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Women in Bio Pop Up Meeting

Women in Bio Baltimore Pop Up Meeting

Don’t miss the Women in Bio Baltimore May pop-up meeting. The meetings are free! Network and develop possible collaborations, while learning how to develop your career. May’s speaker will be Christy Wyskiel, advisor to the president of Johns Hopkins University.

May Meeting

“Revitalizing East Baltimore Through Entrepreneurs in Science: Update on Impact of FastFoward & JHU Ventures on Baltimore Neighborhoods”
Johns Hopkins
1812 Ashland Bldg., Ground Level
May 11, 2017,  8 to 9:30 a.m.

Karen Underwood Collaboration, Education, People, ResearchApril 19, 20170 comments
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Drug Discovery Symposium

SOP, Hopkins Partner to Host Joint Drug Discovery Symposium

The University of Maryland School of Pharmacy welcomed more than 200 researchers from across the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) and Johns Hopkins University to the first-ever UMB-JHU Joint Symposium on Drug Discovery on Feb. 24. Organized by Paul Shapiro, PhD, professor and chair of the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences (PSC) at the School of Pharmacy, and Takashi Tsukamoto, PhD, associate professor of neurology and director of medicinal chemistry for the Johns Hopkins Drug Discovery Program at Johns Hopkins University, the symposium provided an open forum for scientific exchange and interactive communication among students, postdoctoral fellows, and faculty from two of Baltimore’s premier academic institutions.

“After more than a year of planning, it is incredibly rewarding to have this opportunity to showcase the robust community of drug discovery research led by our two institutions,” said Shapiro, as he welcomed attendees to the event. “The faculty in our department and the team at Johns Hopkins Drug Discovery are recognized leaders in the field of drug discovery and development, and the opportunities for collaboration among our campuses are truly endless. I am thrilled that we were able to bring this symposium to fruition and excited to work together to improve the drug discovery process.”

New Research in the Field

The half-day symposium featured four presentations from postdoctoral fellows from the School of Pharmacy and Johns Hopkins University. Sarah Zimmermann, PhD, postdoctoral fellow in medicinal chemistry at Johns Hopkins University; Daniel Deredge, PhD, postdoctoral fellow in PSC; Weiliang Huang, PhD, postdoctoral fellow in PSC; and Abhijit Date, PhD, postdoctoral fellow in the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins University, spoke about their current research – which covered a wide range of topics, including mass spectrometry, proteomics, and drug development for cancer and inflammatory bowel disease – to demonstrate the breadth of drug discovery research at their institutions.

In addition, Shapiro, Tsukamoto, and Barbara Slusher, MAS, PhD, professor of neurology and director of the Johns Hopkins Drug Discovery Program, delivered brief presentations that illustrated the drug discovery capabilities available through the School of Pharmacy and the Johns Hopkins Drug Discovery Program, respectively. Shapiro spoke about the academic programs, centers, and facilities housed within PSC, while Tsukamoto and Slusher addressed the history behind Johns Hopkins Drug Discovery, its current capabilities, and some of the projects on which her team has collaborated.

“Similar to faculty in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, our team at Johns Hopkins Drug Discovery has an extensive background in pharmaceutical research,” said Slusher. “This symposium offers us, as drug discovery researchers from both the east and west sides of Baltimore City, the perfect opportunity to come together, learn from each other, and discuss new studies or projects on which we can collaborate. As one of the symposium’s organizers, it is truly gratifying to have the opportunity to watch this event unfold today.”

An Alumna Returns to the School

The event concluded with a keynote presentation from Rana Rais, PhD, assistant professor of neurology and director of drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics for Johns Hopkins Drug Discovery and graduate of the PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences program at the School of Pharmacy, and Jonathan Powell, MD, PhD, professor of oncology and associate director of the Bloomberg-Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy at Johns Hopkins Medicine. Titled “Novel Metabolic Prodrug Inhibitors for Cancer Therapy,” the presentation brought to life the researcher-practitioner relationship at the heart of each project in Johns Hopkins Drug Discovery.

Rais, who completed her doctorate under the mentorship of James Polli, PhD, the Shangraw/Noxell Endowed Chair in Industrial Pharmacy and Pharmaceutics at the School of Pharmacy, explained the special meaning behind her presentation. “I chose to present this project today because it not only showcases the mission of Johns Hopkins Drug Discovery to collaborate with faculty researchers to transform their discoveries into novel therapeutics, but also because it builds on the knowledge and skills that I gained about prodrugs during my time as a graduate student at the School of Pharmacy,” she remarked.

Future Collaborations

Following the keynote presentation, participants were invited to attend an evening networking reception, which reinforced the symposium’s mission to foster future collaborative efforts between the two institutions.

