2023 Annual Meeting Keynote Speakers

Keynote Speakers

Meet ASPET 2023 Annual Meeting Keynote Speakers

Yasmin Hurd, PhD

Internationally Renowned Neuroscientist
Translating Addiction: Neurobiological Insights to Risk and Therapeutic Interventions

Decoding the neurobiological underpinnings of psychiatric disorders such as addiction is critically linked to expanding knowledge obtained from the human brain which can inform targeted treatments.  The continued opioid epidemic highlights the important need for the development of novel non-addictive, non-opioid medications. The talk will provide molecular insights gained from post-mortem investigations of human opioid users and complementary mechanistic animal studies that identify specific neurobiological marks that offer druggable targets for opioid addiction including aspects of cannabinoid strategies.

Dr. Yasmin Hurd is the Director of the Addiction Institute within the Mount Sinai Behavioral Health System as well as the Ward Coleman Chair of Translational Neuroscience and Professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York. Dr. Hurd is an internationally renowned neuroscientist whose translational research examines the neurobiology of drug abuse and related psychiatric disorders. Her research exploring the neurobiological effects of cannabis and heroin has significantly shaped the field. She uses multidisciplinary approaches to provide unique insights into the impact of developmental cannabis exposure and epigenetic mechanisms underlying the drug’s protracted effects into adulthood and even across generations. Dr. Hurd is a member of the National Academy of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences. She is also the recipient of the 2020 Mika Salpeter Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society for Neuroscience.

William G. Kaelin, Jr., MD

Nobel Prize-winning Physician
The VHL Tumor Suppressor Protein: Insights into Oxygen Sensing and Cancer

This keynote address will describe new drugs emerging from studies of the VHL tumor suppressor protein (pVHL), which is usually defective in clear cell renal cell carcinomas (ccRCCs).  pVHL forms a ubiquitin ligase that targets the alpha subunits of the HIF transcription factor for proteasomal degradation provided they are prolyl hydroxylated by the oxygen-sensitive EglN (also called PHD) 2-oxoglutarate (2-OG)-dependent dioxygenases.  HIF2α promotes ccRCC and HIF1α inhibits ccRCC in preclinical models. An allosteric HIF2α inhibitor has advanced to Phase 3 testing in sporadic ccRCC and was recently approved for the treatment of VHL Disease. Conversely, drugs that stabilize HIF are being developed for the treatment of anemia and ischemic diseases (e.g., heart attack and stroke).  Dr. Kaelin's team also recently showed that GPR35 agonists are protective in ischemic models.  He will describe their recent efforts to identify new cancer targets based on synthetic lethality and to find protein degraders for “undruggable” oncoproteins.

Dr. William Kaelin is the Sidney Farber Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Senior Physician in Medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. A Nobel Laureate, Dr. Kaelin received the 2019 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Dr. Kaelin’s research seeks to understand how, mechanistically, mutations affecting tumor-suppressor genes cause cancer. His laboratory is currently focused on studies of the VHL, RB-1, and p53 biochemical functions of tumor suppressor genes. The team uses genetic and biochemical approaches with both human and mouse cells, including genetically engineered mouse models. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Medicine, the American Society of Clinical Investigation, and the American College of Physicians.

Holden Thorp, PhD

Science,  Journal Editor-in-Chief
Understanding Anti-Science:  Why Scientists Should Learn History

The COVID pandemic has brought a stark reminder of the difficulties in convincing the public of scientific facts that conflict with their ideology.  An examination of the history of anti-science shows that the patterns that obtained during the pandemic were the same as those that occurred during controversies around evolution, smoking, ozone, and climate change.  These patterns are driven by politics but also by the dogma within science to remain objective.  To prevent similar episodes in the past, the scientific enterprise needs a reckoning about how consensus within science is managed.

Dr. Holden Thorp became Editor-in-Chief of the Science family of journals in October 2019. He joined the Science journals from Washington University, where he was provost from 2013 to 2019 and where he is Rita Levi-Montalcini Distinguished University Professor and holds appointments in both chemistry and medicine. Dr. Thorp joined Washington University after spending three decades at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he served as the 10th chancellor from 2008 through 2013. In his research career, Dr. Thorp studied electron-transfer reactions of nucleric acid, developed technology for electronic DNA chips, and cofounded Viamet Pharmaceuticals, which developed VIVJOA (oteseconazole), now approved by the FDA. Dr. Thorp is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Inventors, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Important Dates



Registration Discounts End



Division Town Halls



Housing Deadline



Online Award Lecture Series



ASPET 2023 Annual Meeting
St. Louis Union Station, MO