Taking On Ireland

Published on 28 June 2017

A five-hour drive to Chicago, a 3,657-mile flight to Dublin and a four-week research project provided a once-in-a-lifetime rotation experience for Daniel “Bubba” Britt '17 and Mara Hofherr '17.

While students at St. Louis College of Pharmacy, the two completed research at Trinity College Dublin (TCD) during an Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience (APPE) rotation.

“I chose to pursue an APPE in Ireland because of the amazing research opportunities it provided,” Hofherr said. “Ireland is home to many manufacturing companies and Trinity College employs some of the best minds.”

The pair were assigned to work in the same postdoctoral pharmaceutical research lab, but they investigated different aspects of reducing powder loss during compounding. Britt and Hofherr were precepted by Martin Henman, B.Pharm., M.A., Ph.D., M.P.S.I., associate professor in pharmacy practice, while working under the supervision of Zelalem Worku, Ph.D., postdoctoral researcher, and Dinesh Kumar, Ph.D., postdoctoral researcher, in the lab of Anne-Marie Healy, B.Sc., Pharm.D., Ph.D., M.P.S.I, F.T.C.D, professor of pharmaceutics and pharmaceutical technology.

Hofherr’s work looked at ways to reduce powder loss during the processing of nifedipine while also improving absorption.

“The work I did under a brilliant postdoctoral researcher was inspiring,” Hofherr said. “I am grateful to be a part of the continued effort to improve medications, especially since we have promising results.”

Meanwhile, Britt assisted in creating a model that could predict variability issues of ibuprofen tablets during mass production. The research aimed to help drug manufacturers minimize ingredient waste while continuing to maintain quality.

“This research will help increase the efficacy of mass production in the future and will lead to a decrease in tablet waste,” Britt said.

In their spare time, Hofherr and Britt explored the country of Ireland and made friends along the way.

“Everybody would say ‘hi’ on the street,” Britt said. “Once people learned you were from out of town, they would strike up a conversation with you."

“Everyone in Ireland is incredibly nice. It was a beautiful country,” Hofherr added.

Hofherr and Britt enjoyed their time in Ireland so much that they encourage other students to participate in an international APPE. “This was one of the best experiences in my life. If you have the slightest doubt about going abroad — don’t! Just go for it and have fun,” Hofherr said.

Amy Suh ’17 and Bethany Chew ’17 also participated in research at TCD and were precepted by Martin Henman, B.Pharm., M.A., Ph.D., M.P.S.I., associate professor of pharmacy practice, and Maire O’Dwyer, Ph.D., assistant professor of pharmaceutical sciences.

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