Spotlight on the PAGE Student Sponsorship Winners 2019

One of my favorite things about being a scientist is how research brings people together. No matter your background, scientists all share a passion for expanding the frontiers of knowledge to improve patients’ quality of life. Scientific conferences are one of the best venues for sharing critical research insights and breakthroughs with other scientists who hail from all over the world. In my opinion, the ability to create community at scientific meetings—through a poster side chat, enjoying beers together, or a casual football game — is just as important as the learning opportunities.

And what better way to celebrate how science creates community than by supporting the PAGE Student Scholarships? At Certara, fostering the professional development of the next generation of research scientists is critical to our mission. This year is the 28th annual PAGE meeting which will take place from June 11-14 in Stockholm, Sweden. Here are profiles of some of this year’s scholarship winners and their research projects.

Ahmed Abulfathi is pursuing his doctorate in pharmacology at Stellenbosch University (South Africa) in the Department of Medicine’s Division of Clinical Pharmacology.

Research interests: Infectious disease and immunology. Ahmed is currently focusing on applying population pharmacokinetics modeling to optimize the treatment of tuberculosis (TB) in patients with or without HIV.

What he’s most excited about learning at PAGE: “I am looking forward to learning from the best pharmacometricians in academia and industry. It is also a great networking opportunity that could lead to collaborations that advance science. My research colleagues and I are delighted to present our paper at the PAGE meeting.”

His dream job: “I’d like to join a team where we can help improve patients’ health.

Mahmoud Tareq Abdelwahab is currently a doctoral student in the Pharmacometrics Research Group within the Clinical Pharmacology Division at Cape Town University (South Africa).

Research interests: Population pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of multi-drug resistant TB in patients with HIV co-infection

What he’s most excited about learning at PAGE: “I’m excited to attend PAGE this year to interact with world-class pharmacometricians, sharpen my modeling skills, and be exposed to new ideas in the field of pharmacometrics by attending different workshops offered at PAGE.”

His dream job: “My dream job applies model-based drug dosing to neglected populations to minimize their risk of toxicities and failed therapies.

Louvina Elizabeth van der Laan is a medical doctor working in pediatric TB/HIV clinical research and a PhD student in pharmacometrics. She has a passion for improving treatment for children affected by TB and HIV, which is a critically important, yet much neglected area of research. Few clinicians in South Africa have formal training in clinical pharmacology to support this emerging area of clinical research in children, so Louvina has decided to contribute to filling this gap and develop her career in clinical pharmacology research focused on pediatric TB.

Research interests: Her interests include PK/PD modelling in pediatrics of anti-TB and HIV drugs, drug-drug interactions, and statistical analysis using R.

What she’s most excited about learning at PAGE: “I’ll be attending the course by Certara UK Limited on Bridging PBPK with POPPK for Pediatrics. This course will broaden my skills in PK/PD modelling in pediatrics which is a specific interest for me. I’ll also be attending a course on R for Drug Development, by Rstudio, which would improve my skills using R. By attending PAGE, I’ll be exposed to new ideas and approaches in the field of pharmacometrics.”

Her dream job: Involves combining clinical knowledge and pharmacometric skills to improve the treatment of HIV and TB in children.

Kamunkhwala Gausi is a PhD candidate in clinical pharmacology in the Department of Medicine at the University of Cape Town (South Africa).

Research interests: Her current research interest focuses on the application of population pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamics (PK/PD) modeling to assess drug-drug-interactions (DDI) between anti-retroviral and TB drugs.

What she’s most excited about learning at PAGE: “PAGE offers an excellent opportunity to interact with experts in the field, network with pharmacometricians, expand my knowledge and skills, present my work, and get feedback on how to improve it.”

Her dream job: “It would involve applying modeling and medical knowledge to fight the high burden of poverty-related diseases in a job that provides growth opportunities.

Ka Ho “Matthew” Hui is pursuing his doctorate in pharmacy from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, School of Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine.

Research interests: His interests include pharmacometrics, precision medicine, developing model-based and therapeutic drug monitoring-based dose individualization interfaces, and evaluating methods of parameter estimations.

What he’s most excited about learning at PAGE: “I look forward to meeting friends and colleagues and attending workshops and seminars that present cutting-edge technologies in the field of pharmacometrics. I believe my first PAGE experience is going to open my eyes to knowledge and stories that I cannot otherwise see.”

His dream job: “Precision medicine has great potential to optimize treatment outcomes. I’d welcome opportunities to apply precision medicine, develop population models for this purpose, and facilitate clinical application of treatment individualization.

Eleni Karatza is a doctoral student in pharmacometrics at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (Greece), School of Health Sciences, Department of Pharmacy, Section of Pharmaceutical Technology.

Research interests: She’s interested in applying modeling and simulation in the clinical setting to optimize anti-cancer therapy using monoclonal antibodies and simulating clinical trials to aid decision-making.

What she’s most excited about learning at PAGE: “PAGE offers a wonderful opportunity to get in touch with the most outstanding scientists on the pharmacometrics field and learn through their experience. What’s more, I am looking forward to attending the workshops preceding the conference to expand my knowledge through learning new software. Finally, I am excited for my poster presentation as I will gain feedback regarding the quality of my research from pharmacometricians with different areas of expertise and point of views.”

Her dream job: “My dream job would involve research on M&S approaches in clinical pharmacology and its application to clinical practice to enhance the efficacy and safety of therapeutic agents.

Aida Kawuma is a doctoral student at the University of Cape Town (South Africa), Division of Clinical Pharmacology, Pharmacometrics Research Group.

Research interests: “My doctoral research focuses on the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of dolutegravir in populations with co-morbidities such as TB. Dolutegravir-based regimens are currently being rolled out across the African continent as the first-line option for the management of HIV.”

What she’s most excited about learning at PAGE: “PAGE offers a great opportunity to interact with fellow scientists in the field of pharmacometrics. With the wealth of experience and knowledge that is on offer, I intend to soak up as much as I can. In addition, I am particularly interested in learning about the application of modeling techniques to better predict drug concentrations in the fetus. Lastly, I am attending two satellite workshops, and these will help improve my knowledge and skill of different modeling software products.”

Her dream job: “It would apply my modelling skills to improve treatment outcomes for special populations such as pregnant women and neonates as well as patients suffering from diseases that are often neglected such as sickle cell disease. Also, I would cherish an opportunity to train new pharmacometricians.

Congratulations to all of this year’s PAGE student scholarship winners! Certara is also sponsoring multiple workshops at PAGE through Certara University and our Simcyp division. In addition, we’re sponsoring the annual PAGE Football Tournament, which promises to be fun-filled evening for players and spectators. From all of us at Certara, we wish you a wonderful meeting! See you in Stockholm!