Skip to main content

DDX: 2-week mini courses

Digital Science Communication

In this course, students learn the skills required for modern, digital scientific communications, including video production, public speaking in a virtual environment, creating posters, and writing abstracts. Students will review scientific information presented in professional and popular media and will produce drafts of videos, presentations, abstracts, and posters. In addition to learning effective communication, students will learn to evaluate the quality of science presentations available across various media from popular media (news, magazines, blogs) to professional sources (scientific journals). Learning objective: Students will produce a short video, give a brief virtual presentation, and create an early draft of an abstract and a poster for their summer experience.

Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics

Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics (DMPK) is a scientific discipline once primarily associated with safety evaluation in drug development that has, in the last two decades, become a core discipline within drug discovery, development, and even post-marketing. Valerie Kramlinger, Ph.D. is currently a Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics (DMPK) scientist at Amgen. In this course, Dr. Kramlinger leads students through DMPK concepts. Additionally, F. Peter Guengerich, the Tadashi Inagami Professor of Biochemistry at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and the Associate Editor for The Journal of Biological Chemistry since 2006, will introduce concepts of enzyme Kinetics, a central component to understanding pharmacology and drug discovery. The overall course objectives include topics like the mechanism of drug actions, inhibitors, key parameters for measuring the efficiency of action, how enzyme metabolism can make drugs more toxic, and the application of these concepts in drug distribution, absorption, bioavailability, and multiple dosing. Overall this course will provide an introduction to DMPK and drug discovery.

Enzyme Kinetics

Drug development is a long and expensive process that starts with the identification of a hit compound endowed that hinders the development of a given disease and proceeds through subsequent rounds of structural changes and optimization until the desired pharmacological properties are reached (lead compound. The precise mechanism of action studies, as well as quantitative measurement of the performance of the compound against its target, requires Enzyme Kinetic and therefore essential component of the drug development process. F. Peter Guengerich, the Tadashi Inagami Professor of Biochemistry at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and the Associate Editor for The Journal of Biological Chemistry since 2006, will introduce concepts of Enzyme Kinetics, a central component to understanding pharmacology and drug discovery. The overall course objectives include topics like the mechanism of drug actions, inhibitors, key parameters for measuring the efficiency of action, how enzyme metabolism can make drugs more toxic, and the application of these concepts in drug distribution, absorption, bioavailability, and multiple dosing. Overall this course will provide an introduction to enzyme kinetics as a key component of drug discovery.

Experimental Design and Hypothesis Testing

What is the scientific method? How do you ask a "good" scientific questions? What characteristics go into creating a logically sound hypothesis? A well-designed and constructed experiment will be robust under questioning and will focus criticism on conclusions, rather than potential experimental errors. Sound experimental design should follow the established scientific protocols and generate useful statistical comparisons. Using a customized version of iBiology's "Let's experiment," scientists from a variety of backgrounds will give concrete steps and advice to help you build a framework for how to design experiments in biological research. We will use case studies to make the abstract more tangible. In science, there is often no simple right answer. However, with this course, students can develop a general approach to experimental design and hypothesis testing. After completing this course, students will be able to analyze the logic structure hypothesis, define the various components of an experiment, and generate an independent hypothesis. Learning objective: Students will write a blog post that defines and provides examples of the main course topics, including the framework for a scientific inquiry, the properly identify experimental variables, and bias within the experimental design.

Experimental Design and Hypothesis Testing in Drug Discovery

At each of the stages of research, scientific rigor and reproducibility are critical, particularly as the financial and ethical stakes rise throughout the drug development and development. Intentional actions are needed to educate the next generation of scientists about principles that contribute to scientific rigor and reproducibility, particularly in the area of drug discovery and development. Bruce Damon is the instructor for this course and is the Associate Professor of Radiology and Radiological Sciences, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, and Biomedical Engineering. He is the Director of the Chemical and Physical Biology Program. This course will cover the many challenges that face the future of science, including retaining public trust in the scientific process. Through a case-study approach, this course can help educate the next generation of science and build a renewed confidence in scientific inquiry.

Organs-on-Chips in Drug Discovery

An organ-on-a-chip (OOC) is a multi-channel 3-D microfluidic cell culture chip that simulates the activities, mechanics and physiological response of entire organs and organ systems, a type of artificial organ with multiple applications in drug discovery and development. Professor John Wikswo is the A. B. Learned Professor of Living Physics, a Gordon A. Cain University Professor, in the Department of Biomedical Engineering and Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, and the Director of the Vanderbilt Institute for Integrative Biosystems Research and Education (VIIBRE). For the past 40 years, John Wikswo has worked on measurements and modeling in bioengineering and electrophysiology, initially at the scale of humans and dogs, then with rodents, and more recently at the level of nanoliter bioreactors and individual cells. John Wikswo's research effort focuses on systems biology, primarily from the perspective of organs-on-a-chip and the optimization of automated systems for combined experimental control and inference of quantitative metabolic and signaling models to help us better span the breadth of spatiotemporal scales of systems biology, toxicology, and pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics. The goal of this course is to explore the importance of organs-on-chips and a systems biology perspective in drug discovery and development. The learning objectives for this course are utilizing the online platform to get the most out of the course, understanding the concept of multidimensional phase space, defining organs-on-chips in the context of systems biology, describing the history and complexity of biology and how this relates to drug discovery and development, and finally predicting how organs-on-chips will impact drug discovery in the future.

Planning Your Scientific Journey

Being successful as a scientist requires more than acquiring knowledge and developing experimental skills. It also requires: (1) asking a good scientific question, (2) establishing a clear plan of action, and (3) seeking advice along the way. These three topics are the focus of iBiology's course, "Planning Your Scientific Journey." Through customizing the iBiology content, we provide summer 2020 undergraduate students an opportunity to explore these topics during their virtual experience. The goal of this course is to have our Summer Undergraduate virtual research student explore research questions that interest them, define potential career goals, and to network with mentors and faculty that can support their scientific journey. Learning goal: Students will develop a personalized science career journey with goals and dates that can be used for future personal growth.