Quantitative Systems Pharmacology Symposium


The Quantitative Systems Pharmacology Symposium (QSP), launched in 2017, brings together QSP scientists to discuss contemporary approaches, including the challenges and opportunities for advancing the science and practice of QSP. In addition, it seeks to identify potential opportunities to collaborate and enable synergy with SUNY-wide researchers, as well as industrial and government partners.

Quantitative systems pharmacology (QSP) is an emerging approach to integrate information across multiple organizational scales; it represents “an approach to translational medicine that combines computational and experimental methods to elucidate, validate, and apply new pharmacological concepts to the development and use of small molecule- and biologic drugs” [1]. Accordingly, systems pharmacology models focus on the dynamic interplay among the constituents of larger-scale systems that together manifest as emergent properties. A systems approach to pharmacological therapy will “create the knowledge needed to change complex cellular networks in a specified way with mono or combination therapy, alter the pathophysiology of disease so as to maximize therapeutic benefit and minimize toxicity, and implement a ‘precision medicine’ approach to improving the health of individual patients” [1].

1. Sorger, P.K., et al. Quantitative and systems pharmacology in the postgenomic era: New approaches to discovering and understanding therapeutic drugs and mechanisms. An NIH White Paper from the QSP Workshop Group.  (http://www.nigms.nih.gov/Training/Documents/SystemsPharmaWPSorger2011.pdf, 2011).

2017 QSP Symposium Agenda

Time Session Title
Speaker Name

8:00 a.m.

Registration and Continental Breakfast


8:30 a.m.

Welcome and Introductory Remarks

Donald Mager, PhD
Professor Pharmaceutical Sciences, University at Buffalo

8:45 a.m.

Towards Systems Pharmacology for Cancer Precision Medicine

Marc Birtwistle, PhD
Associate Professor, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Clemson University

9:30 a.m.

Using systems pharmacology to extrapolate from current therapeutic strategies to novel targets in autoimmune disease

Craig Thalhauser, PhD
Senior Principal Scientist, Quantitative Clinical Pharmacology
Bristol-Myers Squibb Company

10:15 a.m.

Networking and Coffee Break


10:45 a.m.

An Open Pitch for Open Science in QSP: Advocating By Example

Matthew M. Riggs, PhD
Chief Science Officer
Metrum Research Group LLC


11:30 a.m.

Systems Modeling to Support Drug Discovery and Development for the Treatment of Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

Cynthia J. Musante, PhD
Research Fellow / QSP Lab Head
Internal Medicine Research Unit
Pfizer Worldwide Research & Development

12:15 p.m.



1:15 p.m.

A QSP Perspective on Identifying Altered Intercellular Signaling Networks In Cancer

David Klinke, PhD
Associate Professor, Chemical Engineering
West Virginia University

2:00 p.m.

Entrainment and synchronization of circadian rhythms

Ioannis (Yannis) P. Androulakis, PhD
Professor, Biomedical and Chemical & Biochemical Engineering
Rutgers University
2:45 p.m. Networking and Coffee Break  
3:15 p.m. A Quantitative Systems Pharmacology Approach to Antibody-Drug Conjugate Design Greg M. Thurber, PhD
Assistant Professor
Chemical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering
University of Michigan
4:00 p.m. Closing Remarks and Adjournment  
5:00 p.m. Poster Session and Reception  

2017 QSP Symposium Speaker Bios

Dr. Ioannis (Yannis) P. Androulakis

Dr. Ioannis (Yannis) P. Androulakis is a Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, the Department of Chemical & Biochemical Engineering and holds an Adjunct faculty position in the Department of Surgery at the Rutgers-RWJ Medical School. His research focuses on quantitative systems biology and pharmacology of inflammation with special emphasis on the interactions between the circadian, cell cycle and immune systems. He was recently elected Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering. His research has been funded by the NIH, EPA, NSF and ONR. Prof. Androulakis hold a BS degree from NTUA, Athens, Greece and MS/PhD from Purdue University, all in Chemical Engineering. He was a Research Associate at Princeton University and prior to joining Rutgers he was with ExxonMobil's Corporate Strategic Research Laboratories in NJ.

Dr. Marc R. Birtwistle

Dr. Marc R. Birtwistle is an Associate Professor in the department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Clemson University. He earned a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Georgia Tech and his PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of Delaware. Previous positons include: Postdoc--Cell, Molecular and Systems Biology, Beatson Institute for Cancer Research and University College Dublin (Walter Kolch); and Assistant Professor, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Dept. of Pharmacological Sciences. The Birtwistle Lab combines computational and experimental methods to understand how cancer cells make decisions. Particular focus is given to brain tumors, though approaches can be applied to a multitude of cell and cancer types. Their goal is to build simulation models that can guide patient-specific therapies by accounting for mechanisms of drug action within the unique complexity of an individual’s tumor.

