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PhD Students in Webster Lab Successfully Transition from Campus to Co-op

June 9, 2017

Ece Alpaslan completed a 6 month co-op at Genzyme/Sanofi in the formulations group under Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics Department (DMPK) in Fall 2016. For her project, she designed an in-vitro system to observe the dissolution profiles of enabling drug formulations in real-time by dynamically changing the pH to emulate the gastrointestinal track and membrane permeation in bio-relevant media to predict oral absorption. During her six months at Genzyme, she gained lots of significant hands-on experience in process of drug development through the formulation of poorly soluble compounds, dissolution testing, and liquid chromatography techniques.  “I am planning to do research in industry after graduation, and co-op helped me realize that. Both the soft skills and the technical skills that I gained during my co-op should help me to excel in my career,” Ece remarks.

Gujie Mi is currently on a co-op in the Drug and Combination Product Development (DCP) group at Shire, a leading biopharma focused on rare diseases. At Shire, he is involved in the development and qualification of scale down process models for common unit operations that will help to guide clinical development and commercial manufacturing of drug products.   These operations include freeze/thaw cycling, mixing, filtration, filling and stoppering. During his time at Shire, he is gaining hands-on experience in a number of analytical techniques for protein characterization, such as rheological testing, micro-flow imaging (MFI), size-exclusion chromatography (SEC), and cation-exchange liquid chromatography (CIEX).  These will better prepare him for future research when he returns by allowing him to perform advanced material characterizations. Finally, having this co-op experience in a biopharma before graduation has really opened his eyes to careers he hadn’t considered.  It also connects him with elite scientists and engineers, and more importantly, teaches him to start thinking as an engineer when approaching problems to consider all the parameters including resources and costs.

Junyan Zhang did her a co-op in the Global Manufacturing & Supply GMS BDP Recovery group at Bristol-Myers Squibb from July to December 2016. Her project was primarily focused on two parts: investigating the fouling behavior of Single-pass TFF (SPTFF) modules for cell-culture harvest, and testing SPTFF for concentration and impurity clearance. During the six months, she learned different protein purification technologies in the cell and impurity removal processes, including SPTFF, conventional TFF, sterile filtration and virus filtration. This co-op experience gave her a closer look into the biopharma industry and equipped her with the necessary skills to excel in her future career.

Kanny (Run) Chang finished his internship in the High Performance Plastic Department at Saint-Gobain North America. Saint-Gobain is one of the world’s largest companies which has been providing cutting-edge materials for over 350 years. In his 5-month internship, Kanny mainly focused on developing surface modification methods on fluoropolymers with bioactive substances for applications in life science. With his research experience obtained from the Webster lab, Kanny was able to independently design protocols for bioconjugation on chemically inert fluoropolymers.  He also performed various surface characterization techniques, and developed new methods to detect bioactive groups on polymers. He also enjoyed the company’s culture and improved his interpersonal skills while working with such a collaborative environment in Saint-Gobain.