The United States Pharmacopeial Convention (USP) has announced that an international group of three scientists are the recipients of USP’s 2014–2015 Global Fellowship Awards, aimed at advancing research involving quality standards for medicines. The recipients’ research will involve analytical tools useful in researching the safety of biopharmaceutical drugs, the detection of substandard drugs in the developing world, and the quality of dry powder inhaler products.
“The impact of encouraging scientists at the launch of their careers is something that extends far beyond the projects they undertake now, expanding the knowledge and skills they will carry to all future work,” noted USP chief executive officer Ronald T. Piervincenzi, PhD, in a press release. “As a student I was able to benefit from various research and fellowship programs, and I am very pleased that USP has a long-standing tradition of assisting future generations of researchers.”
Since the inception of the Global Fellowship Program in 1981, more than 200 scholars have received awards totaling nearly $4 million. The research supports USP’s mission to improve global health through public standards and programs that help ensure the quality, integrity, safety, and benefit of medicines and will also help address specific scientific needs.
Each of the following students has received a $30,000 USP Global Fellowship Award for the 2014–2015 academic year:
Khaja Muneeruddin, PhD candidate, University of Massachusetts-Amherst
Area of research: New mass spectrometry-based methods to characterize highly heterogeneous biopharmaceuticals
This project includes the development of novel analytical tools to characterize the natural diversity of biopharmaceutics, contributing to the safety of biopharmaceutical drugs. The methods developed under the guidance of Dr. Igor Kaltrashov, director of the chemistry department, will allow for thorough characterization of biopharmaceutical drugs to detect heterogeneity, which, in certain cases, affects their therapeutic activity.
Nicholas M. Myers, PhD candidate, University of Notre Dame
Area of research: Paper-based iodometric titration for quantification of antibiotics
This research is related to the Paper Analytical Device (PAD) project, which was primarily developed to test for counterfeit medications in developing countries, but the technology has also been adapted for other uses, such as testing for iodine deficiency. Led by Dr. Marya Lieberman, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry, the PAD project uses paper-based technologies to test for the presence of specific chemicals in various substances. This technology is especially useful in low-resource settings where sophisticated lab equipment may not be available.
Ahmed O. Shalash, PhD candidate, Alexandria University, Egypt
Area of research: Investigation of performance descriptor(s) in carrier-based dry powder inhalers
The research deals with investigation of the role of carrier surface roughness. Under the supervision of professor of pharmacy Mohammed Khalafallah, the ultimate goal of the project is development of characterization techniques that express performance and are suitable for routine quality control of dry powder inhaler products. The possibility of replacing lactose with other carriers will also be studied.