NONMEM Users Network Archive

Hosted by Cognigen

RE: post-ACoP: How to train future pharmacometricians

From: Bies, Robert R. <rrbies>
Date: Thu, 15 Oct 2009 12:33:47 -0400

Hi Holly and Steve,

I think we might want to revisit the paper by Marc Gastonguay, Jeff Barrett=
 et al regarding this. They enumerated programs that were available worldw=
ide (although it is always changing). Their suggestion for a shared progra=
m to take advantage of different areas of expertise (and to really expose t=
rainees to the key experts in each of the various aspects related to pharma=
cometrics and quantitative pharmacology) is very much along the lines of wh=
at is being proposed here. However, you have touched on some of the key is=
sues - and these issues extend to how well aligned the various institutions=
 are at sharing (i.e., how does one distribute resources in a shared curric=
ulum across institutions - how is this vetted if one wants to provide an "a=
ccredited" Ph.D. degree in this area - so how are the various contributions=
 recognized across institutions as being appropriate and sufficient to cont=
ribute to the Ph.D. from any given institution that is participating). The=
re are already curricula established that could be used to show the core ne=
ed for training across multiple sites (see the Metrum Institute curriculum =
- perhaps Marc can comment on this further). In addition, Jeff Barrett has=
 incorporated into the UPENN CTSI a training program (Ph.D.) in pharmacomet=
rics - although I believe there are additional funded needs to get this ful=
ly established and the CTSI at Indiana has created a disease modeling progr=
am that is focused on quantitative pharmacology approaches (encompassing ph=
armacometrics) as a key for training at least at the post-doctoral fellowsh=
ip level.

As for the attrition rate in academia - it is substantial - it is also view=
ed as quite unfriendly to this area at least in the U.S. - there are severa=
l institutions in the U.S. that I am aware of that have open faculty slots =
that they are unable to find qualified and willing individuals to fill. Th=
is is a significant problem that poses a challenge at least from the standp=
oint of U.S. institutions. The typical attrition rate in academia is about=
 75% (i.e., 1 in four who start as a tenure track assistant professor will =
succeed - it was actually lower in the school of medicine at the University=
 of Pittsburgh).

As for the suggestion regarding Bill Gates - typically the grants from the =
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation focus on public health issues that affect=
 populations in terribly underserved populations (malaria in Africa for exa=
mple, HIV in the third world) so I'm not sure our current focus fits into t=
his exactly. An issue with NSF funding is that typically (although not al=
ways - sometimes you can persuade them to produce an RFA that will allow th=
is) any indication of applicability to biomedical sciences is not viewed po=
sitively (it usually kills the grant) - they are really focused on the very=
 basic theoretical/fundamental types of problems where there is not an obvi=
ous application in this area.

Perhaps a useful strategy would be to see if the NIH would see this shared =
program as something that a modified multi-institution (and international) =
T32 mechanism could suit. The current T32 mechanism is really focused on s=
ingle institutions/departments - so this would have to be addressed with pe=
rhaps a modification of the funding mechanism that comes from the level of =
program/council to address this?

At any rate - I welcome your comments on this.

Best Regards,


From: owner-nmusers
 Of Stephen Duffull [stephen.duffull
Sent: Thursday, October 15, 2009 3:58 AM
To: Kimko, Holly [PRDUS]; nmusers
Subject: [NMusers] RE: post-ACoP: How to train future pharmacometricians

Hi Holly

Education in pharmacometrics is obviously an important role to maintain the=
 health of M&S in the future of both industry and academia.

Many academic centres offer pharmacometric research training to graduate st=
udents during the course of their PhD. This in many cases takes the form o=
f a 1:1 mentoring programme.

> I wonder if we can extend this NJ example to a Global University where
> Pharmacometrics - at least, concept - can be taught free of charge to
> students all over the world by pharmacometricians in industry, academia
> and regulatory agencies. Later, we may further consider to have a one-
> to-one mentoring program. AAPS supports webinars on many interesting
> topics. Maybe ACoP can support pharmacometrics webinar? Maybe National
> Science Foundation? Or, Bill Gates? :-)

Perhaps, rather than starting something new, what we need is better financi=
al support for those academic centres that are currently offering research =
opportunities (and hence training) in pharmacometrics.

Does anyone know:
1) how many pharmacometric positions exist in industry + academia?
2) what the attrition rate is from these positions?

Armed with this knowledge, and factoring in some growth and applying an equ=
ilibrium model, we can predict the required training rate...



Professor Stephen Duffull
Chair of Clinical Pharmacy
School of Pharmacy
University of Otago
PO Box 913 Dunedin
New Zealand
E: stephen.duffull
P: +64 3 479 5044
F: +64 3 479 7034

Design software:

Received on Thu Oct 15 2009 - 12:33:47 EDT

The NONMEM Users Network is maintained by ICON plc. Requests to subscribe to the network should be sent to:

Once subscribed, you may contribute to the discussion by emailing: