Project/blog link:The Pharmaceutical Research Process BASIS Advisor: Cheri Carswell Internship location: Pharmaceutical Sciences Department at the University of Arizona Onsite Mentor: Dr. Nathan Cherrington, Professor, Dept. of Pharmacology and Toxicology
My senior project is at the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy. When prescribing prescription drugs to patients, doctors do not test for disease history. This is an issue because some diseases can affect a person’s ability to metabolize certain drugs. The research that we are doing at the College of Pharmacy focuses on establishing a correlation between a liver disease called nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and a person’s ability to metabolize morphine and the cancer drug SR38. In order to establish this correlation, we use rat livers. Some rats have been infected with NASH while others are healthy. Currently we are investigating the mechanisms that are responsible for this inability to metabolize certain drugs. Western Blot tests and IHC tests are used to test for transporter protein presence in the rat livers. If the transporter protein is absent, then the liver will be unable to metabolize certain drugs. IHC tests use a die to stain the proteins. Once the proteins are stained, a microscope is used to see how NASH has changed the protein configuration within the liver. I chose this project because I want to gain lab experience and to learn about pharmaceutical science. The goal of this research is to establish a connection between NASH and drug metabolism. This connection will likely save lives because once a connection is established, it is likely that disease history testing will become a mandatory part of drug prescription.