Inspiring and empowering students to get into pharmacometrics

This year’s Educational Pharmacometrics Summer Symposium (EPSS) is taking place in conjunction with the PAGE 2023 meeting in A Coruña, Spain. The EPSS is a satellite event, mainly intended for Master’s and PhD students interested in learning more about pharmacometrics.

27.06.2023

Event

EPSS objective

From left: Organizers Jurij Aguiar Zdovc, Eva Germovšek and Natalia Riva, listening to a student presentation at EPSS 2023

“One of the aims of the symposium is to bring experts closer to students, to support them in learning about the broad range of applications of pharmacometrics, and give them the opportunity to advance their careers. Another aim is to connect students and others relatively new to pharmacometrics, so that they can discuss and gain knowledge together. It is also a great opportunity for them to create valuable professional connections, and present their work”, explains Eva Germovšek, Principal Scientist at Boehringer Ingelheim.

She is organizing the EPSS together with Natalia Riva, Postdoc researcher from University of Navarra, and Jurij Aguiar Zdovc, Associate Consultant from Pharmetheus. 

“We want to show students the benefits and use of quantitative approaches –  and share with them why we are so excited about it. Pharmacometrics could be an option for a future PhD or career path, it is a growing, fulfilling, field of science”,  Jurij Aguiar Zdovc says. 

Miriam Happ, Ph.D. student attending the PharmMetrX program at Freie Universitaet Berlin, believes EPSS contributes to newcomers in the field getting an overview.

“As a beginner it is nice to get an overview of what is out there, what you can do and how you can take projects further, what the opportunities are, and how you can structure your own project goals.”

Miriam Happ says EPSS contributes to get an overview of the possibilities of pharmacometrics.

“It was really interesting to get so many perspectives from people with different backgrounds, working with many kinds of modeling approaches”, says Miriam Happ.

Interconnection

Besides providing an introduction to the pharmacometrics field, the EPSS also provides a smaller, more intimate setting, making it easier for students to interact, compared to the main PAGE meeting.

“This way more interaction and networking happens, and it ensures that the students have the opportunity to get instant feedback from accomplished professionals”, says Natalia Riva.

Leading up to the event, Master’s and PhD students have been encouraged to submit abstracts, and two students were selected to present at the symposium.

Many PhD students and postdocs, as well as BSc/MSc students and others, such as, clinical bioinformaticians, clinical pharmacologists, and pharmacometric consultants registered for the symposium and there have been a good number of abstracts submitted.

“We are happy that the EPSS is such a success, the vision is to inspire and empower students to get into pharmacometrics, and ensure there is talent in the field, as it is growing at a rapid pace.”, Jurij Aguiar Zdovc says.

Summary of EPSS

This year’s EPSS consists of four sessions. First, an introduction to pharmacometrics by Maria Kjellsson from Uppsala University. This is followed by a session on the use of pharmacometrics in drug development. The third session, which starts after lunch, is the role of pharmacometrics in the clinical setting, focusing on therapy personalisation and optimisation. In the last session, two students will present their pharmacometrics-related work and get input from the experts present at the symposium. The symposium concludes with a short group activity, to recap what was learned in a fun way.