Claire’s MPharm exchange programme with the BPSA

The MPharm course at the University of Lincoln provides students with the opportunity to undertake an optional placement in the UK or overseas. 

Placements can range from a few weeks to a full year if students choose to undertake an optional sandwich year in industry.

3rd year MPharm student, Claire Hodge, went on a student exchange programme which is run by the British Pharmaceutical Students Association (BPSA) and in partnership with the International Pharmaceutical Students Federation (IPSF).

Claire wrote about her experience below:

I was really excited about going to America as I’d never been before! I was also really interested in finding out about the differences in healthcare systems between the UK and the USA.

On the 7th July I set off for SeaTac airport in Seattle from London’s Heathrow.

My placement was three weeks long; I spent my first week at Swedish Hospital’s Cherry Hill campus, a hospital specialising in neurology and cardiology, my second week at a specialty Walgreen’s Pharmacy which managed patients with infectious diseases, such as HIV and hepatitis, and my final week at Harborview Medical Centre, which is Washington state’s primary trauma unit. The unit is also the primary trauma center for Alaska, Montana and Idaho.

I especially enjoyed my time in the two hospitals as this is where my passion in pharmacy has been since I started training as a pharmacy technician before beginning university.

It was incredible to see the differences between pharmacy work in the UK and America.

Retail pharmacy in the US is massively different too, but I have to say that the UK seems more advanced in terms of electronic prescriptions and such.

 

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On the more social and tourist side of things, I had enough time to spend sightseeing with other students from the University of Washington, and also with my host family who were absolutely amazing. I went up to the top of the Space Needle, visited all the local museums and zoo, and went up to the top of Columbia Center which is the tallest building in Seattle’s skyline!

For anyone fellow students wanting to take part, the placements are advertised throughout the year on their websites and by representatives within the University and it’s a fairly straightforward application process. 

I would 100% recommend other students to take part in the student exchange program, as everyone I know who has done has absolutely loved it! It was an amazing opportunity that I’m so grateful to have taken part in.

My time so far at the University of Lincoln has been amazing and really allowed me to start developing a professional identity for myself which will prove to be really helpful in our future careers. The staff at Lincoln are all incredibly supportive and I think we have such a unique and interesting pharmacy course so I’m very happy to be studying here.
 
After graduating I am hoping to go into hospital pharmacy but I am also keeping my mind open and getting in as much varied work experience as possible, just in case!

Find out more about the School of Pharmacy at the University of Lincoln UK.

Pharmacy Friends at the School of Pharmacy, University of Lincoln

The School of Pharmacy, runs a unique buddy scheme for all students within the School and this year’s Pharmacy Friends event takes place on Monday December 4th 2017.

Held in the Minerva Building, MB0603 from 11am – 3pm, the main objectives of this event are:

1. Personal support (e.g. Transition to University for year 1 students)

2. Help with studies (e.g. 1-2-1 or group study support)

3. Collaboration in Citizenship (e.g. Volunteering and Charity work)

This year, the Pharmacy Friends scheme has been integrated into a core module, LINCaPP (Lincoln CPD and Professionalism Portfolio), which counts towards each student’s overall grade.

Also attending the event will be Rachel Ashmore (Education & Volunteering Co-coordinator with the Lincolnshire Co-op) and Helena Buono (Employability Co-Ordinator, SU Lincoln Executive Officer). Students will have the opportunity to chat with Rachel and Helena about potential volunteer work and related opportunities to aid their studies.

All students attending the buddy event are encouraged to Tweet our School using the hashtag #PharmacyFriends @Lincoln_Pharm

MANSAG charity holds 28th annual conference in Lincoln

The charity MANSAG (Medical Association of Nigerians Across Great Britain) held its 28th Annual conference at the Bentley Hotel, Lincoln from the 27th – 29th October 2017.

Many medics from across Britain and some dignitaries from Nigeria were in attendance. The President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Alhaji Ahmed Yakasai, seized the opportunity to visit a few pharmaceutical points of interest in Lincoln, in particular, the School of Pharmacy at the University of Lincoln.

