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Barbara Slusher, Ph.D., MAS & Peter Simpson

Barbara S. Slusher, PhD, MAS, is Director of the Neurotranslational Drug Discovery Program at the Johns Hopkins University Brain Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland. She is also Professor of Neurology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience at the University.

Dr. Slusher received her undergraduate degree from Dickinson College where she graduated valedictorian, majoring in Chemistry. She received her Ph.D. in Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences from John Hopkins School of Medicine while simultaneously earning her Master's degree in Administrative Science from Johns Hopkins Carey School of Business (formerly the Hopkins' School of Continuing Studies).

Before joining Johns Hopkins in 2010, Dr. Slusher spent 18 years in the pharmaceutical industry, including several years at the level of Senior Vice President of Research and Translational Development. She has extensive experience in drug discovery through Phase I/IIa clinical development and was involved in the successful development, launch and post marketing support of 4 branded medicines. At Johns Hopkins, Dr. Slusher leads the largest integrated drug discovery program on campus with a veteran team of medicinal chemists, assay developers, pharmacologists, toxicologists, and pharmacokinetics/drug metabolism experts. The team is engaged in identifying novel drug targets arising from the faculty’s research and translating them into new drug therapies for neurologic and psychiatric disorders.

Dr. Slusher has published over 150 scientific articles and is the inventor on more than 50 patents and applications. She is a co-founder of Cerecor, a biopharma company focused on central nervous system disorders (, and is leading the first-ever International Consortium for Academic Drug Discovery scientists in an effort to coordinate and enhance university-led drug discovery efforts (

Peter is Director of Screening Sciences for AstraZeneca, and has extensive Pharma experience in early drug discovery. Peter heads AZ’s Early Discovery Partnerships initiative for open innovation. In this role he has established innovative discovery alliances with academic translational centres, SMEs, and other Pharma. He has identified, prioritised and negotiated these partnerships via competitive analysis, strategic thinking and relationship building. Peter is responsible for Alliance Management of several strategic partnerships, and leads the Target Innovation global open innovation initiative for AZ.

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