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  1. About Science & Research at FDA

The FDA Science Forum

FDA Regulatory Scientists conducting research

The 2021 FDA Science Forum

Science as the Foundation for Protecting and Promoting Public Health

Keynote Speaker: NIAID Director, Dr. Anthony Fauci

The 2021 FDA Science Forum will be held virtually on Wednesday and Thursday, May 26 and 27, 2021. The Forum offers an exciting opportunity for the public to view the unique scientific research and collaborative efforts of FDA’s 11,000 scientists. You'll get a chance to see first-hand how FDA's researchers are using novel science and technologies to inform FDA’s regulatory decision-making—and drive innovation.

FDA scientific experts and nationally renowned scientists will speak on the eight topics of the 2021 FDA Science Forum: Science as the Foundation for Protecting and Promoting Public Health, highlighted below.  This year’s keynote speaker is NIAID Director Anthony Fauci, M.D

FDA’s Science Forum welcomes the public, industry, academia, patient advocates, sister agencies, and current and potential collaborators to join us virtually and learn about the critical contributions that FDA's regulatory science makes to product quality and safety.

Contact: Rokhsareh Shahidzadeh at Rokhsareh.Shahidzadeh@fda.hhs.gov for event-related matters.

2021 FDA Science Forum Topic Areas

  1. Improving Clinical and Postmarket Evaluation:  This research area uses real-world evidence (RWE), complex innovative trial design (CID), modeling informed product development, product safety surveillance and digital health.   

  2. Tools to Effectively Use Big Data:  This theme highlights the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and big data. AI includes machine learning, deep learning, natural language processing, robotics, image recognition, etc. Big data are regularly amassed in nonclinical and clinical settings. The breadth, depth, and diversity of big data benefits and supports knowledge gaps. 

  3. Empowering Patients and Consumers:  Social and behavioral science research promotes the development of clear communication methods to diverse consumer populations and patients; creates awareness of patient/consumer preferences and perspectives; and disseminates new knowledge about methods used by patients and consumers to report their health status through different types of clinical outcome assessments, including patient-reported outcomes. A combination of strategies, including evidence-based approaches; evaluation of the impact of communication and educational materials; and understanding consumer beliefs, attitudes, etc. to inform the regulatory review process, communication strategies, and policy development are applied. 
  4. Product Development and Manufacturing: This area of research includes examining biomarkers, novel technologies (e.g., alternative methods for toxicity assessment), and advanced manufacturing.  Advanced manufacturing is a collective term for medical product development and manufacturing that incorporates technology or established techniques using innovative methods with the potential to improve medical product quality, address product shortages, and speed time-to-market.
  5. Advancing Products Based on Novel Technologies:  Included in this area of study are regenerative medicine, individualized and precision medicine, examination of the microbiome/microbiota, etc. Regenerative medicine refers to a global approach to restore, replace, or regenerate cells, tissues, or organs to treat or mitigate disease or dysfunction (e.g., cell therapy).  Individualized medicine refers to the development of therapeutics to address unmet medical needs respective of unique individual maladies. Precision medicine is an emerging approach for patient treatment decisions and disease prevention that considers genomic/genetic variabilities, environment, and lifestyle. The term microbiome/microbiota refers to the community of microbial organisms linked by physical location (ecosystems), function relationships, and collective genomic potential in homeostasis or dysbiosis. There is extensive data-based evidence that human, animal and environmental microbiota play significant and varied roles in states of health and disease. 
  6. Medical Countermeasures, Infectious Disease and Pathogen Reduction Technologies: The focus of this research includes medical countermeasures and technologies to support pathogen reduction of FDA-regulated medical products. Medical countermeasures are FDA-regulated products (biologics, drugs, devices) that can be used to diagnose, prevent, protect, or treat conditions caused by exposure to chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear threats, or emerging infectious diseases. This topic also includes technologies to reduce pathogen contamination through the use of innovative technologies to reduce or eliminate pathogens from FDA-regulated medical products to prevent transmission of infectious disease through their use. 

  7. Food and Cosmetic Safety:  Ensuring that the food people and animals eat is safe and protected from contamination is an essential element of promoting human and animal health.  FDA ensures that the nation’s food and cosmetic supply is safe from harmful chemical, microbial (inclusive antimicrobial resistance), and radiological contamination and other types of adulteration. FDA faces unique challenges in the oversight of human and animal food safety and cosmetic safety in the 21st century. It oversees nearly 90% of the food supply for humans and animals, including domestically produced and imported products, as well as human dietary supplements and botanicals.  This oversight and One Health approach includes continuous surveillance of the human and animal food supply for ongoing and emerging threats; development of methods for threat detection and quantitation; deployment of those methods to domestic and global partners; predictive toxicology and risk assessment; and strategic analysis of large amounts of data from numerous sources. Communication of these results and activities is vital to informing the public of the safety of the food supply both for them and their animals. 
  8. Substance Use, Misuse, and Addiction: FDA regulates controlled substances and tobacco. The use or misuse of these products may lead to physical or psychological dependence. This topic will explore substance use and use disorders due to controlled substances, including prescription opioids, benzodiazepines, and stimulants. Substance misuse may include unintended use of products (i.e., for a different indication, through a different route of exposure) or intended use of a product that results in harm to users (e.g., tobacco). When evaluating regulated products, FDA considers product abuse liability and addiction potential. Some common measures important in determining the abuse liability of a product can include pharmacokinetics, patterns of use, and the subjective effects of that product. 

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