Smart drugs

Tahnee Dening’s research into improving the oral absorption of antipsychotic medications for schizophrenic patients has won her an Endeavour Postgraduate Scholarship.

The internationally competitive, merit-based scholarship funded by the Australian Government will support Tahnee’s PhD research at Lundbeck, a global pharmaceutical company in Denmark.

The Minister for International Education, Richard Colbeck awarded Tahnee and 30 other recipients at an official dinner held at the National Museum of Australia in a recent trip to Canberra.

“We visited Parliament House and watched Question Time before a meet and greet with the Minister for International Education and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull,” Tahnee says.

“We had some photos taken, and had a group chat with Mr Turnbull for 5 or 10 minutes – he was very charismatic and friendly.

“The Minister for Education, Simon Birmingham also randomly popped down to say hello, after hearing our voices in the courtyard,” says Tahnee.

Tahnee, a PhD student with the School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences is working on the development of smart oil-based tablets/capsules for poorly water-soluble antipsychotic drugs.

The majority of antipsychotic drugs are poorly absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract after oral dosing as a tablet or capsule due to their low solubility in the watery gastrointestinal environment, and Tahnee’s research therefore aims to increase their absorption and effectiveness to improve the treatment of schizophrenia.

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