Butler’s College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (COPHS) is proud to be sending two of its graduate students to the AAPS National Biotechnology Conference in San Francisco May 16-18.

Neelima Mantha and Yatri Patel, students in the Masters of Science in Pharmaceutical Sciences program within COPHS, were each awarded a travelship to present their research at the conference by sponsor organization Amgen. Mantha’s research focuses on Huntington’s Disease and Patel’s work centers on breast cancer.

The travelship will cover coach airfare, meal and ground transportation costs while the students are in San Francisco for the conference.

“We have never had two students from the same lab win this travelship award,” said Nandita Das, faculty mentor within the master’s program. “So that was the huge surprise that both of them got it.”

The AAPS – American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists – is a professional, scientific society of approximately 12,000 members employed in industry, academia, government and other research institutes worldwide. The National Biotechnology Conference takes place each spring and features presentations from professionals in the industry as well as graduate students.

To be considered for the conference, Mantha and Patel submitted an abstract of their research to AAPS in January. They will be among 150 to 200 graduate students – at both the master’s and Ph. D. level – to present a poster of their work.

“It makes me very proud that Neelima and Yatri – master’s students – are able to win an award up against Ph. D. students,” Das said. “That speaks to the level of work they do.”

In addition, Patel’s work was chosen to be part of a media showcase. She will meet with the press during the conference. AAPS plans to write a press release about her research.

“It was really surprising to find out I had been selected for the media showcase,” Patel said. “It wasn’t something I had applied for, so finding out I had been picked for that was actually shocking.”

The Masters of Science in Pharmaceutical Sciences program at Butler is a research-intensive degree that concludes with students developing and defending a thesis.

Mantha and Patel both started the program in August 2009 and plan to defend their thesis this fall.

“My master’s program has been really good so far,” Mantha said. “It’s research-intensive and my professors have given us all the necessary infrastructure and support.”

Nandita Das and Sudip Das, the two main faculty members within the program, serve as a guide and help students shape their research, but the bulk of the work is up to the students.

“Neelima already has a master’s degree in pharmacy from India so we set her up with a more challenging project for her own self-growth,” Nandita Das said. “Yatri came fresh from her undergraduate degree and didn’t have any preconceived notions on exactly what she wanted to learn, so we had to help her find out what she was really interested in.”

Media Contact:

Andrea Hawman

ahawman@butler.edu

(317) 940-9332

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