Pharmaceutical Sciences Grad Student Koyel Sen Takes Top Honors

Koyel Sen and Poster
Ph.D. candidate Koyel Sen won the top award at the Particle Technology Forum Poster Session at the 2018 AIChE annual meeting. (Sheila Foran/UConn Photo)

Pharmaceutical Sciences Ph.D. candidate Koyel Sen won the highly competitive Best Poster Award at the Particle Technology Forum Poster Session, a part of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) annual meeting held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania last October.

Sen’s poster was titled: Experimentally Validated Computational Models to Predict the Impact of Humidity on the Flow of Pharmaceutical Mixtures.

Bodhi Chaudhuri, Associate Professor of Pharmaceutics in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences said, “This poster illustrates one of the specific aims of Koyel’s research project which is 3D printing of solid dosage forms (e.g. Tablets). Koyel embarked on the project when we did not have much knowledge of 3D printing of pharmaceutical drugs/excipients and the effect of these drugs/excipients on the 3D printed tablets. The printer went bad several times and hindered Koyel’s progress. However, she persevered and pursued her research with vigor, tenacity, and earnest commitment. Despite frustrations and setbacks, she finally reached her goals.”

Chaudhuri, who is Sen’s major advisor, explained that the Particle Technology Forum Poster competition included almost 100 posters from graduate students and postdocs hailing from all over the world.  She was later recognized and awarded a certificate and $500 in the Particle Technology Forum banquet, during the annual meeting.

When notified that she had won the competition, Sen said, “The Particle Technology Forum award was the first recognition of my Ph.D. career and it made me realize how far I have come since my first semester as a Ph.D. student. I distinctly remember the difference between the nervousness I felt in my first poster presentation and this time, where I was actually happy to be asked questions so that I could share my research experience.”

Bodhi Chaudhuri and Koyel Sen
Associate Professor of Pharmaceutics Bodhi Chaudhuri and Ph.D. candidate Koyel Sen. (Sheila Foran/UConn Photo)

Sen received her Bachelor’s degree in Pharmaceutical Engineering in 2012 from Jadavpur University in India. She started her doctoral study in Dr. Chaudhuri’s Lab in 2015 where she specializes in computational modeling (using Discrete Element Modeling), 3D Printing, and formulation design for solid dosage forms (tablets). Her current work is focused on numerical modeling of particle dynamics of pharmaceutical powders and inkjet based 3D printing of tablets.

Sen is actually the third graduate student of Chaudhuri’s to win the top poster award at the Particle Technology sessions. The others were Ekneet Sahni ’12 (Ph.D.) who received the award in 2011, and Shivangi Naik ’14 (Ph.D.) who won in both 2013 and 2014. He says that these achievements are especially noteworthy because his students are pharmaceutical sciences majors who are competing against fellow graduate students who are almost all chemical engineering majors and earning top honors for their efforts.

The AIChE is a professional organization for chemical engineers that has approximately 60,000 members in over 110 countries worldwide.  The organization was established in 1908 to distinguish chemical engineers as a profession independent of chemists and mechanical engineers. The AIChE Annual Meeting is the premier educational forum for chemical engineers interested in innovation and professional growth, and it serves as a platform for young scientists, such as Sen, who are at the beginning of their careers.