Wednesday 30 November 2022 9:55am

Pharmacy Industry Day image 1
Back row, from left, is Adam Spurway, Dr Rohit Jain, Aaron Hancock and Dr Shakila Rizwan. Middle row, from left, is Dr Sachin Samant, Associate Professor Bruce Russell, Dr Daniel Reason, Pippa Newstead, Dr Sumit Dadhwal and Sjaan Evans. Front row, from left, is Dr Nick Gaddum, Anita Samant, Dr Jess Fairhall, Associate Professor Shyamal Das, Professor Carlo Marra and Akshay Nadkarni.

Otago's School of Pharmacy Research Day 2022 provided an opportunity to showcase the research underway in the School, hear from industry leaders about the latest in commercial developments and priorities, and strengthen relationships between the academic and commercial sides of the sector.

The day included presentations from fourteen postgraduate students on their research projects. There were industry booths and talks from six representatives that provided insight into their work, priorities, and the mutual benefits of collaboration between academic research and commercial industry.

Alongside the University, event sponsors were Biotec Solutions, Onelab, Lab Supply and John Morris Group.

Dean of the School of Pharmacy, Professor Carlo Marra says they are grateful for the support and strong industry presence.

“It was a fantastic opportunity for our researchers and colleagues in the industry to formulate and think collectively about what our shared areas are.

“It's good to gauge the aspirations of the commercial sector and what they are looking for, especially with the recent launch of our Bachelor of Pharmaceutical Sciences Degree that has a strong focus on working on the discovery and development of new drugs and therapies,” Professor Marra says.

One of the invited speakers was Sjaan Evans, General Manager of Research and Development, Douglas Pharmaceuticals. Her presentation included examples of successful collaborations the company has enjoyed with university research teams.

All participants on the lawn outside St Margaret's College, School of Pharmacy Research Day 2022 image
All participants on the lawn outside St Margaret's College, School of Pharmacy Research Day 2022.

“As part of research and development we have a lot of collaborations with universities, we can take a great idea into the commercial space, and we can support graduates to come into the industry. This event is also a great showcase of the wonderful people you have here at Otago,” Sjaan Evans says.

Research Fellow at the School of Pharmacy, Dr Jess Fairhall was one of the main organisers of the event. It was rewarding for her to give students a safe environment in which to present their research and skills - an opportunity that usually goes to the lead academic on a project. The day also creates potential connections for the future.

“The value of today for me is engaging with the industry. We want our research to have real world impact, and this is an opportunity to see our research translate into helping people,” Dr Fairhall says.

Best student speaker award went to Liang Kooi Kok for his presentation titled: Universal CAR-T cell therapy using stimuli-responsive Tags and Pro-tags.

Runner-up speaker award went to Harry Lewin for his presentation titled: Investigation into self-immolative linkers for cancer prodrugs leading to in situ bioactive synthesis.

Mr Lewin said he appreciated hearing what was going on across the School and connecting with industry, particularly on chemistry research and development. He also says, “with a thesis defence coming up it's great to practice speaking about this research.”

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