“This symposium offered a great opportunity for students and postdoctoral fellows in our department to meet and network with other local researchers in the field of drug discovery,” said Sarah Michel, PhD, professor and director of the PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences program at the School of Pharmacy. “One of the cornerstones of our graduate program is the collaborative atmosphere in which our students are trained. It was truly gratifying to have this chance to expand our collaborative efforts and partner with another one of Baltimore’s premier academic institutions to bring this event to fruition. I hope that it not only encouraged future collaborations among students and fellows, but also among faculty.”

Tsukamoto added, “The turnout at today’s symposium proves what we have known all along – Baltimore is a thriving hub for academic drug discovery. There is so much untapped potential for collaboration between researchers from the School of Pharmacy and Johns Hopkins Drug Discovery, and it is my hope that this event represents only the beginning of many wonderful years of partnership between our institutions.

Malissa Carroll Collaboration, Education, Research, UMB NewsMarch 17, 20170 comments
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Women Show Fortitude at UMBrella Launch

The University’s new UMBrella initiative was formed with women’s empowerment in mind. But UMBrella’s launch on March 3 showed the University already has a determined group of women as with sleet in the air and ice on the sidewalks more than 130 trudged to the Southern Management Corporation Campus Center for the kickoff event.

UMBrella chair Jennifer B. Litchman, MA, chief communications officer and vice president and special assistant to the president, thanked her “heroes” for braving the elements after an earlier postponement and turned the program over to Jessica Glazer, MS, a lecturer in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Johns Hopkins University and founder and CEO of Glazer Talks.

“Societal messages to women — from both men and women — are mostly negative,” said Glazer, who travels internationally espousing the principle of positive communication. “We need to imagine what we can be” by turning those negatives into positives.

Finding Their Voices

The goal of the UMB Roundtable on Empowerment in Leadership and Leveraging Aspirations (UMBrella) is to help women achieve their potential, find their voices, and feel empowered. The UMBrella Group works to engage a community that supports the success of women, advances women into leadership roles at UMB, and champions women at all levels of its organization.

Glazer, a licensed psychotherapist, captivated the audience with her mix of memorable quotes, research data, and common sense analogies. “Positive psychology is not the negation of sadness,” she said. “Only two types of people don’t sometimes feel sad: the dead and the psychotic. We have to move beyond the neutral and find a positive balance in our lives.”

She said there are three levels of positive communication: societal communication; interpersonal communication; and self-talk. She surprised the crowd with the answer to “what percentage of the day are we communicating?” After guesses ranging from 30 to 70 percent, Glazer smiled and said “100 percent. We’re always communicating in some way,” whether it’s through our actions, our words (only 7 percent), or talking to ourselves.

Happy Equals Productive

She discussed “eudaimonia,” the joy one feels while striving toward one’s potential, and how “happy” people produce more and are 10 times more engaged in their work. “You are fortunate to have a group like this at UMB where you can support each other,” Glazer said. It’s easier to turn a negative mindset into a positive one “with this type of support structure.”

Apologizing to the handful of men in the audience, Glazer said “we’re starting with a disadvantage as women.” She cited studies where when male executives spoke up they were considered 10 percent more competent; when female executives spoke up they were considered 14 percent less competent. Another example compared identical case studies written by either “George” or “Georgia.” The female was viewed as “more power hungry, disingenuous, and less kind” than her male counterpart.


Gender stereotypes date back to school, said Glazer, where outspoken girls were “bossy” but comparable boys were “leaders.” Body language and non-verbal actions like making eye contact and nodding to show understanding were discussed. Perceived by some as negative female attributes, Glazer says they are essential for effective positive communication. Even something as seemingly benign as whether a test has a “select gender” box on it has ramifications, she said, with women doing poorer on tests after checking their gender than if they weren’t asked.

Glazer was optimistic that the status quo could change. “William James said, ‘The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives.’ I sincerely believe that.”

Cut Yourself Some Slack

Where does this change have to occur? Inside each one of us, she said, showing a picture of a kitten looking into a mirror and seeing a lion. Citing two quotes, “whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right” and “would you be best friends with someone who talked to you the way that you talk to you?” Glazer discussed how people are their own worst critics. “We’re tinted by negativity. We magnify the positive attributes of other people and minimize our own. We are too often unkind to ourselves.”

So before answering some questions, Glazer asked those assembled for the next few days to “sit up straight, take up more space, and be present. Not only because you can but because it will be good for you.”

Read more about the UMBrella Group.

Chris ZangCollaboration, Global & Community Engagement, UMB News, University LifeMarch 6, 20150 comments
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