Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Dr. Nicole Brogden, an associate in the UI College of Pharmacy, has received a statewide Women of Innovation award in the category of Research Innovation and Leadership.

Brogden, BS, PharmD, PhD, was among nine Iowa professionals and academics selected for one of the Women of Innovation awards, sponsored by the Technology Association of Iowa (TAI) and The Principal Financial Group.

When Aliasger Salem, head of the Pharmaceutics and Translational Therapeutics (PTT) division, nominated her, he said, “Dr. Brogden is truly a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) translational scientist, as both a clinical pharmacist and pharmaceutical scientist. She successfully developed an anti-inflammatory drug treatment paradigm to prevent micropore closure after microneedle insertion, which allowed an unprecedented 7 day drug delivery through microneedle-treated skin in healthy human subjects.”

Currently only a limited number of drugs are effective as transdermal patches, such as nicotine-cessation or birth control patches. Brogden has taken a drug called naltrexone that is only available to be taken by mouth or an injection and used this microneedle delivery approach to allow the drug to be delivered through the skin for seven days. She is now working with collaborators in the Colleges of Pharmacy, Medicine, Dentistry, and Engineering to develop novel extended release gel formulations to be used in combination with the microneedles to deliver therapeutics for chronic pain and osteoarthritis.

“There are many drugs that are used as chronic therapies in aging populations, but elderly patients often struggle to remember to take them,” said Brogden. “Additionally, many of these therapies are only available as injectable formulations or have significant adverse events when taken orally. With transdermal delivery, we could avoid many of these issues.”

Brogden said that having her foot firmly in the fields of pharmacy practice as well as research helps her think creatively about drug delivery and compliance problems. “I’m not so much trying to reinvent the wheel, as just to take the wheel we have and make it more efficient,” she said. “Some of the most innovative solutions can result from careful observation of how we can modify what we have and improve it to meet the needs of more patients.”

The annual innovation awards program showcases game-changers in the world of technology, said Leann Jacobson, TAI’s chief executive. “These Women of Innovation – finalists and winners – are breaking new ground. They’re using their skills and savvy to transform the world.”

Brogden was one of three awardees from the University of Iowa. Also honored were:

Dr. Madeline Shea, Academic Innovation and Leadership in Post-Secondary Education. An internationally known biochemist at the Carver College of Medicine, Shea has pioneered a sabbatical/ summer research fellowship program that has invigorated research among college professors and created collaborations between UI faculty and other schools.

Adele Stewart, graduate student in pharmacology at the University of Iowa, Collegiate Innovation and Leadership. Stewart won a prestigious pre-doctoral fellowship from the national Pharmaceutical Researchers and Manufacturers Association Foundation. She is the lead author on a recent review published in Frontiers in Physiology. Stewart also teaches undergraduate classes, and serves on departmental committees. Her department says that Stewart’s “scientific abilities are highly advanced and rare for someone at her career stage.”