Jeff’s SEM photograph selected as finalist in Photo Show/Contest for the Graduate Revels at Northrop

Jeff’s SEM photograph (“Drug Solubilization with Engineered Polymer Design,” shown below) has been selected as a finalist in the Photo Show/Contest for the Graduate Revels at Northrop. This submission will be mounted and displayed in the Photo Show on the 3rd Floor walkway of the Northrup lobby, and it will also appear in a video loop in the Study Lounge at the west end of Memorial Hall.

“Given a choice, most people can agree that taking a pill to alleviate sickness or combat disease is a preferable form of administration. Unfortunately, the majority of drugs in development exhibit extremely poor solubility in the stomach and gastrointestinal tract, limiting their oral bioavailability. Furthermore, major drug companies on average spend $4 billion per newly developed drug and $1.3 billion to bring it to market – this total cost is equivalent to about 1500 Super Bowl advertisements per drug!

In the face of these problems, solid dispersions of polymers and drugs have emerged as remarkable, cost-competitive materials to address these issues. Polymers, or long molecular chains spanning hundreds to millions of individual repeat units, can encapsulate drug molecules and increase drug solubility and release. Depending on the polymer and drug combination, anywhere from a 10- to 1000-fold increase in delivery efficacy has been demonstrated using solid dispersions.

This colorized scanning electron microscopy image captures the morphology of prepared solid dispersions on the nanoscale. The raisin-like shape results from a competition between kinetics and thermodynamics during atomization of the polymer and drug mixture. Polymer synthesis can impart specific chemical functionalities to stabilize drug molecules until they reach their intended therapeutic targets. Altogether, precise control of repeat unit incorporation in the polymer microstructure enables the enhancement of drug storage and delivery so that medicine can be more readily available and beneficial in treatment.”