Areas of Research

Research in the Pharmaceutics Department encompasses basic, applied, and  clinical investigations in (i) pharmacokinetics/ biopharmaceutics, (ii)pharmaceutical analysis, (iii) pharmaceutical biotechnology and drug delivery, (iv) herbal medicine.

Dr. Derendorf’s research is focused on dose optimization during drug development and clinical practice. His group performs preclinical and clinical pharmacokinetic studies (PK), frequently combined with microdialysis studies to measure local drug concentrations at sites of interest in the body. To assess drug activity and safety, appropriate pharmacodynamic biomarker studies (PD) are performed. The collected data is analyzed in integrated PK/PD-models which allow to identify optimum doses and simulation of various clinically relevant scenarios. Dr. Derendorf’s group works mainly with ant-infective agents, corticosteroids, analgesics and other CNS drugs. Another area of interest of Dr. Derendorf is the assessment of food and drug interactions, particularly with grapefruit juice.

Thanks in part to Günther Hochhaus, the University of Florida is recognized as one of the premier Centers of Excellence in the field of pulmonary drug delivery and pharmacokinetic and the pharmacodynamic evaluation of asthma drugs.

After joining the University of Florida, Günther Hochhaus concentrated his research on evaluating the fate of anti-asthma drugs in the body (pharmacokinetics) and tried to understand the relationship between these properties and the pharmacodynamic effect. This resulted in computer simulation programs for the identification of biopharmaceutical properties for the purpose of maximizing the local effects and reduce systemic side effects. Indeed, developing inhalation drugs with such properties improved the pulmonary selectivity of these drugs. Since then, linking pharmacokinetic pharmacodynamic approaches with a rational drug delivery design has proven to be a powerful tool in streamlining drug development for inhalation drugs. Similar approaches have been used to determine the optimum time of the day such medication should b e taken.

“We want to make sure that inhalation drugs are designed to provide efficient anti-asthmatic effects with the lowest degree of side effects.” Hochhaus says.

Hochhaus has authored or co-authored more than 160 publications and is involved in the education of graduate students in the area of pharmacokinetics and biopharmaceutics. He is a Fellow of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists and a former Regent of the American College of Clinical Pharmacology.

ICSpkTS R Extension Package

Dr. Lesko’s research interests are applied and clinically-focused in the science of drug development and innovative approaches to supporting regulatory decision-making; the use of modeling and simulation, as well as genetic and non-genetic biomarkers to address problems and issues surrounding the clinical pharmacology of new and established drugs; and, systems approaches to understanding adverse drug reactions and potential mechanisms of drug-drug interactions in order to improve the benefit-to-risk ratio of medicines

The research projects in Song’s group include: 1) improvement of safety and efficiency of rAAV vector by understanding molecular mechanisms of persistence and integration of the AAV genome in mammalian cells, and the immune responses to the transgene products; 2) the use of recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV) vectors mediated gene transfer to develop gene therapy approaches for common diseases such as alpha 1 antitrypsin (AAT) deficiency, diabetes and arthritis; 3) the development of adult stem cell based regenerative medicine; 4) functional studies for alpha 1 antitrypsin (AAT) and its therapeutic applications.

Dr. Schmidt’s research focuses on the application of quantitative analysis (pharmacometrics and systems pharmacology) tools to address clinically relevant research questions in the area of antimicrobial chemotherapy, pediatrics, diabetes, cardiovascular safety and post-menopausal osteoporosis.

Bacterial ‘superbugs’ which are resistant to most or all antibiotics present one of the three most serious threats to human health in the US and worldwide. To combat this substantial global health crisis, the dynamic antimicrobial research team at Lake Nona is developing innovative antibiotic combination therapies which can successfully treat infections by these ‘superbugs.’ This team is headed by Dr. Jürgen Bulitta  who is an internationally recognized expert in antimicrobial pharmacology, latest in vitro infection models, and translational mechanistic modeling.