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NextGen Discovery Series – April 9, 2024

The NextGen Precision Health Discovery Series provides learning opportunities for UM System faculty and staff across disciplines, the statewide community and our other partners to learn about the scope of precision health research and identify potential collaborative opportunities. The series consists of monthly lectures geared toward a broad multidisciplinary audience so all can participate and appreciate the spectrum of precision health efforts. 

Information about this upcoming talk, including continuing education, is available below.

For questions about this event or any others in the Discovery Series, please reach out to Veronica Lemme at

“Chemistry in the Service of Biomedicine: Using Light to Control Biology and the Delivery of Therapeutics”

Speaker: Simon Friedman, Ph.D., Curator’s Distinguished Professor, Pharmacy, University of Missouri-Kansas City

Date: April 9, 2024, noon-1 p.m.

Location: Live presentation at Health Sciences Building, Room 5309, University of Missouri-Kansas City campus; live audience at Roy Blunt NextGen Precision Health Building, Atkins Family Seminar Room; and virtual option available


So much of biology and medicine hinges on the timing and spacing of events: The development of an organism is emblematic of this. The patterning of body shape depends on the spacing, timing and amount of gene expression. We have developed chemical tools that allow for us to control the spacing, timing and degree of gene expression using light. Light is a particularly appealing tool, because it is easy to manipulate, and once you link a process to it, it is relatively straightforward to control when the process happens, where it happens and to what degree it happens. We also have applied this idea of light control of biological processes to the challenge of therapeutic protein delivery. Some therapeutics require dosing that varies continuously throughout the day (e.g. insulin). The classic ways of enabling this variability, namely a pump and canula inserted into a patient, are beset by a wide range of problems (infections, occlusions and variability). Instead, we are developing tools to use light to control the release of therapeutics, which then allows continuous variability with minimal invasiveness. All of this work leverages the power of chemistry and applies it at the interface of chemistry, biology and medicine to answer critical questions and address important therapeutic needs.  

About the Speaker

Simon Friedman is an interfacial scientist, writer and artist. He trained in chemistry at Massachusetts Institute ofSimon Friedman Technology (S.B.), University of California, San Francisco (Ph.D.) and California Institute of Technology (National Institutes of Health, or NIH, postdoctoral fellowship). He is currently a Curators Distinguished Professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and heads an NIH supported laboratory focused on biomedical problems at the interface of chemistry and biology. His work has been described in the pages of The Economist, The New York Times and on NPR. He is the winner of Science Magazine’s “Visions of the Future” essay contest, a featured writer for Nature Chemistry’s “In Your Element” series and featured in multiple films in the New York City Food Film Festivals, including a selection as “Best of the Decade” in 2016. He has also won the University of Missouri’s highest award for teaching, the Governor’s Award. In addition to speaking internationally on his research, he has given talks on “Tradition” to the Creative Mornings Community and “The Role of Immigrants in American Science” to TEDx.


Continuing Professional Education Credit

Successful Completion of this activity, which includes participating in the educational offering, participating in the evaluation process and completing the verification of attendance, enables the learner to satisfy the requirements for continuing education.

Nursing Contact Hours

University of Missouri Sinclair School of Nursing is approved as a provider of nursing continuing professional development by the Midwest Multistate Division, an accredited approver by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation (ANCC). 

1.0 contact hour may be awarded.


The University of Missouri-Columbia School of Medicine is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians. 

The University of Missouri-Columbia School of Medicine designates this live educational activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians should only claim the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Missouri Board of Pharmacy


The Continuing Education Committee of the Missouri Board of Pharmacy has reviewed and approved an application for continuing education for the NextGen Precision Health Discovery-Chemistry in the Service of Biomedicine: Using Light to Control Biology and the Delivery of Therapeutics session. 


Name of Program 

NextGen Precision Health Discovery-Chemistry in the Service of Biomedicine: Using Light to Control Biology and the Delivery of Therapeutics 


Program Number 



Approved Dates: 

April 9, 2024 

Approved Contact Hours: One(s) (1) CE(s) per session

Financial Relationships

Current ACCME and Midwest Multistate Division, ANCC rules state that participants in continuing education activities should be made aware of any relevant affiliation or financial interest in the previous 24 months that may affect the planning of an educational activity or a speaker’s presentation(s). Each planning committee member and speaker has been requested to complete a financial relationship reporting form for the NextGen Precision Health Discovery Series. No planning committee member or speaker has a relevant financial interest.