Moving Targets 2012 Symposium to Feature Leading Scientists on Metabolic Syndrome

Microscopic image of MTOn August 24, the USC student chapter of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS) will hold the 11th Annual Moving Targets Symposium, which invites students, faculty and interested scientists to participate in a full day discussion about a prominent health care topic with nationally recognized experts.

This year’s theme is “Metabolic Syndrome: Past, Present and Future,” and top scientists in the field from all over the country and the globe will be on hand to discuss this important issue. Metabolic syndrome is believed to affect nearly a quarter of the world’s adult population.

“Moving Targets 2012 brings in authorities from the fields of type 2 diabetes, obesity and atherosclerosis to discuss these major health care issues that are hot-button topics in the press,” explains Harsh Sancheti, a graduate student at the School of Pharmacy, who chairs the AAPS-USC Student Chapter. “We hope to educate the audience about recent therapeutic progress and also update the students about major concepts concerning metabolic syndrome. Overall, we hope to provide a congenial scientific platform for analysis and discussion, while sparking ideas on future directions.”

The student-run event, to be held at the Radisson Hotel in Midtown L.A., will include a series of lectures from top experts followed by a poster competition and reception.

“The Moving Targets poster session is a multi-disciplinary competition aimed at promoting stimulating discussions,” says Suhaas Aluri, AAPS-USC co-chair. “The event is open to all registrants if they choose to participate. Poster topics can be from varied fields and need not be relevant to the theme of the conference.”

Students who participate in the poster compete to win prizes. This year’s top poster will earn a $1,000 cash prize. The second place winner will take home $750 and the third place receives $500.

The day-long seminar gives students a chance to hear from some of the best known experts in the field, as well as to network with them during the lunch and over the course of the event.

Slated to present the keynote lecture is Dr. Thomas Buchanan, chief of the Division of Endocrinology and Diabetes at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. Buchanan is also associate dean for clinical research at Keck and the principal investigator on the $56.8 million NIH grant awarded to the USC-based Los Angeles Basin Clinical and Translational Science Institute.

Others lecturers include Dr. Eric Ravussin, the Douglas L. Gordon Chair in Diabetes and Metabolism at Pennington Biomedical Research Center; Dr. Dominco Accili, director of Columbia University Diabetes and Endocrinology Research Center; Dr. Robert Hegele, director of the Blackburn Cardiovascular Genetics Lab; Dr. Jeffrey Pfefferkorn, a senior director in the Cardiovascular, Metabolic & Endocrine Disease Research Unit of Pfizer; Dr. Ishwarlal Jialal, Robert E. Stowell Endowed Chair in Experimental Pathology at the UC Davis Medical Center; Dr. James Leonard, West Coast team leader for the Cardiovascular & Metabolic Therapeutic Areas at Janssen Research and Development; Dr. Prediman K. Shah, director of the Division of Cardiology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center; Dr. Jessica Grossman, medical director for the Metabolic Applied Research Strategy in Medical Affairs at Ethicon Endo-Surgery; and Dr. Murielle Veniant-Ellison, scientific executive director at Amgen Inc.

“Moving Targets provides students with a unique opportunity to meet and share ideas with leading scientists,” said School of Pharmacy Dean R. Pete Vanderveen. “Our School is committed to these kinds of learning exchanges and we’re proud to host Moving Targets for the eleventh year.”

The event is free and open to all. However, space is limited and pre-registration is required. To register to attend the event, visit