School of Pharmacy News & Media Center
The University of Mississippi

Pharmaceutics Grad Student Honored for 3D Printing Research

Posted on: August 10th, 2018 by herman

August 10, 2018

By Whitney Tarpy

OXFORD, Miss. – Jiaxiang Zhang, a graduate student in the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy’s Department of Pharmaceutics and Drug Delivery, was awarded Best Oral Presentation at the Controlled Release Society Meeting in New York City last month.

Zhang’s presentation focused on combining 3D printing with hot-melt extrusion ­– a process that melts and mixes polymers and drugs into rod-like shapes. Once formed, the rods can be immediately delivered into the 3D printer to create personalized drug dosages in the forms of  tablets, capsules and films.

Jiaxiang Zhang

Jiaxiang Zhang

“Without Ole Miss, I wouldn’t have gotten this award,” Zhang said. “I’m thankful that the university has the facility and equipment for these projects and for the unprecedented freedom to explore new ideas, materials and designs. This award is not only for me, but also to encourage young scientists who want to help improve the lives of others through this field.”

Zhang’s advisor and chair of the Department of Pharmaceutics and Drug Delivery, Mike Repka, has worked with Zhang for four years on his 3D printing research.

“Jiaxiang delivered an animated yet clear presentation that showed his interest in the topic and that he was deserving of this recognition,” said Repka, who is also the director of the Pii Center for Pharmaceutical Technology. “His novel ideas have been great for our discussions and presentations at various conferences.”

Zhang graphic abstract

A graphic demonstrating Zhang’s research, as 3D printing helps make personalized drug dosages.

After earning his pharmaceutical engineering degree from Northwest University in his home country of China, Zhang continues to grow his expertise. He hopes that this award, along with the resources within the School of Pharmacy, will help him solve problems facing the pharmaceutical industry.

“I was excited when I found out I got the award,” Zhang said. “The first thing I thought about was to inform Dr. Repka that our work was being recognized. He supported my research and inspired me throughout my study, from the big concepts to every single detail in the research.  This affirms our academic efforts.”