The European Federation for Pharmaceutical Sciences (EUFEPS) has awarded the Giorgio Segré Prize to Prof Joel Tarning for his scientific research work on the pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties of antimalarial drugs in vulnerable populations, such as pregnant women and young children.
Based in Bangkok, Thailand, Prof Tarning leads a diverse team of 30 scientists studying clinical pharmacology at the Mahidol Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit (MORU (link is external)), 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. Prof Tarning is also the Head of the Pharmacometric Modelling Group at the Worldwide Antimalarial Resistance Network (WWARN).
The main focus of Prof 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 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.”
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 (link is external), 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.
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 EUFEPS have acknowledged its significance.”
Prof Tarning received the award at a EUFEPS meeting in Geneva on 15 June 2015.