||The Department of Immunotherapeutics and Biotechnology (DIB) was established on the
Abilene campus in September 2012 with the purpose of integrating science faculty residing
on that campus who were conducting research in immunology, immunotherapy and biotechnology.
Recent advances in immunology and biotechnology have brought rapid developments in
areas of monoclonal antibody therapy; immune-mediated cellular therapies including
the first Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved personalized dendritic cell
vaccination for treatment of metastatic prostate cancer; adoptive T-cell therapies;
anti-cancer vaccines; etc. In addition, biologic agents continue to be the fastest
growing segment of new treatment therapies with various biologics, especially monoclonal
antibodies, having become part of routine treatment strategies for many diseases.
A goal of DIB is to assist the pharmacy profession to play a leading role in biologic
target discovery as well as biologic drug design, development and clinical application.
This Abilene-based department complements existing basic science departments of the
School in Amarillo. It was also developed with a parallel strong link to the TTUHSC
Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences for which it helps run the TTUHSC M.S. graduate
program in Biotechnology.
DIB has four main objectives:
To achieve the department’s four objectives, DIB faculty are committed to team science
that is focused on thematic research programs to discover new therapeutic agents and
diagnostic biomarkers. Furthermore, DIB faculty members play an important role in
educating pharmacy students through instruction in courses that include immunology,
microbiology, biotechnology, pathology and pathophysiology. They work along with basic
science faculty from other departments to carry forward the required sciences portions
of the Pharm.D. curriculum, particularly in those areas of immunology, immunotherapy,
and biotechnology. They are working at developing a Graduate M.S./Ph.D. Program in
Biotechnology, which is shared between the Abilene and Lubbock campuses and is part
of the TTUHSC Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.
- to build state-of-the-art basic, translational and clinical research programs;
- to provide outstanding professional education and scholarly experiences to pharmacy
students in areas linked to immunology, immunotherapy, and biotechnology;
- to be the administrative home and academic leader in training graduate students in
the MS and PhD programs in Biotechnology; and
- to coordinate activities with the Office of Technology Commercialization to develop
new commercial life science entities for the region.
The Abilene SOP has outstanding infrastructure and equipment resources that make
DIB faculty competitive in obtaining extramural grant funding. Currently, two-thirds
of DIB faculty members have extramural funding from agencies that include the National
Institutes of Health, the Department of Defense, and the Cancer Prevention and Research
Institute of Texas (CPRIT). The, DIB is an asset to the School which helps meet the
needs of research-intensive, basic science faculty members in Abilene and complements
well previously existing basic sciences departments in Amarillo (Biomedical Sciences
and Pharmaceutical Sciences). DIB expands educational and scholarly opportunities
for pharmacy students in cutting edge fields of biotechnology and immunotherapy, while
at the same time providing local faculty mentoring and leadership on the Abilene campus.