Lamba lab trainees win American Society of Hematology Abstract Achievement Awards

University of Florida College of Pharmacy graduate students Richard Marrero, Pharm.D., and Nam Nguyen, Pharm.D., and postdoctoral fellow Vivek Shastri, Ph.D., received Abstract Achievement Awards from the American Society of Hematology, or ASH. The three received the awards during the ASH Annual Meeting held in Atlanta on Dec. 11-14.

AHS AwardMarrero’s research examines an enzyme encoded by a gene called SAM domain and HD domain, 1, or SAMHD1. The enzyme can limit the efficacy of cytarabine by intracellularly hydrolyzing its active metabolite, which may impact its therapeutic benefit. These promising results may lead to personalizing targeted therapies for acute myeloid leukemia.

Nguyen is investigating fludarabine levels in pediatric hematopoietic cell transplant, or HCT, recipients.  HCT is a potential lifesaving, but high-risk procedure, for numerous malignant and non-malignant disorders. Optimizing drug exposure during the pre-translation conditioning regimen may reduce transplant-related toxicities and improve outcomes.

Shastri’s research focuses on identifying and characterizing pharmacogenomic predictors of outcomes in response to addition of gemtuzumab ozogamicin in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) therapy. His other research interests include utilization of cell line models for preclinical evaluation of CD33-directed immunotherapeutic agents, such as bispecific T cell engagers and multi-target adaptable cell engagers, for potential use in AML therapy.

Marrero, Nguyen and Shastri are mentored by Jatinder Lamba, Ph.D., M.Sc., a professor of pharmacotherapy and translational research in the UF College of Pharmacy.