Grad Student Research Sparks Innovation through AAPS Awards

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At this week’s AAPS 2012 Annual Meeting in Chicago, graduate students across the country are being honored for their research and work in bio/pharmaceutical innovation.

At this week’s AAPS 2012 Annual Meeting in Chicago, graduate students across the country are being honored for their research and work in bio/pharmaceutical innovation. Pharmaceutical Technology had the chance to talk with a few of the recipients.

Biotechnology winner David W. Woessner noted that his team’s work at the University of Utah on Synthetically Lethal Combinations for CML Therapy demonstrates the first development of a protein/peptide-based therapeutic for CML. “While current therapies in the clinic (tyrsosine kinase inhibitors) act on the ABL portion of the protein, we are demonstrating efficacy by targeting the BCR portion, necessary for oligomerization and activation of the tyrosine kinase. Additionally this work also exploits a combination therapy approach early in development,” he said.

Lakshmi Prasanna Kolluru who won for drug design and development focused her work on albumin-based theragnostic nanoparticles for tumor targeted drug delivery. Based Mercer University, the PhD candidate says she was inspired as a teenager by her cousin, a cancer patient suffering from the side effects of chemotherapy. “She was disturbed psychologically when she had lost her hair due to side effects and this spurred the interest in me to focus on cancer research. So, when my professor gave me the freedom to design a project, I opted to work on development of a delivery system that targets anti cancer drugs to tumor and reduces the side-effects of chemotherapy,” said Kolluru.

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 and 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 explains. “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.”

Full interviews with the winners will appear in the PharmTech December issue. Below is a list of all the graduate students’ winning universities and paper titles:

AAPS Graduate Student Symposium in Analysis & Pharmaceutical Quality
-University of Georgia
“Quantification and Characterization of siRNA and its Metabolites in Biological Matrices”

-University of Minnesota
“Investigating the Role of Polymer Concentration on the Physical Stability of Nifedipine-PVP Solid Dispersions”

-Purdue University
“Assessment of Molecular Drug-polymer Interactions by Mid-infrared Spectroscopy as a Polymer Selection Tool for Formulating Amorphous Solid Dispersions with Optimal Physical Stability”

-Virginia Commonwealth University
“High Performance Liquid Chromatographic Method and Selectivity Investigation for the Analysis of Nicotine in Biorelevant Release/Permeation Studies of Smokeless Tobacco”

AAPS Graduate Student Symposium in Biotechnology
-University of Utah
“Synthetically Lethal Combinations for CML Therapy-Disrupting Dimerization of Bcr-Abl and Secondary Leukemia Specific Pathways”

-The University of Texas at Austin
“Modeling Pre-existing Immunity to Adenovirus as a Method to Identify Novel Formulations for a Protective Ebola Vaccine”

-University of Connecticut
“Elucidation of Cellular Uptake Mechanism of Novel Ternary Anionic-siRNA Lipoplexes”

-University of Southern California
“A Highly Potent, Choroid-targeted, Transferrin-tumstatin Fusion Protein and an In Situ Forming Slow-release Hydrogel for the Treatment of Choroidal Neovascularization”

AAPS Graduate Student Symposium in Drug Discovery and Development Interface
-University of Southern California
“Mechanistic Evaluation of a Mitochondrial-targeted Small Molecule as a Novel Treatment for Pancreatic Cancer”

-The University of Louisiana at Monroe
“Modulation of EGF-receptors Signaling by Small Peptidomimetics and its Implications in Breast Cancer Progression”


-University of the Pacific
“Molecular Docking, Synthesis of Novel Quinazolin Analogues as Inhibitors of Transcription Factors NF-kappaB Activation and their Anti-cancer Activities”

-Mercer University
“Design and Development of Albumin Based Theragnostic Nanoparticles for Tumor Targeted Drug Delivery”

AAPS Graduate Student Symposium in Formulation Design and Development
-Florida A&M University
“Theranostic Tumor Homing Pegylated Nanocarrier Drug Delivery System for Treatment of Cancer”

-Purdue University
“Understanding Polymer Properties Important for Crystal Growth Inhibition-Impact of Chemically Diverse Polymers on Solution Crystal Growth of Ritonavir”

-F.M. University, Orissa, India
“Self-assembled Dipeptide Nanotubes, Nanovesicles and Nanogels: Potential Vehicles for Targeted Tumor Drug Delivery”

AAPS Graduate Student Symposium in Manufacturing Science and Engineering
-University of Connecticut
“Contact Drying in an Agitated Filter-Dryer: Experiments and Simulations”

AAPS Graduate Student Symposium in Physical Pharmacy and Biopharmaceutics
Sponsored by Bristol-Myers Squibb Company
-University of Wisconsin, Madison
“Surface Diffusion of the Organic Glass Nifedipine”

-University of Minnesota
“Molecular Mobility as an Effective Predictor of the Physical Stability of Amorphous State”

AAPS Graduate Student Symposium in Pharmacokinetics, Pharmacodynamics, and Drug Metabolism and Clinical Pharmacology and Translational Research
-University of Colorado
“Expression and Activity of Drug Transporters in Human Ocular Barriers and Disease Related Changes: Implications for Transporter Guided Retinal Drug Delivery”

- University of Cincinnati
“Brain/Brain Tumor Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacodynamics of Letrozole”

-University of California, San Francisco
“In Vivo Characterization of ABCG2 Enhancers”

-University at Buffalo
“Effect of Monocarboxylate Transporter Inhibition on the Oral Toxicokinetics/Toxicodynamics of -hydroxybutyrate (GHB) and -butyrolactone (GBL)”

-University of Minnesota
“Application of a Novel Microemulsion Formulation of Elacridar to Improve Drug Distribution into the Brain for Therapy of Glioblastoma”

-University of Buffalo, SUNY
“Modeling Effects of Dexamethasone on Disease Progression of Bone Mineral Density in Collagen-induced Arthritic Rats”