2018 Quantitative Systems Pharmacology Symposium

Pharmaceutical Sciences: In Pursuit of Excellence 
In Memory of Dr. Gerhard Levy

Thursday, July 26, 2018
8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
190 Kapoor Hall
University at Buffalo South Campus

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Symposium Overview

Our Quantitative Systems Pharmacology Symposium brings together QSP scientists to discuss contemporary approaches, including the challenges and opportunities for advancing the science and practice of QSP.

In addition, we seek 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).


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.

Qualification, Verification, Validation - Are we talking the same language?

Amin Rostami-Hodjegan, PhD, FCP, FAAPS, FJSSX
Professor of Systems Pharmacology, Co-Director of CAPKR, University of Manchester

9:30 a.m.

Quantitative Systems Pharmacology to Support Early Clinical Trials in Cancer Immunotherapy

Benjamin Ribba, PhD
Scientist, Roche Pharma Research

10:15 a.m.

Networking and Coffee Break


10:45 a.m.

Transit compartment and delay models: what can we learn from generic modelling approaches to granulopoiesis and myelosuppression?

Morgan Craig, PhD
Assistant Professor, Mathematics and Statistics, Université de Montréal

11:30 a.m.

Systems Pharmacology approaches allow for the prioritization of drug safety experiments and improved identification of cardiotoxic drugs

Eric Sobie, PhD
Associate Professor, Pharmacological Sciences, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

12:15 p.m.



1:15 p.m.

Simunno-Oncology:  Pathophysiology-based decision making in the age of immuno-oncology

Brian Topp, PhD
Principal Scientist, Merck

2:00 p.m.

Integration of Genome Scale Metabolic Networks with Physiologically Based Pharmacokinetics

Andrzej Kierzek, PhD
Head, Systems Modelling (QSP), Certara, Sheffield 
2:45 p.m. Networking and Coffee Break  
3:15 p.m. Reprogramming QSP with Epigenetic & Cell State Concepts James Gallo, PharmD, PhD
Empire Innovation Professor, Pharmaceutical Sciences, University at Buffalo  
4:00 p.m. Closing Remarks and Adjournment  

Speaker Bios


Morgan Craig is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at the Université de Montréal. She received his PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the Faculty of Pharmacy at the Université de Montréal, and was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Program for Evolutionary Dynamics at Harvard University from 2016-2018. Her research focus is mechanistic mathematical models of physiological systems combined with drug models with the goal of optimizing treatment strategies. Current projects include various studies of hematopoietic stem cell and neutrophil dynamics in health and disease, and PBPK/PD models of antiretroviral drugs to support the design of a novel sustained-release delivery device for improved HIV treatment design and HIV cure strategies. She was an NSERC postdoctoral fellow and was recently awarded an NSERC Discovery Grant.


James Gallo, PhD, is the Empire Innovation Professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University at Buffalo. The Gallo lab focuses on brain tumor drug therapy and employs systems pharmacology approaches to derive QSP models at the cell and molecular scales. Ongoing projects concern anticancer drug development, epigenetics, oncometabolites, and tumor heterogeneity. The ultimate objective of our work is develop scalable models that offer patients new drug treatment strategies. Dr. Gallo has spent his entire career in academia with notable stops at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, and Mount Sinai School of Medicine in NYC, prior to returning to his roots in pharmaceutical sciences.


Andrzej Kierzek graduated with a degree in molecular biology from the University of Warsaw and in 1999 received his PhD in biophysics from the Polish Academy of Sciences. Since 2004 he has been working at University of Surrey, UK and is now Professor of Systems Biology. In April 2016, he moved to Certara QSP as Head of Systems Modelling in addition to his Surrey position. Dr. Andrzej has more than 20 years of experience in computational biology and has published models and software for analysis of molecular network dynamics and constraint based modelling of genome scale metabolic networks, including metabolic reprogramming in cancer. Currently, most of his scientific wok focusses on immune-oncology and immunogenicity.

Amin Rostami-Hodjegan

Amin Rostami-Hodjegan is co-director of the Centre for Applied Pharmacokinetic Research (CAPKR) at the University of Manchester. He has authored/co-authored over 230 highly cited articles and in 2017 was listed by ISI (Clarivate) as one of the world’s most highly cited researchers under the theme of ‘Pharmacology & Toxicology.’ He was a founding editor of Pharmacometrics and System Pharmacology and serves on the Editorial Boards of several other journals. He is a co-founder of Simcyp Limited, a University of Sheffield spin-off acquired by Certara, the largest company focused on modelling and Simulation in the pharmaceutical industry. As the Senior Vice President of Research & Development and Chief Scientific Officer at Certara, Rostami ensures that the latest scientific advances in the field of biosimulation are incorporated into all of the drug development efforts by various pharmaceutical companies.

Benjamin Ribba

Benjamin Ribba holds a Master’s degree in Applied Mathematics and a PhD in Biomathematics from the department of Clinical Pharmacology of the University of Lyon, France. Among Dr. Ribba’s achievements is the application of a wide range of disease models for the understanding and analysis of tumor growth and response to drugs leading to dose optimization. His recent research has focused on modeling the effect of anti-angiogenic and immunotherapy drugs and development of translational approaches from predicting patients’ outcomes and preclinical models. Dr. Ribba is author of more than 50 articles in peer-reviewed journal in the field of computational modeling in oncology. Dr. Ribba joined Roche Pharma Research and Early Development in 2015 as a disease Modeling expert in Oncology.

Eric Sobie, PhD

Eric Sobie, PhD, is a Professor in the Department of Pharmacological Sciences at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. He obtained a Bachelors degree in Biomedical Engineering from Duke University, and a PhD, also in Biomedical Engineering, from Johns Hopkins. His research focuses on  obtaining new insight into cardiovascular disorders and potential treatments through a combination of physiological experiments and mechanistic mathematical modeling. In addition to directing a research laboratory, Dr. Sobie currently serves as Senior Associate Dean for Programmatic Development in the Graduate School and directs and NIH-funded training program in systems pharmacology.

Brian Topp, PhD

Brian Topp holds a PhD in Kinesiology from Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada, where he focused on mathematical modeling of the pathophysiology of type 2 diabetes. As a scientist at Entelos, he developed QSP models of type 2 diabetes and projected clinical outcomes for novel T2D targets to facilitate decisions in pharmaceutical development. During his tenure as a senior scientist at Eli Lilly, he lead a QSP modeling team projecting the probability of technical success for novel targets across the pipeline and leveraged QSP modeling to identify optimal characteristics for insulin and GLP analogs (diabetes by design). In his current role as principal scientist at Merck, he is developing QSP models for immune-mediated tumor killing to project clinical outcomes for novel combination therapies.

Hotel Information

Hotel Henry

Hotel Henry
444 Forest Avenue
Buffalo, NY 14222

Reservations: 716-882-1970
Please mention "UB Pharmaceutical Sciences Symposium" when making reservations.

Hyatt Place

Hyatt Place Buffalo Amherst
5020 Main Street
Amherst, NY 14226

Reservations: 716-839-4040
Use special rate group code G-PHAR

Cost: $159 per night, king size bed 

Directions and Parking

Parking is available in the Parker Lot located at the Winspear Avenue entrance to the campus at the intersection of Winspear Avenue and Parkridge Avenu.

Questions? Contact Us