January 2020: Student/Trainee Profile

Author: [AUTHOR] Published on 1/1/2020 12:00:00 AM

Student Trainee P Jayachandran
Priya Jayachandran, PharmD, Clinical Pharmacology Fellow, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA

Dr. Jayachandran received her Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute. She went on to earn her Master of Science in chemical engineering from the University of California Berkley. From there she earned her doctorate in pharmacy from the University of California San Francisco where she is an NIH T32 Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics Fellow in the Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences.

Two mentors have had a significant impact on Dr. Jayachandran's career. As a Pharmaceutical Sciences Pathway student in the PharmD program at UCSF, Leslie Benet, PhD, served as Dr. Jayachandran's research advisor. Under his direction and with Lynda Frassetto, MD, Dr. Jayachandran gained experience in clinical trial design, protocol writing, patient recruitment, and bioequivalence analysis. The findings from the work they did were published in Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics. She believes that the skills and experiences that she gained while working with Dr. Benet have solidified her interest in a career in clinical translational research and were instrumental in her decision to pursue her research fellowship.

Dr. Rada Savic currently serves as Dr. Jayachandran's research advisor in her current position as a T32 Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics Fellow. Under Dr. Savic's direction, Dr. Jayachandran is using PK/PD modeling and simulations to describe the drug disposition and exposure–response relationship of novel topical formulations of antiretroviral agents for HIV prevention. The work she has done with Dr. Savic was presented at the ASCPT 2019 Annual Meeting. She continues to work with Dr. Savic designing Phase II/III clinical studies that explore the pharmacokinetics, safety, and tolerability of anti‐mycobacterial agents for the treatment and prevention of tuberculosis in pediatric populations. These experiences have given Dr. Jayachandran a deep appreciation of how complex computational tools can be used to answer key clinical questions.

The multidisciplinary integration of clinical pharmacology, mathematical modeling, and regulatory science is what interests Dr. Jayachandran the most. She is intrigued that regulatory science can allow us to identify and probe clinical questions that are critical to drug development. She goes on to say “when we partner with patients and medical teams, and effectively communicate the knowledge that we gain from our research, we make translational medicine an immediate reality.” The field of quantitative clinical pharmacology allows researchers to integrate diverse training to investigate clinically significant questions.

In the Savic lab, Dr. Jayachandran and her colleagues are developing novel quantitative frameworks to improve understanding about how tenofovir levels relate to HIV prevention. Tenofovir is an antiretroviral agent that is given to high‐risk populations as a pre‐exposure prophylaxis agent to prevent the sexual transmission of HIV. In PrEP product development, defining the plasma‐specific prophylactic concentration of the parent drug and tissue‐specific prophylactic concentration of the active metabolite are critical. Dr. Jayachandran and her colleagues have developed an in vivo pharmacokinetic model to characterize the tenofovir levels in plasma, rectal tissue, and rectal cellular matrices for a topical PrEP formulation. Using HIV antigen levels from an ex vivo explant assay as a measure of infection suppression, they have developed an ex vivo PK/PD model to propose a tissue‐specific protective level of the active metabolite to prevent HIV infection in healthy individuals. The findings from their work can now be used to inform the rational trial design of the next generation of PrEP products. With a greater variety of options to choose from, the community of individuals at high‐risk for HIV infection may directly benefit from their contributions to PrEP product development.

Dr. Jayachandran has been an ASCPT member since 2017. She was a Presidential Trainee Award recipient at the ASCPT 2019 Annual Meeting.

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