Guest Lecture Series Fall 2015

Welcome to the Fall Semester! AAPS student chapter is back with all new exciting networking events. The first speaker for our Guest speaker series was Dr. Andy Vick who is serving as the Vice President of Analytical Services at WIL Research. He was here on September 17th 2015, to share his insights on ‘Emerging trends in pharmaceuticals and bio pharmaceuticals’.

Andy started his journey as the Principal scientist at Biogen and Elililly. He then served as the Director and Vice President at Millipore and Seventh Wave Laboratories. Currently being the Vice President at WIL Research he is involved in various tasks involving scientific, operational, and financial performance of Analytical Chemistry, Formulation Science, Bioanalytical Chemistry, Immunoassay, and ADME/DMPK. He is also contributing towards the progress of AAPS and International Federation of Pharmaceutical Scientists (FIP) by being the part of team of  Directors.

Possessing a versatile persona, Andy had shared his views which reflected a combination of his sophisticated scientific knowledge, his keen business insights, and great soft people skills.

What he had to say..?

The agenda of his talk was to focus on the changing scenario of the Pharmaceutical Industry and how we as scientists can benefit by preparing ourselves for the future. Research is no longer about Pharmaceutical company or R&Ds but it also involves starts ups, CROs and academic labs. Forecasters predict that the market for prescription drug sales will grow by 5.1% per year to reach 1T$ by 2020.  2015 seems a promising year with a predicted growth of 5.4%. Talking about the trends in Pharmaceutical market, most of the profits from the industry will come from oncology, biologic drugs and most probably therapeutic vaccines. He reiterated the fact of sustainable trend with a prompt example of Roche Pharma which will continue to be the largest player in the oncology market with >25B in sales; accounting for over 1/3 of the market.  They are expected to top the charts entirely through 2020. Speaking of the market trends, he emphasized on the observing that the US sales for the NME’s has been on the rise in recent years, 2013 being the bumper year.

Since 2013 on an average 30-40 NME’s are being approved every year.He drew our attention towards the fact that we should not only acknowledge the profit of big companies but also that of relatively smaller companies. For instance, Gilead sciences showed more than double increase in profit in last 1-2 years.This leaves the emerging Pharma Industry highly competitive and profitable as global demand for new and improved medicines increases. Hence job opportunities will remain ever-growing and intense.

More than just technical skills he stated the importance of having an attitude full of compassion, empathy and cordiality. Leadership, teamwork and networking are the necessary attributes, a good scientist should always possess. Speaking of performing well at a job interview he quoted that ‘You have only one chance to make the first impression’. The Employer’s goal is to determine in that limited time if we are capable of performing well for the aspiring position. For that he will look for a candidature of high competence, great enthusiasm with a positive mindset and personality.

Take home message.

The opportunities in Pharmaceutical field will always rise with time, but considering the above viewpoints of market trends and employ ability we the scientists will have a better edge over others.

Token of appreciation from Dr Lin
Token of appreciation from Dr Lin

Guest Speaker Presentation on April 8th, 2015

SJUAAPS participates in the Pharmacy Career Day!

SJUAAPS was represented by the committee Webmaster Ms. Shruthi Gobbooru, in the Pharmacy Career Day, held in the D’ Angelo Center, on Thursday, March 12th, 2015.


Many reputed hospitals, Pharmacies and Governmental Organizations which recruit the Pharmacy students in Clinical and Hospital settings were present at the Career Day. Ms. Gobbooru interacted with many enthusiastic undergraduate Pharmacy students who wanted to know about the scope of Pharmacy students in an Industrial setting. She gave them insights about the work SJUAAPS does for students of the COPHS here at St. John’s University, and how undergraduate students can benefit from attending various workshops & guest lectures organized by SJUAAPS. She also spoke to them about the advantages of networking in the field of Pharmaceuticals. Many students also inquired her about how to become a part of AAPS and also expressed interest & signed up to become active members in the team of SJUAAPS.

Tidbits from our coffee hour with Dr. Barile

Hello everyone,

We hope that everybody had a great weekend, refreshed yourselves and are rejuvenated for the week ahead. The last week on Wednesday March 11 2015, enthusiastic undergraduate and graduate students had a very interesting get together with Dr. Frank Barile, the Chair of Pharmaceutical Sciences from our College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, in the Sciarra room. Our learned professor from Industrial Pharmacy, Dr. Abu Serajuddin, also participated in the coffee hour. Dr. Barile and Dr. Serajuddin answered many questions and entertained ideas & suggestions from the students for more than an hour. Dr. Sabesan Yoganathan from our Medicinal Chemistry department and Dr. Simerdeep Singh Gupta, our Postdoctoral Fellow from Industrial Pharmacy department also gave their valuable insights during the meeting.

DSC_0135 DSC_0136

“Is there a chance for our graduate students from the college of Pharmacy, to take part in Industrial internships?”

“Will it be possible to setup a graduate student lounge in favor of the graduate students here from the COPHS?”

“Will it be a feasible idea to set up a common instrument room, accommodating expensive instruments, for the ease of research, and for the use by all graduate students alike?”

