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Spotlight on the PAGE Student Sponsorship Winners

When I attend scientific conferences, I feel as though I have reached my own personal “Nerdvana.” I love everything about them! I love going to the sessions and learning the latest cutting edge insights from the leaders in our field. I love walking the aisles of posters and getting to talk one-on-one with scientists about their research. And, at the end of a long day of learning and thinking, I love drinking a beer with other conference attendees who are just as passionate about science as me.

Unfortunately, between registration fees, flights, lodging, and meals, attending a conference is a pricey endeavor. This is especially hard on students.

That’s why for many years now, Certara has been a proud co-sponsor of the Population Approach Group in Europe (PAGE) Student Sponsorship. The sponsorship supports travel and accommodation expenses and is available to students unable to obtain any other financial support. To receive this funding, students complete an online application. Sponsorships are awarded on a case-by-case basis by the selection committee.

This year is the 27th annual meeting which will take place from May 29–June 1 in Montreux, Switzerland. Here are some profiles of this year’s sponsorship winners and their individual research projects.

Kamunkhwala Gausi is a PhD candidate in the pharmacometrics division at the University of Cape Town.

Research interests: Her current research interest focuses on the application of population pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamics (PK/PD) modeling to assess drug-drug-interactions (DDI) between anti-retroviral and tuberculosis (TB) drugs.

What she’s most excited about learning at PAGE: “The PAGE conference offers a great opportunity to network with pharmacometricians, expand knowledge on PK/PD modeling, and learn from experts in the field.” She will also attend the workshops to improve and expand her modeling skills and advance her knowledge of pharmacometrics software.

Her dream job involves research that applies her modeling skills to optimize treatment for both infectious and non-communicable diseases (NCD) with an impact on minimizing cost, saving lives, reducing treatment failure and side effects from DDIs.

Wenjun Chen is a PhD candidate in the Department of Pharmaceutics in the School of Pharmaceutical Sciences at Peking University.

Research interests: Her current research is on the application of population modeling and simulation in the development of anti-tumor drugs. Wenjun’s doctorate research work is mainly focused on pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamics modeling of drug combinations in preclinical settings and model-based meta-analysis of anti-tumor drugs in clinical application for the treatment of castration-resistant prostate cancer.

What she’s most excited about learning at PAGE: “Attending the PAGE meeting will be a professionally rewarding experience for me. There are so many top experts in this field, and I am excited to learn the latest ideas and technical skills from them. Communicating with others will broaden my horizons and thinking. Moreover, the knowledge disseminated at the meeting will deepen my understanding of pharmacometrics.”

What does her dream job involve? “Well, it is hard to say. I hope my job in the future will be practical for and beneficial to patients, and that there will be opportunities for me to improve myself.”

Louvina Elizabeth van der Laan is a medical doctor completing a PhD in Clinical Pharmacology, specializing in pharmacometrics at the University of Cape Town.

Research interests: TB and HIV treatment in children.

What she’s most excited about learning at PAGE: “Improving my pharmacometric modeling skills and being exposed to new ideas and approaches in the field.”

Her dream job involves combining clinical knowledge and pharmacometric skills to improve the treatment of HIV and TB in children.

Congratulations to all of this year’s PAGE student sponsorship winners! From all of us at Certara, we wish you a wonderful meeting!

A key skill that students develop by presenting posters at scientific conferences is the ability to communicate effectively. To learn more about communications skills for pharmacometricians, watch this webinar by Drs. Peter Bonate and Stacey Tannenbaum.

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By: Suzanne Minton

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