enzyme predominately expressed in the heart and kidney among other extrahepatic tissue. CYP2J2 is also one of the major enzymes involved in the epoxidation of arachidonic acid to four regioisomers of epoxyeicosatrienoic acids (EETs). The function of EETs is multifaceted and they have been shown to be anti-inflammatory modulators and promotors of tumor angiogenesis. While the role of CYP2J2 mediated promotion of neoplasms has previously been reported, a huge gap in knowledge remains for the role of CYP2J2 and EETs in tumorigenesis. This present study aims to elucidate and characterize the role of CYP2J2 mediated EETs in the progression of clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC) while investigating EETs mediated protection against the first line of treatment, tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI), induced cardiotoxicity.

Home: Team Members

RMDG Steering Committee 2020-2022

Bhagwat Prasad, PhD
Casey Sayre, PharmD, PhD
Deepa Rao, PhD
Erica Woodahl, PhD
Joseph Rower, PhD
Joe Zolnerciks, PhD
John Clarke, PhD
John Harrelson, PhD
Jonathan Constance, PhD
Kathleen Job, PhD
Lisa Davis, PharmD
Michael Espiritu, PhD
Melanie Joy, PharmD, PhD
Pavan Muttil, PhD
Randy Adachi, PhD
Yvonne Lin, PhD

Meeting Host

Bhagwat Prasad, PhD

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Our Sponsors

We are grateful to our sponsors who have helped the RMDG to sustain scientific programming of the highest quality for the past years and many more to come!

  • West Pharmaceuticals

  • University of Montana

  • University of Utah, Department of Pediatrics, Clinical Pharmacology

  • Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Science, University of Colorado

  • University of New Mexico, College of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences

  • University of Washington

  • Sekisui Xenotech

  • Biomedical & Pharmaceutical Sciences

  • Daikyo

  • Seattle Genetics

  • Promega

  • Hertz

  • Solvo Biotechnology

  • Roseman University of Health Sciences

  • Nelson Laboratories

  • Vitro Biopharma

  • Activis

  • PharmaClean Group

  • Impact Analytical

  • WordCraft

  • Wasatch Scientific

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RMDG Past Meetings

Advances and Innovation in Respiratory Drug Delivery

December 10, 2021

Keynote Speaker: Heidi Mansour, PhD, RPh
Salt Lake City, UT  (Virtual)

Pharmaceutical Science in the Next Decade: Pioneering Advances in Human Health

November 13, 2020

Keynote Speaker: Hamid Ghandehari, PhD 
Salt Lake City, Utah (virtual)

Exploring Biological and Mechanistic Variability in Pharmaceutical Discovery

July 26-27, 2019

Keynote Speaker: Emily Scott, PhD 
Portland, Oregon

Expanding the Frontiers of Pharmaceutical Sciences

June 12-13, 2018

Seattle, Washington

Insights from the Past...Shaping the Future: Research at the Intersection of Pharmaceutics & Toxicology

September 20-22, 2017

Keynote Speakers: Anthony J. Hickey, PhD and Lois D. Lehman-McKeeman, PhD
Albuquerque, New Mexico

Addressing Health Challenges through Research in Pharmaceutical Science

August 5-6, 2016

Keynote Speaker: Leslie Benet, PhD
Las Vegas, Nevada

Pharmaceutical Sciences: From Discovery to Translation

September 23, 2015

Breckenridge, Colorado

Advancing Pharmaceutical Science to Improve Health

August 13, 2014

Missoula, Montana

Perspectives in Translational and Clinical Researchium

August 5, 2013

Salt Lake City, Utah

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