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Dr. GPCR Podcast

Dr. Arthur Christopoulos

About Dr. Arthur Christopoulos

"Arthur Christopoulos is the Professor of Analytical Pharmacology and the Dean of the Faculty of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences, Monash University, Australia. His research focuses on novel paradigms of drug action at GPCRs, particularly allosteric modulation and biased agonism, and incorporates computational and mathematical modelling, structural and chemical biology, molecular and cellular pharmacology, medicinal chemistry, and preclinical models of behaviour and disease. His work has been applied to studies encompassing neurological and psychiatric disorders, cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, chronic pain and addiction. He has received substantial, long-term support from international and national competitive, charitable and commercial sources, as well as being academic co-founder of three GPCR-focussed biotechnology companies.

Professor Christopoulos has over 360 publications, including in leading international journals such as Nature,Science and Cell, and has delivered over 180 invited presentations. He has served on the Editorial Board of 8 international journals and was a Councillor of the International Union of Basic and Clinical Pharmacology (IUPHAR). He has also been the recipient of multiple awards, including the John J. Abel Award and the Goodman and Gilman Award from the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics; the Rand Medal from the Australasian Society of Clinical and Experimental Pharmacologists and Toxicologists; the British Pharmacological Society’s Gaddum Memorial Award; the IUPHAR Sir James Black Analytical Pharmacology Lecturer; the GSK Award for Research Excellence and a Doctor of Laws (Honoris Causa) from the University of Athens. Since 2014, Clarivate Analytics have annually named him a Highly Cited Researcher in ‘Pharmacology & Toxicology’, and in 2021 also named him a Highly Cited Researcher in the additional category of ‘Biology & Biochemistry’. In 2017, he was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences, in 2018 as a Fellow of the British Pharmacological Society, and in 2021 he was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science for his seminal contributions to drug discovery. In 2023, he was elected a Fellow of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia."

Dr. Arthur Christopoulos on the web


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Quick recap

Yamina and Arthur from Monash University discussed Arthur's career journey, the importance of hard work, failure, and differentiation in academic and personal lives, and the value of international conferences. They also explored the significance of translating fundamental discoveries into clinical applications, the potential of new drugs, and the unique challenges within universities. Additionally, they discussed the importance of hiring based on differentiation, impact, and interest, the need for workforce development, and the potential of involving junior scientists and postdocs in their podcast. Lastly, they touched upon the global challenges of healthcare workforce growth, climate change, and emerging psychiatric disorders, as well as the importance of recording lectures and making pre-lesson materials available to students.

Next steps

- Yamina will share notes about PRISM and presentability with Arthur.

- Arthur will share the story of PRISM's development and its impact on the field with Yamina.

- Yamina will send an invite for a follow-up meeting with Arthur next Saturday at 9 PM.

- Arthur and Yamina will prepare for the next meeting, focusing on the concept of biased agonism and discussing Dr. GPCR and the charity status.

- Yamina will attempt to book Denise for a future podcast episode.


Arthur's Career Journey and Transition to Dean

Yamina introduced Arthur to her team and discussed the use of a particular tool for meeting summaries. Arthur shared his career journey from pharmacy to becoming a professor, highlighting the influence of his mentors and the importance of his postdoctoral experience. They discussed the value of hard work, failure, and the significance of differentiation in their personal and academic lives. Towards the end, they focused on Arthur's transition to become Dean and his decision to move from Australia to the United States for a postdoctoral position.

Postdoctoral Position, Scientific Dynamics, and New Drug Targets

Arthur shared his decision to undertake a postdoctoral position with Nigel Bird's lab in the UK and his experiences of meeting influential figures during his time in the US. He and Yamina discussed the importance of preserving original work, the value of international conferences, and the dynamics between junior and senior scientists in a research environment. They also shared their admiration for the work of a mutual friend and discussed the history of muscarinic receptors, specifically focusing on the role of a compound that Arthur received from Fred. Lastly, they discussed the progress of new drugs targeting specific receptors for various diseases, with Arthur sharing insights on Eli Lilly's compound, Xanomeline, and the potential of M4 PAM for psychosis.

Collaborative Research and Translational Approach

Arthur and Yamina from Monash University discussed their collaborative approach to scientific research, emphasizing the benefits of combining their complementary skills and interests. They shared their unconventional approaches to research, including the creation of a critical mass of GPCR researchers in Australia and the initiation of a successful series of conferences. They also discussed the relocation of some university labs to facilitate collaboration and overcome the siloed department structure. Additionally, they explored the unique culture and structure of their Institute, highlighting its translational approach to research and its capacity to translate research into therapeutic commercialization. Lastly, Arthur shared three significant moments that shaped his career, including the evolution and impact of analytical pharmacology, particularly highlighting the role of Prism, a data analysis tool.

Podcast Format, Team Culture, and Science

Yamina and Arthur concluded their discussion and decided to take a short break. They talked about the format and length of their podcast, their professional interests, and their recent successful bid to bring Moderna to their university. They also explored the idea of starting a similar talk show format to 'Between Two Ferns', the importance of maintaining team culture, and the potential health issues among well-known scientists. Lastly, they discussed the growth and development of the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, the importance of knowing when to let go in scientific experiments, and the idea of a panel for building and incubating companies.

Arthur's Pandemic Journey and Global Challenges

Yamina and Arthur discussed Arthur's experiences during the Covid-19 pandemic, his journey as a research fellow in Australia, and his transition to the role of Dean. Arthur shared his insights into the unique grant funding system in Australia, the importance of impact in research, and the challenges of balancing administrative responsibilities with scientific pursuits. He also reflected on his personal health struggles, the growth of his university, and the faculty's successful response to the Covid crisis. The conversation also touched upon Arthur's career decisions, his scientific achievements, and the importance of learning from mistakes and self-confidence. Lastly, they discussed the global challenges of healthcare workforce growth, climate change, and emerging psychiatric disorders, as well as the importance of recording lectures and having pre-lesson materials available to students.

Translating Discovery Into Clinical Application

Arthur and Yamina discussed the importance of translating fundamental discoveries into clinical applications in their research, highlighting the unique opportunities presented by their location and partnerships with other institutions. They stressed the necessity of making their research goals clearer, avoiding replication, and adopting a more assertive approach in grant applications. They also emphasized the significance of fundamental discoveries, the role of biotech, and the need for efficiency and process development in university systems. The conversation highlighted ongoing challenges within universities, including resistance to change and the need to communicate expectations and protect established cultures.

Hiring Process, Collaboration, and Education-Focused Initiatives

Arthur emphasized the importance of differentiation, impact, and interest in their hiring process and fostering a culture of collaboration. He shared his vision of breaking down barriers and promoting education-focused initiatives, encouraging his team to be innovative and apply their skills to education. Yamina expressed a desire to learn from successful leaders and the importance of recognizing talent and matching it with the needs of a particular project. They also discussed the disruption within the pharmaceutical sector, the importance of workforce development, and the need for maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Lastly, they deliberated on involving junior scientists and postdocs in their podcast and the possibility of writing a book about their experiences in academia.

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