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Gobburu Receives ASCPT’s Sheiner-Beal Pharmacometrics Award

International award recognizes outstanding achievements at the forefront of research or leadership in the field of pharmacometrics.

Joga Gobburu, PhD, MBA

By Malissa Carroll
March 15, 2019

Joga Gobburu, PhD, MBA, professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science (PPS) at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, has been named the 2019 recipient of the American Society for Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics’ (ASCPT) Sheiner-Beal Pharmacometrics Award. It recognizes outstanding achievements at the forefront of research or leadership in pharmacometrics and the application of pharmacometric concepts and techniques to enhance research, development, regulatory evaluation, or utilization of therapeutic products.

“Our department is incredibly excited that Dr. Gobburu has been selected to receive the 2019 ASCPT Sheiner-Beal Pharmacometrics Award,” says Jill A. Morgan, PharmD, BCPS, BCPPS, professor and chair of PPS. “He once told me that one of his professional goals is to become the ‘Google of translational medicine.’ I believe he is well on his way to realizing that dream, and this award is one way to acknowledge all of the important contributions that he has made to the field.”

The discipline of pharmacometrics measures and evaluates existing information on a particular drug, disease, or clinical trial to assist researchers with efficient drug development and regulatory decisions. It uses mathematical models that incorporate elements of pharmacology, physiology, genetic constitution, and disease to quantitatively analyze interactions between drugs and patients. The ASCPT Sheiner-Beal Pharmacometrics Award is named for Lewis Sheiner, MD, and Stuart Beal, PhD, former professors at the University of California, San Francisco, who are internationally recognized as pioneers in the field. Sheiner and Beal passed away in 2004 and 2006, respectively.

“Although pharmacometrics aims to quantify disease, drug, and clinical trial characteristics in a way that supports efficient decision making, the field is not just about number crunching – it is a culture,” says Gobburu. “When we lost Drs. Sheiner and Beal, it left a tremendous void in the field, as they were not only responsible for shaping pharmacometrics into what it is today, but also for, essentially, training the first generation of pharmacometricians.”

Gobburu earned his doctorate in pharmaceutical sciences from North Dakota State University and completed two postdoctoral fellowships – one at the University of Buffalo with the State University of New York, and another at Georgetown University. In 1999, he joined the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a pharmacometrics reviewer, rising through the ranks to become a team leader in 2005, and director of the Division of Pharmacometrics in 2007. He later completed a Master of Business Administration (MBA) at Johns Hopkins University.

Gobburu joined the faculty at the School of Pharmacy in 2011, where he has created a top notch research and education program in pharmacometrics. He established and now serves as program director for the online MS in Pharmacometrics program, and founded the Center for Translational Medicine, which analyzes and summarizes data from experiments and clinical trials using pharmacometric models with a goal to reduce the time it takes to bring a drug to market.

“Through my work with the FDA, I was fortunate to gain hands-on experience in the field of pharmacometrics as it relates to drug development, and this experience allowed me to identify the needs and gaps that exist within the field,” says Gobburu. “Joining the School of Pharmacy has given me a tremendous opportunity to help shape the curriculum for pharmacometrics, ensure that it addresses those needs and gaps, and that it equips students with the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in the field.”

The ASCPT Sheiner-Beal Pharmacometrics Award is awarded to clinical pharmacologists, clinician scientists, computational scientists, statisticians, and others in academia, industry, government agencies, or consulting who work to actively advance the scientific discipline of pharmacometrics and its impact on research, drug development, regulatory evaluation, or utilization of therapeutic products. Gobburu will receive his award in March at the 2019 ASCPT Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.

“I was pleasantly surprised to learn that I had been selected as the recipient of the 2019 ASCPT Sheiner-Beal Pharmacometrics Award,” says Gobburu. “However, I quickly realized that receiving this honor is truly a reminder of the responsibility to uphold all that this award represents in our field. I must continue to live up to the faith and trust that has been placed in me as a scientist and leader in the field not only by the members of ASCPT, but also by my peers at the School of Pharmacy and other institutions across the country.”

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