Alhaji Yakasai was given a guided tour of the facilities at Joseph Banks Laboratories which houses the School of Pharmacy. This was a unique networking opportunity for those in attendance and one that some of our MPharm students of Nigerian descent will always remember.

Photos from the tour are below.

Many thanks to everyone who helped to organise the conference at short notice!

Significant breakthrough on road to new superbug-killing antibiotic teixobactin

Scientists working to develop a ‘game-changing’ new antibiotic have made a significant advance towards creating commercially viable drug treatments by producing two simplified synthetic versions which are as potent as its natural form.

The breakthrough by researchers at the University of Lincoln, UK, marks another important step to realising the potential of teixobactin in aiding the global fight against antibiotic-resistant pathogens like MSRA. Teixobactin is a recently discovered natural antibiotic which many in the international scientific community believe could lead to creation of the first commercially viable new antibiotic drug in 30 years.

The Lincoln team has successfully synthesized new simplified versions of teixobactin which harness the same powerful antibiotic effects in a way that could be produced on a commercial scale. Their findings are published in the Royal Society of Chemistry’s journal, Chemical Science.

Until now, scientists attempting to synthesise teixobactin believed they needed to use cationic (or positively charged) amino acids which bind to the bacterial target using a ‘side chain’. This meant they had to use either the very rare amino acid found naturally in teixobactin, called enduracididine, or alternative ones which had lower potency against superbugs.

Each amino acid sits at a specific place in teixobactin’s structure, and the Lincoln team has now successfully replaced enduracididine – which holds position ten – with two alternative amino acids which are not positively charged. These amino acids lack the ‘binding’ part, over-turning the prior understanding that enduracididine is essential for to so-called ‘target binding’ to be highly potent against superbugs.

With this new knowledge, synthesised versions of teixobactin can be more easily developed, taking the process from up to 30 hours to just ten minutes for a single coupling step – a significant step towards turning teixobactin into a viable new drug. Importantly, the two new simplified forms of teixobactin have also proven to have identical potency against superbugs as the natural form of teixobactin.

Dr Ishwar Singh, a specialist in novel drug design and development from the University of Lincoln’s School of Pharmacy, is leading the research team. He explained: “When teixobactin was discovered it was ground breaking in itself as a new antibiotic which kills bacteria without detectable resistance including superbugs such as MRSA. We have been investigating a way to simplify the design while retaining the high potency against resistant bacteria such as MRSA.

“This simplified design and more efficient synthesise will enable work to be carried out at a commercial level. Enduracididine was severely limiting our ability to do this because of its scarcity, a complex multistep synthesis, and long and repetitive steps of between 16 and 30 hours with high failure rate and very low yields.

“We needed to make a change to the structure so that we could make the molecule more viable for drug development. We had tried replacing it with other amino acids with a similar make up, but they all were less potent in comparison to the natural form of teixobactin. Now, we have discovered that we can in fact use amino acids which are structurally different, and are commercially-available. They are also 16 times more potent than a clinically-used antibiotic in killing the superbug MRSA, and they were also highly potent against other antibiotic-resistant infections, such as vancomycin resistant enterococci, and tuberculosis.”

The work builds on the success of the team’s pioneering research to tackle antimicrobial resistance over the past 18 months. Dr Singh is working with colleagues from the School of Life Sciences and the School of Chemistry at the University of Lincoln to develop teixobactins into a viable drug.

It has been predicted that by 2050 an additional 10 million people will succumb to drug resistant infections each year. The development of new antibiotics which can be used as a last resort when other drugs are ineffective is therefore a crucial area of study for healthcare researchers around the world. To view the article, click here: 10.1039/C7SC03241B

Find out more about the School of Pharmacy, University of Lincoln.

Students and staff standing outside the School of Pharmacy, UCL.

Pharmaceutical Science students visit University College London

On Wednesday 11th October, students at the School of Pharmacy visited the University College London’s (UCL) School of Pharmacy.

Along with staff from the School of Pharmacy, students from the BSc (Hons) Pharmaceutical Science programme had the opportunity to visit UCL as part of their studies at the University of Lincoln.

Find out more about the BSc (Hons) Pharmaceutical Science programme at the University of Lincoln.