Adult macular degeneration is estimated to affect more than 200,000 people each year in the United States. The most common and effective treatment involves a periodic injection into the eye.
Vrinda Gote, a Ph.D. student at UMKC School of Pharmacy, is working to make the treatments less traumatic for patients.
Grote has been conducting a research project using nanotechnology to develop eye drops that can be easily administered by almost anyone as an alternative to the more costly and invasive injections.
“I like doing research and working around nanotechnology particles to see how they behave,” Gote said. “I would like to create a patient-friendly method for treating macular degeneration. The drug that I’m using is cheaper and could save patients a lot of money also.”
Gote was one of 13 students from the School of Pharmacy to present research posters at the 2019 UMKC Health Sciences Student Research Summit. Her presentation, “One -step self-assembling tacrolimus nanomicelles as a topical treatment for wet AMD,” won first place for basic sciences research among the pharmacy students.
Gote said this was her first research effort and that she is now working toward getting her findings published. She wants to take her experience and carry on with research in the pharmacy industry after she earns her doctorate.
“This is a great learning experience,” Gote said. “My professor and primary investigator have been helping me a lot with this project. And I’m learning a lot from my colleagues. We have great research taking place at the School of Pharmacy.”
Navid Ayon was the second-place winner in the basic science division and Omowumi Akinjole was selected as the third-place winner. Both are working on the Ph.D. at the School of Pharmacy
In the pharmacy practice division, Kim Nezianya was the first-place winner. Amber Finegan was the second-place recipient and Trevor Stump was the third-place winner. All three are post-graduate Pharm.D. residents.
Finegan, a second-year pharmacy resident at the Center for Behavioral Medicine in Kansas City, said she got involved with research as part of her residency.
“I’m interested in doing research to answer some of the clinical questions that we still have,” she said. “This gives us experience in taking all the steps that you go through in a research project, getting approvals, collecting data, compiling results and how to see it from start to finish.”
All of the award winners will be invited to attend a lunch at the School of Pharmacy faculty and staff retreat in May where they will be recognized and receive their prizes.