Starting this summer, students at Roosevelt University's College of Pharmacy (COP) will have the chance to do cutting-edge drug research alongside experienced faculty researchers in the University's new research laboratories.
The new labs for biochemistry, medicinal chemistry, pharmacology, pathophysiology and pharmaceutics/translational research are located in rooms 561 and 563 at the Schaumburg Campus. With their recent opening, pharmacy students now have the opportunity to do research in drug development and design, drug action at the cellular level, drug formulation delivery and manufacturing.
"We try to impress upon our students that one avenue they can take in utilizing a PharmD degree is to go into drug discovery and development," said Lawrence Potempa, associate professor of biochemistry and immunology and one of many faculty researchers who will lead students in elective research training for 10 weeks in the new labs over the summer.
"PharmD candidates need to understand everything about a drug -- from discovery to testing to FDA approval and marketing. They will find many opportunities to understand these things about drugs while doing research in our labs," Potempa said.
Moji Christianah Adeyeye, professor of Pharmaceutics and chair of Biopharmaceutical Sciences at Roosevelt, will oversee students and staff beginning in late May on research to develop an ophthalmic delivery system intended for treatment of cataracts and infections as well as dosage forms for children with HIV-AIDS. The dosage forms are now being tested in clinical trials in Nigeria.
"We will also be looking at what happens when a patient takes a test drug, documenting how different test formulations travel through the body and how fast they work," said Adeyeye, whose team includes Pharmaceutics Lab Manager and affiliate faculty member Ruth Adewuya, Assistant Professor of Pharmaceutics Ravi Panakanti and Associate Professor of Biopharmaceutics and Pharmacokinetics Amusa Adebayo.
The new laboratories at the Schaumburg Campus have different pieces of equipment used in synthesizing, developing and testing new drugs. These include a rotovap, high performance liquid chromatography, different types of microscopes, particle size analyzer, disintegration and dissolution apparati, humidity chambers (for stability testing) and tablet press.
In the College's new Medicinal Chemistry/Biochemistry/Pharmacology and Pathophysiology lab, Potempa and Assistant Professor of Medicinal Chemistry Sonali Kurup will be working over the summer as research scientists in search of new discoveries on how to inhibit HIV/AIDS as well as how to make bio-engineered proteins.
"This is a new paradigm for Roosevelt University," said Potempa. "We are bringing an expertise in biopharmaceutical research and development into the University and a passion through our work to make discoveries that will improve science as well as the health of people all over the world."
Potempa will work with three College of Pharmacy students on the protein research, while six College of Pharmacy students work over the summer under the direction of Kurup on her HIV/AIDS inhibitor research.
Meanwhile, three College of Pharmacy students plus four students from Elgin Community College who are part of the National Institutes of Health grant program at Roosevelt will work with Adeyeye and her team on drug development. "I think research is an important aspect of learning at the pharmacy school and I plan to take advantage of my time in the lab this summer," said Agata Siwak, a COP student.
"I just wanted to have some experience with research, which is why I've chosen to spend my time working with the experts in the College's research labs," added Agnieska Wasilik, another COP student working in the pharmaceutics lab this summer.