U of A pharmacy PhD student first recipient of fellowship with Pfizer Applied Clinical Pharmacology Program

New program deepens Alberta talent pool by giving students opportunity to work with industry experts on real-world projects.

Jon Pullin - 06 September 2022

A Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences graduate student is the first recipient of a fellowship with the new Pfizer Applied Clinical Pharmacology Program

The program aims to support students interested in the industry applications of pharmacokinetics (the study of drug absorption and metabolism) with a focus on pharmacometrics (using models to predict interactions between drugs and patients) and the role of pharmacology in the drug development process. 

Hamdah Al Nebaihi, a PhD candidate approaching the end of her graduate studies in pharmacokinetics, was chosen and began working on her fellowship in July. She is collaborating with and being mentored by Pfizer experts as she works on her project.

“As pharmaceutical scientists and as pharmacists, we work as a safety valve for our patients. My career aspiration is to devote my knowledge and experience to making a difference in communities worldwide,” says Al Nebaihi. 

“What we’re doing is using our knowledge of the disease, the findings from early and late stage clinical trials and the drug pharmacology to model and predict how the drug affects the human body. We can also use these models to improve our design of clinical trials,” she says.

An analogy would be how models are used by NASA to predict how space shuttles will behave in orbit, she explains.

The program was established this spring as a partnership with the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Applied Pharmaceutical Innovation and Pfizer. It was created with the goal of giving students real-world industry experience to deepen the talent pool of new grads in the pharmaceutical industry.

“We are really proud of Hamdah being the first recipient of this prestigious award,” says Ayman El-Kadi, associate dean of research for the faculty. “We are deeply honoured that Pfizer established this program to support students interested in the drug development process.”

“The Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences remains at the forefront of educating students to lead real-world drug development and research, thanks in large part to our industry partners’ dedication to building strong foundations of support for our students,” says Christine Hughes, interim dean of the faculty. “With opportunities and partnerships like these, we continue to provide our students with enriched learning experiences leading to impactful and focused career paths.”

“I believe this fantastic program with Pfizer will open numerous doors here in Canada and abroad,” adds Al Nebaihi, who is also thankful for the support of her graduate studies supervisor.

“I cannot express how grateful I am to have had professor Dion Brocks as my mentor over my graduate studies. He has played a major role in my success,” she says.

Learn more about the Pfizer Applied Clinical Pharmacology Program and how to give to the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.