Ph.D. candidates Tingting Li and André Beringhs win 2020 IPEC Americas Foundation Award

Faculty member Xiuling Lu speaks with a student in a laboratory inside the UConn School of Pharmacy
Associate Professor Xiuling Lu with members of his lab team at the School of Pharmacy on Nov. 8, 2018. (Sean Flynn/UConn Photo)

Tingting Li, a Ph.D. candidate in Dr. Diane Burgess’ laboratory, and André Beringhs, a Ph.D. candidate in Dr. Xiuling Lu’s laboratory, were recently awarded the 2020 International Pharmaceutical Excipients Council of the Americas Foundation (IPEC) award for graduate students. Li and Beringhs were two of five Ph.D candidates nationally to receive the award.

Their awards were recognized during the IPEC Foundation’s virtual awards ceremony on October 25, 2020. Congratulations to the recipients for their efforts and contributions to the field of excipients!

“There is an overall lack of understanding of how, when and where nanoparticles go after given to a patient. Our goal is to develop novel nanoparticle-based contrast platforms for X-ray Computed Tomography, with potential of directly imaging the vascular function and leakiness of tumor tissues in the clinic,” says Beringhs.

Andre Beringhs in the Pharmacy Lab
Ph.D. Candidate André Beringhs in a School of Pharmacy Laboratory

To combat this issue, Beringhs and team members been developing a nanocapsule system with a liquid contrast payload inside, creating challenges from a commercial perspective due to inherent instabilities. They employed excipients to improve colloidal stability and ensure product performance in vivo. Their approach would then enable patient screening to determine the likelihood of success of nanoparticle-based therapies by understanding the extent of nanoparticle accumulation in the tissues of interest.

Li’s research in Dr. Burgess’ laboratory is working to develop a mucoadhesive in situ forming gel for oral mucositis pain control. “The formulation is sprayable at room temperature and forms a mucoadhesive gel on contact with the oral mucosa,” says Li. “The formulation will have a prolonged duration of anesthesia as well as reduced numbing towards the healthy oral mucosa, compared with a liquid oral rinse (current treatment method).”

Tingting Li in the Pharmacy Laboratory
Ph.D. Candidate Tingting Li in the Pharmacy Laboratory

The International Pharmaceutical Excipient Council of the Americas Foundation “sponsors up to five annual scholarships annually to acknowledge excellence in research conducted at graduate level in the field of excipients. The scholarships focus on recent significant contributions to formulation science and technology through innovative research with excipients.”

IPEC -Americas Foundation is the charitable arm of the International Pharmaceutical Excipients Council of the Americas.

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