From Neuroscience to Neurotherapeutics
Neurological disorders affect nearly one out of every six people in the world today, and the prevalence of neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease is rising at an alarming rate. Left unchecked, the global burden of neurodegeneration will cripple world economies by the middle of this century. This seminar will share perspectives on the rise of neurodegeneration in our society and will review the most recent scientific insights guiding drug development efforts to slow these disorders. Besides having an incomplete understanding of disease processes, drug development efforts for neurodegenerative disorders have been impeded by poorly translatable animal models, limited drug access to brain cells, the slow progression of disease processes, and the lack of objective biomarkers for measuring disease and treatment effects. Using examples from therapeutic efforts in Alzheimer’s disease, the seminar will also highlight how, in addition to a better understanding of disease processes, innovations are needed for overcoming nervous system drug development hurdles and for improving hypothesis testing in clinical trials.
About the Speaker
Ajay Verma earned his B.S. in zoology from the University of Maryland in 1984. He then completed his M.D. at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine under a U.S. Army scholarship and his Ph.D. at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. During his graduate research in the laboratory of Solomon Snyder, he studied neuronal intracellular calcium biology and synaptic signaling. Verma completed his residency in neurology at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., in 1995 and then joined the faculty of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. Over the next decade, he continued caring for patients as an Army neurologist while also conducting basic research in metabolic signaling abnormalities involved in brain injury and neoplasia. Verma left the U.S. Army as a Lt. Colonel in 2006 to pursue a career in biopharma. He has since worked at Merck, Novartis and Biogen, and is currently the chief medical officer at United Neuroscience. Verma's biopharma career has focused on developing therapies for neurological disorders and developing innovations for improving the neuroscience drug development process.