“What is the best way to join a research lab in the Pharmaceutical Sciences and how to choose a mentor?”

“What is the ideal timeline to be followed by the Doctoral students, starting from Day 1, which ensures a successful completion of their doctoral education within a span of 4-5 years?”

These are some of the questions posed by certain students and Dr. Barile & Dr. Serajuddin answered them in the best possible way. The discussion actually shed light on some of the administration-related topics which are also to be taken care of to ensure the smooth running of an educational institution and a successful research facility.


Refreshments which were organized by our SJU-AAPS Vice-Chair Ms. Sayma Monir and our Treasurer Ms. Sowmya Gabbula, lifted up the tired-minds from the hectic work of the weekday. Though our students & staff had many other interesting topics for discussion, due to time constraints, the coffee hour was ended on a cheery note.


In the end, Mr. Pulkit Khatri, Ex-Chair for SJU-AAPS (2013-2014) presented an appreciation certificate to Dr. Barile.

Dr. Frank Barile was positively delighted to find out about the involvement and dedication of SJUAAPS towards the betterment of professional & extracurricular grounds of the graduate student community of the COPHS.

Equipment Workshop Today!

Dear all,

Welcome to Spring 2015!

AAPS Student Chapter is pleased to invite you to an exciting opportunity to learn and get basic training in our equipment workshop on:

 “Hot Melt Extrusion” by

 Simerdeep Singh Gupta, Ph.D.

Post-Doctoral Fellow, St. John’s University

February 11, 2014 (Wednesday) @ 4-5 PM (B2, St. Albert’s Hall)

  *Refreshments served afterwards!

Abstract: The prospect for the development of solid dispersion has greatly improved during the past decade due to the introduction of hot melt extrusion (HME) in the pharmaceutical field. HME has many advantages over other solvent-based technologies used for preparation of solid dispersions. It is a continuous, less time-consuming process that can be scaled up relatively easily. It is also less prone to batch-to-batch variability than other processes. Also, being solvent-free, it poses minimal environmental hazards. However, there are still many challenges in the development of new drug products by melt extrusion. Being a relatively new technology in the pharmaceutical field, the formulation and processing parameters of HME are not fully understood. In most of the published reports, it is not defined how the appropriate polymers, drug-polymer blends and the processing temperatures are selected. A good understanding of the material properties, such as the glass transition temperature (Tg) and the melt viscosity of polymers as well as drug-polymer blends and the drug-polymer miscibility is needed before the development of processing conditions for any new products. The drug-polymer mixtures should also be extrudable at as low a temperature as possible to minimize potential of degradation of drug, polymer or both.

 About the Speaker: Simerdeep Singh Gupta, Ph.D. is currently a post-doctoral research fellow at St. John’s University, specializing in factors affecting miscibility and extrusion of solid dispersions of various drug-polymer combinations by hot melt extrusion technique. He received his Ph.D.’14 and M.S.’10 in Industrial Pharmacy at St. John’s University (Queens Campus, NY). His doctoral dissertation covered the research area of rheology aspects of Hot Melt Extrusion for solubility enhancement of poorly water soluble drugs. Dr. Gupta investigated formulation and processing factors that affect the performance of solid dispersions. Dr. Gupta has several research achievements in his career including the design and completion a Master’s thesis project on formulation of polymeric nanoparticles using design of experiment approach prepared by nanoprecipitation for brain targeting, and investigation of process and formulation parameters for formulation of cocrystals entrapped in cyclodextrin complex by supercritical fluid processing.

Additionally, Dr. Gupta also played a key role in establishing hot melt extrusion and film casting technology at St. John’s University, NY and was responsible for planning and execution of a grant proposal by Catalent Pharma Solutions in the area of hot melt extrusion. He has been a recipient to various awards like NJPhAST scholarship, FDD travelship award, Catalent R&D recognition award and Modified Release Focus Group-Shering Plough travelship award at AAPS conference. Dr. Gupta has several publications to his account and has made many poster and podia presentations at international conferences. As a graduate student, Dr. Gupta also served as a Chair for AAPS Student Chapter in 2012-13 academic year.

Guest Lecture Today

Hello everyone,

We hope that everybody had a really refreshing Thanksgiving break and spent quality time with your near & dear! As they say, “you can do anything but not everything!”. So, instead of lugging your Monday with undoable tasks, please attend the Guest speaker presentation today i.e, on December 1st, 2014 at 3:30p.m-4:30p.m in the Sciarra Room.

Ph.D, Principal Scientist, Biopharmaceutics at Merck & Co. Inc.
Ph.D, Principal Scientist, Biopharmaceutics at Merck & Co. Inc.

Our guest speaker for today will be Dr. Amitava Mitra, Principal Scientist, Biopharmaceutics at Merck & Co. Inc. and his presentation covers “How to prepare for an industrial career while in a graduate program”. This presentation will be very useful for those graduate students who are trying to make a career in the Pharmaceutical Industry. Please do attend the presentation to get some hands-on career guidance. 

*Refreshments will be served

Halloween Candy & Snack Sale

Hi everyone!

