Jay Phruttiwanichakun

Jay Phruttiwanichakun, PhD student, pharmaceutics

Accelerates bone healing process

“Through our frequent interactions over the past years, Jay has made a lasting impression on me that he is a superb research scientist, an excellent communicator, and a resilient student.” -Aliasger Salem, professor

Bangkok, Thailand

Faculty mentor/advisor:
Aliasger Salem, PhD, Bighley Chair and Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences, College of Pharmacy

What is your degree program and anticipated graduation date?
PhD in Pharmaceutics (anticipated graduation date: May 2026)

Please describe your research:
Our work aims to harness the power of messenger RNA (mRNA) to help speed up the bone healing process. mRNAs are part of our natural machinery to make all kinds of proteins that our body needs to grow, adapt, and survive. By mimicking how our body works, we are working on delivering mRNAs that will tell our cells to make proteins that will enhance bone healing in bone fractures or bone defects.

In simple terms, why does this research matter?
Our body excels at healing itself, especially when it comes to repairing fractures or damage in the bone. Unfortunately, when the bone damage is too great (i.e., extensive loss of bone termed “critical-sized bone defects”), our body cannot heal the damage to completion. Our research aims to promote and accelerate the bone healing process in this context, and to provide a cost- and time-saving alternative to the current standard-of-care options in the clinic.

How soon after starting at the University of Iowa were you able to participate in research?
I jumped right into research within the first few weeks of my first year in the program.

How has being involved in research made you more successful at the University of Iowa?
Research is the foundation of PhD training. After just over two years in the program at UIowa, engaging in rigorous research helps me grow as an independent scientist and as a person. I have become better at solving problems and communicating the sciences that I am passionate about to a larger audience. Being involved in research also nurtures me to be more adaptable and resilient.

What are your career goals and/or plans after graduation?
I want to join the biotech/pharma industry as a formulation scientist and help navigate the current challenges in the field of drug delivery. I am also interested in pursuing an industrial postdoc position to conduct cutting-edge publishable research that will benefit both the industry and the academia alike.

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