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January 2021: Member Spotlight

Author: [AUTHOR] Published on 1/1/2021 12:02:00 AM

January 2021 D Irby
Donald Irby, MSc, Graduate Student, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH

Donald completed his MS in Chemical Engineering at The Ohio State University (OSU). After spending a little more than a year in industry, he returned to OSU to complete doctoral training under Mitch Phelps, PhD, in the College of Pharmacy and James Comprehensive Cancer Center. This year, he is wrapping up his dissertation research, which has focused on the application of pharmacometrics tools to better understand outcomes to therapy in multiple myeloma.

During his MS training, Donald acquired an interest in drug development, and then developed it further through an internship experience at Boehringer Ingelheim and in his role at Catalent Pharma Solutions as an analytical chemistry and pilot‐scale formulations scientist. While at OSU, in addition to working with Dr. Phelps, he enrolled in a pharmacometrics course co‐taught by Dr. Phelps, Diane Mould, PhD, Tim Taylor, PharmD, and Richard Upton, PhD. This started him on the path to quantitative pharmacology where he has been able to blend his prior training and interests in computational modeling and simulation to improve the clinical use of old and new drugs. Being mentored by Dr. Phelps has had a major impact on his personal and professional growth. He has given Donald guidance and the creative space to continue to learn, grow, and expand his boundaries through his research projects as well as through his other academic interests internships with industry.

Looking ahead, Donald is excited about the future of personalized medicine, and the undoubted role that computational modeling and simulation will play. Pharmacometrics is his particular area of interest because it unites many of his various academic interests and he believes it will enable him to directly improve the quality and longevity of life for patients. Donald hopes that he can contribute to the practice of and advancement in model‐based drug development. He also hopes to be part of the potential growth in clinical application of pharmacometrics tools and research, whereby dose adjustment algorithms could be useful to achieve more personalized medicine.

The research that Donald does helps guide therapeutic decision making, explore mechanistic hypotheses for clinical pharmacology observations made in specific patient populations, and generate new questions relevant to the improvement in patient outcomes in multiple myeloma. He is currently working to model platelet dynamics and to explore thrombocytopenia as a predictor of outcomes following the standard of care autologous stem cell transplant regimen in multiple myeloma. He is also currenty working as part of a team with Dr. Mould to complete a tutorial on methods for handling missing or erroneous PK data.

Donald views membership with ASCPT as a great opportunity to learn from and network with other members of this premiere organization in clinical pharmacology. He learned about ASCPT from his mentor, Dr. Phelps. He looks forward to presenting his work at future meetings. He also looks forward to gaining additional leadership experience by actively contributing to ASCPT committees. He believes that his membership is a direct benefit to his career.

Donald received the Presidential Trainee Award in 2020 for his abstract “Modeling Thrombocytopenia as a Predictor of Outcomes Following Single, High Dose Melphalan and Stem Cell Transplant in Multiple Myeloma.” He has been a member of ASCPT since 2018.

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