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AAE Prof. Alina Alexeenko participates in lyophilization training workshop

Last month, AAE Professor Alina Alexeenko and AAE PhD Students Drew Strongrich, Gayathri Shivkumar and Dr. Tong Zhu served as instructors for a 4-day training workshop on lyophilization technology for Purdue Industrial and Physical Pharmacy graduate students and postdocs and industry held at Birck Nanotechnology Center.

Last month, AAE Professor Alina Alexeenko and AAE PhD Students Drew Strongrich, Gayathri Shivkumar and Dr. Tong Zhu served as instructors for a 4-day training workshop on lyophilization technology for Purdue Industrial and Physical Pharmacy graduate students and postdocs and industry held at Birck Nanotechnology Center. The workshop was organized by LyoHUB, a Purdue university center focused on advancing lyophilization for manufacturing pharmaceuticals, food and bio/nanotech applications, co-led by Alexeenko and IPPH Professor Elizabeth Topp. Lyophilization/freeze-drying is a vacuum process in sub-Torr environment (about 10,000 times lower than sea-level atmosphere) similar to the pressures at high altitudes. As a result, heat and mass transfer physics and many of the required computational models are similar to those developed for aerospace systems. The lyophilization process is complex and is sometimes called the “rocket science” of pharmaceutical manufacturing.  

The workshop started with a  LYO101 short course featuring a full 2 ½ days of training with some classroom, but primarily hands-on lab experience under the able instruction of Drs. Steve Nail (IPPH PhD’75), Lindsay Wegiel (IPPH PhD’13)  and Greg Sacha (IPPH PhD’99) of Baxter in Bloomington, IN. Representatives from Mettler-Toledo and McCrone were also on hand to instruct and provide hands-on training with DSC and FD microscopy. The class was divided into teams, each with a project to work on over the 2 ½ days, with each team presenting their findings and challenges at the closing program.  Social dinners were also offered where students could interact casually with the instructors. On Wednesday afternoon, 20 industry members from Indiana SMEs and LyoHUB member companies arrived for hands-on training in the LyoHUB demonstration facility followed by a day of classes on heat and mass transfer modeling. AAE PhD Student Drew Strongrich led a tutorial on In-Situ Residual Gas Analysis in Lyophilization explaining the principles and features of quadrupole mass spectroscopy and sharing his research findings. AAE Postdoctoral Fellow Dr. Tong Zhu led the tutorial on Lyocalculator modeling with AAE Graduate Student Gayathri Shivkumar developing a lyophilizer CAE model for CFD tutorial for industry and IPPH students. The keynote speaker for Thursday was Dr. Mike Pikal of the University of Connecticut with a lecture entitled “Modeling in Freeze-Drying: Past, Current State and Future Perspectives.”