Interview with Andrea Diniz

Andrea Diniz

Associate Professor
Pharmacy Department
State University of Maringa, BZ


This month we hear from Andrea Diniz, professor at the Pharmacy department of the State University of Maringa, Brazil. Andrea will present at the Congress in the Immunosuppressive Drugs Symposium on Monday morning, sharing work that looks at important interactions with anti-infectives in transplant patients.

With this post we close our series of interviews with Brazilian colleagues: a big thank you to Andrea, Marina AntunesRafael Linden and Rafael Linaro.

A reminder to Young Scientists: don’t miss the YS Night Out on Sunday, and the YS Symposium on Monday afternoon (the speakers are excellent, and include yours truly, Samiksha and Tomoyuki).

Looking forward to seeing you all very soon in Foz do Iguassu!


Can you tell us a little bit about your respective roles? What is a typical day like for you?

I am a pharmacist and I have been working with pharmacokinetic modelling and simulation since the year 2000, although my research group has a background in preclinical research. I collaborate with Elza Kimura (Clinical Research Center, State University of Maringá) and Bibiana Verlindo de Araújo (Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul) and their respective research groups.

A typical day starts with meeting students (Masters and PhD candidates), followed by teaching and administrative commitments. In addition to professional commitments, I am a mum and take care of my home and family. I juggle these with personal interests including guitar, choir, gym, as well as oriental medicine and philosophy: I recently completed acupuncture training.

Is there anything that is done at your centre that you would consider innovative?

I consider pharmacometrics an innovative field, per se. We work in collaboration with Brazilian and International research groups, as well as with Pharmaceutical companies.

Our current focus is on antiepileptic drugs for paediatrics, applying novel tools for computational simulation, as Physiologically Based Pharmacokinetic Modelling (PBPK) and Populational Pharmacokinetic Modeling (PopPK). We are looking at dosing regimen prescribed to neonates.

With Bibiana Verlindo Araujo, we work with immunosupressant drugs and their interaction with antibiotics.

What technological innovations have entered into use during your career that have permitted a change, or evolution, in practice?

Pharmacometrics is a field born from innovations in statistical concepts and computational tools, permitting a novel point of view concerning routine drug administration, and approaches of data analysis in Clinical Pharmacology. For me, learning to code (R, NONMEM) has opened a word of opportunities. As a pharmacist these challenges have transformed the way I think and my approach to research.

How did you become interested in your area of expertise?

Since I was an undergraduate student, I was drawn to TDM. At that time in Brazil – the 1990’s – this field was almost utopic and not applied in clinical practice. I persisted and commenced work in pharmacokinetics in 1998 by way of a Masters, eventually receiving training in statistics and computational approaches applied to clinical pharmacology, TDM and pharmacokinetics.

Is there anything that you’ve seen or heard about recently and thought “I’d like to incorporate that idea at my center”?

Everything I read.

What sort of research do you have on the horizon that you think might influence clinical practice in the future?

Computational simulations. Pharmacometrics works with modelling and simulation of pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic data, as well models of disease progression. Connecting these models allow researchers to simulate systemic exposure of new drugs or in novel clinical protocols, for a specific population.

These simulations are shared between Academia, Surveillance Agencies and Pharmaceutical Companies in the process of drug approval. However, data obtained from clinical practice are more significant, and can be used to refine comprehension about physiopathology, pharmacology and mathematical model. This interaction allows clinicians and researchers to make more assertive decisions in clinical practice.

What do you consider is the future for TDM and CT? What are you excited about? What are the challenges we face?

In my opinion, the future for TDM and CT is connected to advances in analytical and computational tools. Faster methods to quantify drugs in blood or other tissues can improve our comprehension, and allow clinicians to make more rapid decisions.

TDM and CT are areas that require human resources with vast training and skills: analytical, clinical and computational, pharmacokinetic. I believe that preparation of human resources, and in sufficient numbers, is the biggest challenge we face in the short term.


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Andrea Diniz