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9. Oct 2023

Pharmacy: Using starch as a novel drug carrier?

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Here you find the doctoral student’s profile of Golbarg Esfahani. She published results of her doctoral studies at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg and shared the research more widely with a press release.

About the author:

G. Esfahani in the “lab”.

Field(s) of expertise during doctoral studies:

  • Characterisation of solid implants produced by hot melt extrusion
  • Investigation of involved release mechanisms using Electron Paramagnetic Resonance and NMR relaxometry
  • Evaluation of drug-polymer interactions using spectrometry techniques including NMR and IR
  • Investigation of in vivo release mechanisms and the fate of the implant in vivo using Optical Imaging techniques

Curriculum Vitae

  • Researcher at MLU (Project: Nucleic acid delivery to plants and humans, in the group of Prof. Dr. Karsten Mäder and Prof. Dr. Sven-Erik Behrens)
  • Doctoral Studies in Pharmaceutical Technology Group of Prof. Dr. Karsten Mäder at MLU
  • Master in Pharmacy at Ahvaz Jundishapur University of Medical Sciences in 2017

Challenges, rewards and contribution

Q: What was your most important contribution to the publication?
A: I consider my most significant contribution to be my persistence in overcoming challenges when our system didn’t yield the desired results. It took approximately six months of rigorous preformulation studies to identify the appropriate starch type and refine the production parameters. Since this publication is part of my PhD project, the experiments are conducted by myself. However, I would like to express my gratitude for the valuable assistance provided by Ms Julia Kollan, our technical assistant, and the insightful guidance from our senior scientist, Dr. Henrike Lucas, during the in vivo studies. Their contributions were pivotal in achieving a successful characterization of the novel starch formulation in vivo. I want to emphasize that this publication is the result of a collaborative effort, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the guidance and support of my supervisor, Professor Karsten Mäder.

Q: What was challenging and what was a rewarding moment during your work presented in the publication?
A: In every project, there are some moments when you sit exhausted after weeks of experiments, gazing at the results, you think: “It didn’t work!” But thinking about the procedure and the new ideas coming to my mind, always made me motivated for the next day and a new experiment. For me, the most rewarding moment arrived when we observed promising results of the starch formulation in vivo. At that moment, I took a deep breath and said to myself, “It worked!”.

Significance of publication

A special type of starch could soon be used as an excipient in medicine to improve the treatment of patients. A research team from Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) has discovered that it makes a suitable drug release system and has advantages over already established excipients. 

from press release no. 99/2023 of August 22, 2023

Related publication

G. Esfahani, H. Lucas, F. Syrowatka & K. Mäder 
A starch-based implant as a controlled drug release system: Non-invasive in vivo characterization using multispectral fluorescence imaging.
Journal of Controlled Release 358, 358-367 (2023)
doi: 10.1016/j.jconrel.2023.05.006

About this profile

Doctoral students contribute significantly to publications highlighted by the MLU press office in many cases. These early stage researchers and their work in connection with the publication are in the focus of these profiles. Please check further doctoral student’s profiles.

Are you interested in science communication and have an interesting story to tell? Get in touch with MLU’s press office at 

Über Lydia Hohlstein

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