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Symposium takes aim at neurodegenerative disease

by Gabrielle Olya
“Neurodegenerative Disease: Therapeutic Challenges and Opportunities" is the theme of an upcoming conference.
“Neurodegenerative Disease: Therapeutic Challenges and Opportunities" is the theme of an upcoming conference.

The USC School of Pharmacy will host students, faculty and industry leaders on Aug. 23 for the 12th Annual Moving Targets Symposium, to be presented by the USC student chapter of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists. This year’s theme is “Neurodegenerative Disease: Therapeutic Challenges and Opportunities.”

An estimated 50 million Americans are affected each year by the more than 600 disorders that can impact the nervous system, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. These diseases affect people of all ages and walks of life, and the numbers of those suffering continues to increase.

From a mental, physical and economic standpoint, neurodegenerative disease can have deleterious effects on the health of the nation. For example, Alzheimer’s disease is currently the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, and the economic costs associated with it are expected to rise to $1.2 trillion by 2050.

“It is imperative that we educate researchers in basic, clinical and translational areas in order to better understand, diagnose and treat these devastating diseases,” said student organizer Christine Solinsky. “To this end, we’re delighted to welcome a prestigious panel of speakers from academia, industry, government, publishing and private foundations who will cover a broad spectrum of topics and viewpoints.”

This year’s speakers include Roberta Diaz Brinton of the School of Pharmacy, Emile Marcus from Cell Press, Suzana Petanceska from the National Institute on Aging, Kelly Bales from Pfizer, Krystof Bankiewicz from the University of California, San Francisco, Eugenia Trushina from the Mayo Clinic and Diane Stephenson from the Critical Path Institute.

In addition to the speeches, panels and Q-and-A sessions, there will be a student poster competition featuring cash prizes, including a $1,000 first-prize award.

“We hope that our attendees will gain a well-rounded understanding of the cutting-edge innovations and current progress in the field of neurodegenerative disease,” says Solinsky said. “Moving Targets aims to inspire students to become the next generation of leaders in therapeutic development.”

Registration for Moving Targets, to be held at the Radisson Midtown at USC, is free and open to everyone. To register, visit itims.usc.edu/MovingTargets2013/index.html

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