In focus: Anna Simonsson • An alumna has found her way home

2023-05-30

“Halfway to my dissertation, a future continued career in academia and the Faculty of Pharmacy definitely seems like an attractive scenario," states Anna Simonsson, PhD student with a focus on developing new methods to administer drugs to the lungs.

Anna Simonsson, Faculty of Pharmacy & SweDeliver
Anna Simonsson, Faculty of Pharmacy & SweDeliver

The possibility to inhale drugs is central to the treatment of diseases such as bronchial asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary decease and cystic fibrosis. At the same time, the administration of active substances to the lung contains both many and great challenges: Limited particle size, high cohesion and a diversity of surface properties constantly place new demands on scientific progress. In the project Blend state-blend property relationships of adhesive mixtures for inhalation powders, Anna Simonsson, PhD student at Uppsala University, explores new methods to optimize formulations for – as termed in technical language – Pulmonary drug delivery.

“We want to increase the possibility to administer the optimal amount of pharmaceutical substances to the lung with mixtures that remain stable to the exact point of dissolution and uptake. To succeed will require increased knowledge of how airways, particles and numerous other factors interact, which in turn is decisive whether a treatment will have the intended effect. If we achieve this, I am convinced that we will add important knowledge to both research and, in the long term, clinically useful methods.”

Anna Simonsson earned her master of science degree in pharmacy at Uppsala University's Faculty of Pharmacy in 2015. After conducting her master's thesis in pharmacognosy at London's UCL School of Pharmacy, assignments as Pharmacy Manager followed in Norway and Sweden before being recruited to her current PhD assignment at Professor Göran Alderborn's research environment in Pharmaceutical Technology – a position that also opened the doors to SweDeliver, the national competence center in drug delivery.

Anna Simonsson, PhD student
Anna Simonsson, PhD student

“SweDeliver generates great value for my research education. Due partly to the industrial feedback on my work from my two co-supervisors at AstraZeneca, partly in the continuous interaction between the PhD students and postdocs at the center. Here, the structure with three scientific and a fourth, more career-oriented work package contributes to the fact that discussions are constantly relevant to our projects, while we also get opportunities to meet and compare experiences a bit outside the everyday box.”

During the past week, Anna’s involvement in SweDeliver has offered an evening at the Swedish Pharmaceutical Society - where the junior researchers had the opportunity to meet and network with representatives of both research institutes and the pharmaceutical industry - as well as a retreat where PhD students and postdocs presented their projects to the competence center's senior researchers and industrial partners with scientific feedback in exchange.

“I recently published my first article and plan to submit the second manuscript during the late summer. This fall I will participate in the pilot run of the new Pharmaceutical Aerosols course and if everything goes according to plan, I will in the near future participate in SweDeliver's mentor program. So halfway to my dissertation, I can only describe my time as a PhD student as an entirely positive experience, and at this point, a future career in academia - and preferably at the Faculty of Pharmacy - is definitely an attractive scenario.”

FACTS

  • SweDeliver research performed in the pulmonary work package revolves around controlled release, dissolution and absorption of drugs in the lungs, and powder mechanics of adhesive mixtures.
  • The work draws on the strong scientific expertise on particle performance within the pharmaceutical technology and pharmaceutical physics groups at Uppsala University.

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CONTACT

Anna Simonsson, PhD student
Department of Pharmaceutical Biosciences
anna.simonsson@farmbio.uu.se

text: Magnus Alsne, photo: Mikael Wallerstedt

Currently at SweDeliver

Last modified: 2022-11-16