Thailand-based Swedish researcher Professor Joel Tarning has been awarded the Giorgio Segré Prize by the European Federation for Pharmaceutical Sciences (EUFEPS) for his scientific research work on the pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties of antimalarial drugs in vulnerable populations, such as pregnant women and young children.
Professor Tarning is Head of Clinical Pharmacology at Mahidol-Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit (MORU), Bangkok, Thailand.
“Prof Tarning has demonstrated that he can integrate trial design, data collection and data analysis to respond to a trial aim and also contribute to defining this aim, knowledgeably and efficiently,” noted the EUFEPS in its award statement.
“His work on population pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic modelling of oral dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine in children with uncomplicated malaria, and intramuscular artesunate in children with severe malaria, started the debate on new dose recommendations in young children which has informed revised WHO guidelines for the treatment of malaria.”
The Bangkok-based professor leads a diverse team of 30 scientists studying clinical pharmacology at the Mahidol Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit (MORU), a research collaboration between Mahidol University in Thailand and Oxford University and the Wellcome Trust in the UK.
The team has responsibilities within pharmacometric data analysis, bioanalytical method development, drug quantification of clinical samples and omics-based research. Professor Tarning is also the Head of the Pharmacometric Modelling Group at the Worldwide Antimalarial Resistance Network (WWARN).
The main focus of Professor Tarning’s research is antimalarial dose-optimisation in vulnerable populations at risk of treatment failure and resistance development, such as children and pregnant women. He has built a group that develops and uses integrated models for disease transmission, parasite dynamics, drug action, resistance development, pharmacokinetics and patient population characteristics.
Prof Philippe Guérin, Director of WWARN, said: “Prof Tarning’s work has made a significant contribution to our understanding of the optimal dosing for key antimalarial medicines used to treat children with malaria. The award is a fitting recognition of his work and we are delighted that the EUFPS have acknowledged its significance.”
Prof Tarning received the award at a EUFEPS meeting in Geneva on 15 June 2015.
Based in Järfälla, Sweden, EUFEPS serves and advances excellence in the pharmaceutical sciences and innovative drug research in Europe. Founded in 1991, EUFEPS publishes European Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, its monthly official scientific journal. The Giorgio Segré Prize is awarded by EUFEPS on a biennial basis to young researchers who have made significant contributions to the pharmacologic discipline of pharmacokinetics-pharmacodynamics, which studies the effects in patients of administered drug doses over time.
In 1998, EUFEPS established, in partnership with the Segré family, a special biennial award for investigators showing distinction in the field of PK and PD, to honour the memory of the late Professor Giorgio Segré of the Università di Siena, Italy.
See also our 2003 story about previous Swedish researchers at the very same faculty of tropical medicine at Mahidol University: