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By Prathap Shastri

Prathap ShastriThe 2015 AAPS National Biotechnology Conference was a prime occasion to learn about great science, meet wonderful people, and visit the exciting city of San Francisco, all at once! Atul Butte’s plenary talk Translating a Trillion Points of Data into Therapies, Diagnostics, and New Insights into Disease was an awe-inspiring scientific and motivational presentation that would intrigue any scientist who deals with generating tons of data on a regular basis. I also enjoyed sessions on the clinical impact of immunogenicity, the first biosimilar approved by the FDA, an open Biosimilars Focus Group meeting to discuss future directions, and many others!

Most of the sessions and discussions related to biosimilars involved scientists/regulatory authorities from Europe and Canada, along with those from the United States, which brought refreshing perspectives. For example, U.S.-based scientists were eager to understand the “best way to demonstrate biosimilarity from a regulatory perspective,” whereas European scientists were looking to learn/improve the “scientific process of how to go about achieving biosimilarity.” The difference is obviously due to the fact that there are already several biosmilar products in the European market, whereas there is only one currently approved in the U.S. market.  I look forward to further such integrated roundtables and symposiums at future AAPS conferences.

As always, it was nice to have a chat with graduate students and some of the most accomplished scientists during the mentoring breakfast. The Biotechnology Graduate Student Symposium was composed of fantabulous presentations in the area of biotechnology. The uniqueness of this session was the diversity in the talks we heard, and the quality of the research work and presentations was superlative.

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Award winners at the NBC Biotechnology Graduate Student Symposium: Vibhuti Agrahari, M.Pharm., University of Missouri Kansas City; Gurkishan S. Chadha, SUNY at Buffalo; Katie Maass, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT); and Radha Ramakrishnan, LL.M., SUNY at Buffalo.

Two symposium participants shared their experiences for this blog post:

“In June, I had the opportunity to attend the AAPS National Biotechnology Conference. I appreciate how welcoming the AAPS community is to students and new members. Through the mentoring breakfast, Biotalk lunch tables, and BIOTEC section reception, I found there were many opportunities to connect with other conference attendees. This experience was a great opportunity to meet and hear about the work of scientists in the biotech industry doing clinical pharmacology and preclinical PK/PD, which is the type of work I would like to do after grad school. I also had the pleasure of presenting my work on the intracellular processing of antibody-drug conjugates at the Graduate Student Symposium sponsored by Lilly. During this symposium, I especially enjoyed hearing from the other speakers and the broad scope of topics that were presented. I look forward to attending future AAPS conferences.”—Katie Maass, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

“The AAPS NBC is a wonderful platform to be updated on the recent developments in the field of biotechnology. Apart from intellectual education, the symposium helps in furthering our career skills in several ways. There are several opportunities to network with the industry and regulatory scientists, such as the mentoring breakfast or the poster presentations. And as student comoderators of symposia, we can practice public interactions with tasks such as introducing speakers and interacting with the speakers and audience. Finally, the biggest opportunity as a student to be involved in NBC was through participating in the NBC Biotechnology Graduate Student Symposium. This gave me a chance to present my research Induction of tolerance using Phosphatidyl Serine (PS) for Hemophilia Therapy. The experience was great as it helped me improve my confidence and gave me the opportunity to present in front of an eclectic audience. It helped me present a gist of my thesis work in a short span of 20 minutes. There was a good audience turnout, and having audience participation in the form of questions gave a sense of self-satisfaction. This is a great opportunity for all students to showcase their research and get feedback for their work.”—Radha Ramakrishnan, State University of New York at Buffalo

Did you attend 2015 AAPS National Biotechnology Conference as well? Please share your experiences from the meeting below in the comments for this post!

Prathap Shastri works for the ADME/DMPK group at WIL Reseach Laboratories in Ashland, Ohio. Prior to joining WIL research, he worked at Seventh Wave Laboratories working as a principal investigator for the PDM group.