Ph.D. Student Mustafa Bookwala Wins NIPTE Rigaku Summer Research Scholarship

Mustafa BookwalaThe National Institute for Pharmaceutical Technology and Education (NIPTE) has named Duquesne University Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences Ph.D. student Mustafa Bookwala the winner of the the 2022 NIPTE Rigaku Summer Research Scholar.

The scholarship awards a summer research fellowship of $10,000 to cover travel, lodging and stipend for a graduate student to complete a research project at the Rigaku Laboratory in Houston, Texas. The diffraction laboratory at Rigaku boasts unique instrumentation that is generally unavailable at any university facility, enabling the awardee to complete advanced characterization experiments under the technical guidance of Rigaku expert scientists, according to the NIPTE website.

The research conducted by Bookwala in the pharmaceutics lab overseen by Peter L.D. Wildfong, Ph.D. that led to winning the scholarship award focuses on increasing the dissolution rate of new candidate drug molecules to ultimately improve dose accuracy. As drug discovery efforts advance, an increasingly large percentage of new candidate drug molecules have low aqueous solubility, leading to poor dissolution rates and lower bioavailability. Formulation of these compounds as amorphous solid dispersions (ASD) is of interest owing to a potential increase in the apparent solubility of amorphous solids relative to their crystalline forms. However, amorphous solids are physically unstable, resulting in recrystallization and losing the aforementioned advantages. Bookwala's research focuses on increasing the shelf-life of ASD preparation by understanding the implications of non-covalent interactions between the drug and the polymer on the physical stability of ASDs and helps increase the drug loading in the ASD product leading to smaller dosage forms and better patient compliance. 

"I am ecstatic to be the recipient of the NIPTE Rigaku Summer Research Scholarship," Bookwala said. "This award allows me to pursue fundamental scientific research at the advanced laboratory at Rigaku, which is a leader in developing innovative analytical technologies. Access to unique tools that are unavailable in a university setting and technical guidance from Rigaku experts will help understand and solve a scientific problem much more rapidly and efficiently. This award would not be possible without the guidance and constant encouragement from my Ph.D. advisor Dr. Peter L. D. Wildfong."

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and horizon-expanding education. A campus of nearly 8,500 graduate and undergraduate students, Duquesne prepares students by having them work alongside faculty to discover and reach their goals. The University’s academic programs, community service, and commitment to equity and opportunity in the Pittsburgh region have earned national acclaim.

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