Panda's next goal is to demonstrate the efficacy of these systems in other tumor models and to prove their broader application
potential, such as peptide-based nanosystems that may target tuberculosis, AIDS, and other global diseases.
University of California–San Francisco student Rachel Jean Eclov won for her research into "In Vivo Characterization of ABCG2 Enhancers," in the category of pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, drug metabolism, clinical pharmacology
and translational research. "Previous research on MXR functionality has been mostly aimed at functional (coding) variants
of MXR. My research is unique in that it looks for how other types of genomic variations can alter MXR expression and thus
drug disposition. I utilize epigenetic tools to unravel how MXR expression can be tissue specific or transiently increased
or decreased," she explained.
"I then consider how genetic variation in identified regulatory elements can alter the transcriptional properties of that
element. Although other epigenetic research has been published, the majority of it is on variations in regulatory elements
that cause developmental defects. My research uses epigenetics to identify genetic variations that impact the more subtle
world of drug disposition where the effects of these variations are not as obvious but can be just as severe." In terms of
how Eclov's research may affect future industry work, she says, "Even though my research is only at the initial edges of understanding
of the genetic regulation of an ADME gene, it can be used as a general template for others to research the genetic regulation
of their own gene of interest. It shows that there are many ways a gene's expression can be epigenetically regulated and thus
deregulated in cancers or by drug treatment. It is also important for scientists to realize that noncoding genetic variants
found in large screens, like a GWAS, could be very relevant 'hits' and that there are tools out there to help develop epigenetic
models for the function of these variants."
Another University of Connecticut student, Ekneet K. Sahni, won in the category of manufacturing science and engineering for
"Contact Drying in an Agitated Filter-Dryer: Experiments and Simulations." Says Sahni about the research, "Despite recent
advances made towards understanding the drying phenomena, intricacies involved in the process not only due to the coupled
nature of the process involving heat, mass, and momentum transport but also from their dependence on the material properties
and drying conditions, do not allow quantitative predictions with extreme accuracy. The penetration model has been long known
and considered as the industrial standard for contact drying. Nevertheless, it has disadvantages in the consideration of granular
mechanics due to its continuous nature. Until recently, most of the DEM-based heat transfer work was either two-dimensional
or in static granular beds." Sahni explains that the winning work was the first study employing 3D-DEM "to better understand
the granular behavior in an agitated filter-dryer by investigating the effect of process variables on the drying performance.
Major consideration has been given to the effect of speed, which has not been clearly understood in literature."
In terms of the work's relevance to future studies, Sahni says, "Along with improving our confidence for the use of DEM as
an emerging tool, it fills the gap in the literature for discrete approaches. The benefits are also seen in reduced developmental
resources and manufacturing costs without any production delays. Hence, process-modeling based on product development can
reduce the time required to get products to market as well as the healthcare costs by saving resources. Takeaways for the
scientists are that a priori performance predictive tool is developed that can help in predicting the final outcome even for
the process parameters outside the range studied and for any material which gives it an edge over other designs as well as
models which are mainly restricted to the parameters and/or material studied."
Brief PowerPoint presentations from each of the above graduate students appear on
. For a full list of all the AAPS 2012 Symposium Graduate Student awards, visit