AAPS Student Chapter is raising money for “SJU Bread for life” by

“Halloween Candy & Snack Sale”

Oct 29, 2014 (Wednesday) @ 10 am – 5 pm

St. Albert’s Hall Lobby (Outside Dean’s Office) 

Join us to raise money! Halloween candies on sale. Get a Henna tattoo and free candy corns!


Upcoming Presentation by Two Guest Speakers from Evonik Pharma

Hello everyone!

The first Guest lecture for this Fall semester will be on October 27th at 2:00 p.m. We will be having Dr. Firouz Asgarzadeh and Mitul Patel, from Evonik Pharma. Dr. Asgarzadeh’s topic of presentation will be “An overview functional coating systems with methacrylic copolymers” and Mitul Patel will be talking about “Functional Coating Scale Up Considerations”.

Here’s a summary of their presentations:

“Methacrylic Copolymers (Eudragit) have been used for enteric protection, sustained release, taste-masking and moisture protection of active pharmaceutical Ingredients (API) for 60 years.
During these presentations, we will review the chemistry, physical properties and applications of  Eudragit polymers  in functional coating of APIs. The formulation, process conditions and scale up strategies in tablet and particle coating processes will be discussed in depth.

Biography of Dr. Asgarzadeh:

Firouz Asgarzadeh DSC_0061  1200 x 1807 PPT social media

Dr. Asgarzadeh, is the Director of Technical Services at Evonik Pharma Polymers and Services, North America Region, supporting the EUDRAGIT® modified delivery product line. Dr. Asgarzadeh has over 13 years of experience in the development of solid, liquid  and injectable pharmaceutical formulations. His current research interest at Evonik is the development of innovative formulations and processes for targeted oral drug delivery, injectable extended release, solubility and bioavailability enhancement of
poorly soluble actives.

Prior to joining Evonik, he was Principal Scientist at Merck (Schering-Plough) and Senior
Scientist at Catalent Pharma Solutions (Cardinal Health) where he developed several early
and late stage oral solid and lipid products focusing his research on solubility enhancement technology platforms inducing self (micro) emulsifying drug delivery systems (S(M)EDDS) and pharmaceutical melt extrusion. Dr. Asgarzadeh is the current Chair Elect for Contract Research Organization (CRO) focus group and past chair for Excipient Focus Group (EFG).

Dr. Asgarzadeh earned his Ph.D. in Polymeric Materials and Composites from Université
Claude Bernard (Lyon I), France in 1999. During his Ph.D. in Lyon and post-doctoral year at UPenn, his research was focused on the applications of Living Radical Polymerization methods (ATRP and RAFT) in the manufacturing of polymers with complex architectures. He also has master degrees in Physical Chemistry of Molecular and Macromolecular Materials from Université Louis Pasteur (Strasbourg I), France, and in Polymer Technology and Industry from the University of Tehran-Polytechnic, Iran.

Biography of Mitul Patel: 

Mitul Patel DSC_0015   1200 x 1807 PPT social mediaMitul Patel is a Principal Scientist at Evonik Pharma Polymers North American region for Eudragit Polymer lines.

Mitul Patel has over 9 years of experience in drug product development (specifically solid orals), scale up and wide range of pharmaceutical coating applications.

Prior to joining Evonik, he was working as a formulation scientist at Aurobindo Pharma USA and Sun Pharmaceutical Inc, where he developed generic drug formulations including modified release dosage forms and different coating applications to develop sustained release products for submission to USFDA.

Mitul holds a Bachelor degree in pharmaceutical science.

SJU-AAPS Committee participates in the University Service Day!

The new SJU-AAPS committee have kickstarted their Fall activities by taking part in the University Service Day which was held on Saturday, September 27, 2014. They visited the Women’s Housing and Economic Development Corporation (WHEDCo) in South Bronx where the volunteers worked on the entire farm clearing crops for winter, weeding, and harvesting vegetables that were distributed to residents. The team was lead by Sawanee Khongsawatwaja, the Assistant Dean of the College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences, St. John’s University. usd

Welcome the new committee of SJU-AAPS student chapter (2014-2015)!

The elections for the new committee of our SJU-AAPS student chapter were successfully held last Monday i.e., September 8, 2014 between 4.30p.m – 5.30p.m in the Sciarra room amidst enthusiastic students and faculty of the College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences, St. John’s University. The elections were held for the posts of : Chair-elect, Vice-Chair, Secretary, Treasurer & Webmaster. A good number of graduate students from various departments of the Pharmacy college casted their votes, declaring their support to the fellow graduate students who were competing for various posts in the elections. The new committee for the academic year 2014-2015 will be spearheaded by Neha Chavan as the Chair, Prachi Jirvankar as the Chair-elect, Sayma Monir as the Vice-Chair, Bhargav Patel as the Secretary, Soumya Gabbula as the Treasurer, Shruthi Gobbooru as the Webmaster. Let’s congratulate the new committee and also give them our best wishes for a

Our new committee with Dr. Senshang Lin (from left to right): Soumya, Prachi, Bhargav, Neha, Shruthi & Sayma.
Our new committee with Dr. Senshang Lin (from left to right): Soumya, Prachi, Bhargav, Neha, Shruthi & Sayma.

great success in the coming academic year!