Monday, May 26, 2008

I will derive

One week of agonizing over content, structure, purpose... thinking myself crazy for deciding I could finish up two experiements, work on a grant and write my PhD dissertation in a 10 week time span... and I did it! I wrote the first page... (149 to go)

The past decade has brought forth a multitude of new drug delivery technologies; these novel pharmaceutical agents, drug conjugates, polymeric and lipid carries and implantable biomaterials are revolutionizing a vision of how medical illnesses should be treated. Drug delivery research follows a simple scientific principle (to delivery drugs only where and when they are needed) in order to achieve sustained, regionally specific and targeted pharmaceutical action.

In spite of the promise that drug delivery technology will allow exact spatial and temporal control over medical therapy, few out of the many potential products have been developed into successful clinical therapies. The translation of drug delivery research from benchtop to bedside is hindered for industrial reasons – cost, safety and regulatory and large-scale manufacturing issues – as well as scientific roadblocks. These scientific roadblocks arrive in a variety of guises, yet they might be summarized by a straightforward concept: in the complex adaptive system of the human body, there are many variables to consider.

Predicting the therapeutic effect of drugs in the body is a complex and diverse challenge that could be approached from a variety of angles. It is the purpose of this research to explore the parameter space of drug delivery in several model systems, proceeding from biomaterial to target tissue to biological effect. First, we will examine the factors that govern release of a model hydrophobic drug from the polymeric coating of a vascular stent that is currently in clinical use. Second, the interaction of the same drug with target tissue site components will be considered in a ex vivo tissue mimic of the arterial wall. Third, the pharmacokinetic requirements for neurotrophic factor delivery in the brain will be examined in behavioral and biochemical models of biological effect. It is the intent of this thesis to address a fundamental problem in drug delivery, namely, how to quantify biological and physical parameters that are necessary for effective biomaterial design.

(For the two people who read this blog that I went to ASU with, the complex adaptive systems reference was intentional. Thank you Drs. Pizziconi and Coursen for preventing the phrase "things don't always work out the way we expect them to" from entered this draft of the introduction)

On that note of cheery jubilation (and I do apologize for the work-related interjection, although since I'm starting a process that's going to end in a thesis defense, you might be hearing more), I'd like to share something else that put a smile on my face today:


brett said...

You're at a huge advantage having published a lot of your stuff already. With my escapades opening a medical practice and teaching full time, I'm in the unenviable position of writing most of my stuff up for the first time. A lot of it very old data. I spend hours just figuring out what data is what sometimes. It's going to be a long summer. . . .

But wait. This post is about neither cooking nor procrastination. If you're going to blog your dissertation writing (with is unbelievably meta), you're gonna need another blog.

Rachael said...

"You're at a huge advantage having published a lot of your stuff already"

I wish it was as good as that sounded : ( I haven't actually published - not a single damn paper in 4 years. You are right that parts of the information have been assembled for various purposes, but the thesis is definitely not a cut-and-paste sort of task. One paper has been written and rejected without review twice (topic issues). The other one I had "written" (pasted in from an internal report) a long time ago, but the values are all wrong because someone gave us an incorrect parameter, so I need to redo every single figure. The writing and content are both really poor, so it will be completely rewritten. And I haven't even finished collecting data for the third one :(

But I don't envy unknown data, that's for sure.

Susan from Food Blogga said...

Hi Rachael,

I'm so sorry that I've been MIA. How are you? How is your mom? It sounds like you have a lot of exciting things happening in your life right now. (I would have emailed you but I couldn't find an address.)

Drop me a line if you get a chance; I'd love to catch up with you.


Erin said...

Rach, I loved your first page - it is perfect! I can't wait to see you in a few weeks!

liz said...

I like your intro -- I think that's the hardest bit (writing-wise). And hey ... You can always copy and paste your thesis into paper form. it works either way, right? Hope all else is well with you...