Dr. Jitao David Zhang is a computational biologist working in drug discovery at Pharma Research and Development, the research unit of F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd., at Roche Innovation Center Basel. His research focuses on computational and modelling approaches to understanding drug mechanism and safety. He co-develops the molecular phenotyping platform that profiles pathway activation patterns of drug candidates, which has supported many discovery projects. He supervises students and post-doc researchers, publishes open-source software packages and peer-reviewed open-access publications, and teaches the course Applied Mathematics and Informatics In Drug Discovery at the University of Basel.
OpenTox Euro 2019 talk: Multiscale modelling of drug mechanism and safety
We introduce models at three scales - molecular level, omics and cellular level, and organ and system level - and their applications in preclinical drug discovery and especially in safety evaluation. The models differ both in the scope of study and in technical details, but they are all rooted in mathematical descriptions of complex systems, and they all require informatics tools that handle large-volume, heterogeneous and noisy data. We present principles and recent developments with examples at each level and highlight the synergy by a case study. We discuss challenges and opportunities of applying multiscale modelling to refine target safety assessment, to predict safety profiles of drug candidates, and to attain mechanistic understanding of pharmacology and toxicology. In summary, it is high time to integrate and synthesize modelling approaches at different levels to understand drug mechanism and safety by multiscale modelling.