Dr. David J. Klinke II

David J. Klinke II is an Associate Professor of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering at West Virginia University. In addition to his position in Chemical and Biomedical Engineering, he is a member of the WVU Cancer Institute and an Associate Professor of Microbiology, Immunology, and Cell Biology in the WVU School of Medicine. He graduated summa cum laude with a B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering from Virginia Tech. He earned his Masters and PhD in Chemical Engineering from Northwestern University, where his research focus was on developing computational tools for analyzing complex reaction networks. From 1999 until joining WVU in 2006, he developed mathematical models of disease for one of the commercial pioneers in the emerging field of quantitative and systems pharmacology. Upon returning to academia, he developed a research program that integrates both mechanistic mathematical modeling and simulation and wet experimental studies to address outstanding problems in cancer immunology and cellular signal transduction.  To support his on-going work, he received a CAREER award from the National Science Foundation and grants from NCI and NIAID at NIH, NSF, and the PhRMA Foundation.  

Dr. Craig Thalhauser

Dr. Cynthia J. (C.J.) Musante is a Research Fellow and Quantitative Systems Pharmacology (QSP) Lab Head in Pfizer’s Internal Medicine Research Unit. She earned a PhD in Applied Mathematics from North Carolina State University and has over seventeen years of experience in QSP modeling, the last seven with Pfizer and previously with the systems modeling company, Entelos Inc. At Pfizer, her lab is responsible for developing and implementing mechanistic models and disease platforms to enhance the robustness and quality of decision-making on both the program- and IMRU therapeutic strategy level. CJ is an advocate for quantitative modeling approaches both within and outside of Pfizer. She currently serves as Co-Chair of the IQ Consortium Clinical Pharmacology QSP Working Group, is a member of the Board of Directors of the International Society of Pharmacometrics (ISoP), and was the first Chair of ISoP’s QSP Special Interest Group.

Dr. Matthew Riggs

Dr. Matthew Riggs is the Chief Science Officer at Metrum Research Group LLC and also leads Metrum's Systems Pharmacology group. He has been with MetrumRG for over 12 years. Dr. Riggs' research efforts concentrate on the development and integration of pharmacometrics and systems pharmacology quantitative models for question-focused drug development. Matthew is a registered pharmacist. He received his B.S. in Pharmacy, Magna Cum Laude and with distinction, and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Connecticut School of Pharmacy. He completed a post-doctoral fellowship at GloboMax LLC (now ICON Development Solutions) and was an Associate Director and Clinical Pharmacology Team Leader at Pfizer Global Research and Development prior to joining MetrumRG. He has served as chair of the AAPS System Pharmacology Focus Group and ASCPT Systems Pharmacology Community, and is also active within the ISoP QSP SIG.

Dr. Craig Thalhauser

Dr. Craig Thalhauser is a Quantitative Systems Pharmacology (QSP) scientist leading efforts in mechanistic modeling of autoimmune diseases and other aspects of immunology and inflammation.  Prior to joining Bristol-Myers Squibb in 2014, Craig worked as a mathematical modeler at Immunetrics, Inc, a biosimulation technology company focused on mechanistic models of inflammation.  Craig holds an MS in cellular physiology from Tufts University and a PhD in mathematics from Arizona State University.


Dr. Greg M. Thurber

Dr. Greg M. Thurber is an Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Michigan. His work focuses on applying fundamental biotransport principles to design novel therapeutics and molecular imaging agents. These widely applicable techniques have found use in the Thurber laboratory in diverse projects ranging from self-administration of near-infrared molecular imaging agents for early disease detection to the modular design of stabilized alpha helices using bioorthogonal chemistry. Some of the concepts for monoclonal antibodies have found recent applications in designing improved antibody-drug conjugates for cancer therapy. Prof. Thurber received his training in protein therapeutics at MIT under the guidance of Dr. Dane Wittrup. He completed his in vivo training in molecular imaging in the laboratory of Dr. Ralph Weissleder at Mass General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. Since joining the faculty at Michigan, he has delivered over 15 invited talks at major pharmaceutical companies, national and international conferences, and university departmental seminars. He and his students have also presented their interdisciplinary work at chemistry, chemical engineering, and pharmaceutical science conferences. Prof. Thurber has authored 30 peer-reviewed journal publications, 3 book chapters, and numerous conference proceedings. He has received several awards including an NIH K01 award and the National Science Foundation CAREER award.