Education : The Data Intensive Discovery Initiative seeks to address specific training needs identified in
part at the NIH ‘
Quantitative & Systems Pharmacology Workshop’ in 2008. The main specific
aim is the design and establishment of specific plans for: (i) broad, integrated, and
bi-directional training of graduate students and post-doctoral fellows in Computational
Science (CS) and in Quantitative Pharmacology (QP), (ii) workshops for training established
scientists in academia, research institutions, and industry in the techniques and tools
developed at the DI2. The primary educational thrust is two-way multi-disciplinary
pre-doctoral and post-doctoral training of quantitative pharmacologists in the computational
sciences and the training of computational scientists in quantitative pharmacology.
Certificate Program: The DI2 is developing a Graduate Certificate in High Performance
Computing, which is a credentialing program equivalent to about half the effort and
requirements of a Master’s degree. This course of study requires two courses in parallel
computing. The Center for Computational Research (CCR) staff team-teach the key course in that
program, a one semester Introduction to High Performance Computing. Dr. Chaudhary,
co-investigator in this Center, teaches a course in Parallel and Distributed Systems,
which includes General-Purpose computation on Graphics Processing Units (GPU) programming,
as well as the Netezza architecture and data model. Elective courses are chosen from a range
of departmentally approved offerings. All courses required for the certificate can contribute
to fulfillment of the student’s target degree requirements.
MS in Pharmacometrics: Students from academic programs in quantitative and computational
sciences who are interested in obtaining a formal degree in quantitative pharmacology will be
encouraged to consider the accelerated Master of Science in Pharmacometrics, which is a unique,
approved course of study offered by the PHC. This program generally can be completed in a year,
and emphasizes quantitative pharmacology and pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic analysis. The
program combines examination and analysis of experimental data from individuals and groups of
biologic preparations, animals, and human subjects, as well as theoretical and computational
studies of drug uptake and action. Appropriate analyses of such data require an understanding of
the underlying pathobiology and pharmacology, as well as use of biostatistics, computational
methods, and modeling. In addition to required courses in Pharmacokinetics and Biostatistics,
this degree includes elective courses in the CSE.
The Pharmaceutical Sciences Department offers two popular and well-received mini-courses
annually in Pharmacokinetic-Pharmacodynamic Modeling. One is held in Buffalo in mid-May
(in its 17th year) and the other is held at the University of Paris Descartes in January.
These courses attract over 100 participants from academia, regulatory agencies and the
pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry every year. A variety of add-on modules have been
addressed to meet demand in ancillary topics, and are offered immediately before or after the
course. These have included hands-on computation on the topics of the workshops described
above, and plans include development of modules in pharmacogenomic modeling and the role of
high performance computing in quantitative pharmacology.