IMU’s pharmacy student, Naveenya Chetty Annan, had the opportunity to do her internship at the Centre for Novel Drug Delivery Technologies in Manipal College of Pharmaceutical Sciences (MCOPS). During this internship, Naveenya worked on a pharmaceutics project to formulate and evaluate the solid dispersion of Ciprofloxacin with different polymers using Hot Melt Extrusion (HME) technology. She relates her internship experience in India here. “During my break between the third and fourth year of my studies in pharmacy at IMU, I spent the first one and a half months doing my elective locally at Clinical Research Malaysia (CRM). To fully utilise my break, I then applied for an internship at the International Pharmaceutical Students’ Federation (IPSF) in India. My application was successful and two days after my elective ended, I was on a plane to India, set to embark on a new and exciting experience for the next 5 weeks. I chose to do my internship at the Centre for Novel Drug Delivery Technologies in Manipal College of Pharmaceutical Sciences (MCOPS). Under the supervision of Dr Mahalaxmi Rathnanand, I worked on a pharmaceutics project to formulate and evaluate the solid dispersion of Ciprofloxacin with different polymers using Hot Melt Extrusion (HME) technology. The project was very intriguing as it was the first time I was using HME to enhance the dissolution rate and bioavailability of a drug. The lab setting and equipment were fairly similar to the ones in IMU, hence not much time was required for training prior to commencing my project work.
While I was there, I also took the opportunity to go for clinical visits under the Department of Pharmacy Practice in the nephrology and general medicine units at Kasturba Hospital. This was incredibly stimulating as it was the first time I was tagging doctors for ward rounds. I had a bit of a difficulty understanding the conversations between physicians and patients as most of it was spoken in the local language of Kannada. I did manage to pick up a few common phrases by the end of my sojourn and a heartfelt thanks goes out to the friendly local PharmD students who acted as my personal interpreters in the hospital.
It was interesting getting to know some of the commonly prescribed medicine in India along with combination meds that are not available in Malaysia. India is well-known for its traditional Ayurvedic medicine, so I did not miss this chance to visit the Department of Pharmacognosy at MCOPS as well. On weekends and after work hours, I travelled around exploring the state of Karnataka along with nearby tourist attractions. Few of the highlights were Jog Falls and Agumbe for their scenic landscapes, in addition to beaches like Kapu and Malpe. As Manipal is a student town, it is considerably safe with strict security within the campus grounds. On the whole, this SEP has been a great learning experience for me and I believe it could be a tool to bridge the gap between nations by totally immersing ourselves and learning other people’s culture and history. Stepping outside of my comfort zone with an open mind and broadening my horizons has provided me with an avenue to grow not only academically, but mentally too. Meeting new people from various countries throughout this journey has also widened my social network. This opening to gain, develop and fine-tune my skills in a foreign land was not something I wanted to miss. I am truly thankful for this amazing opportunity and to all those who made it possible. I suppose one of the key motives the SEP is to break down the cultural and global barriers currently in place, and to be a part of this has been a great honour.”