Daniel Lepek

Professor of Chemical Engineering

K-12: Pharmaceutical Engineering

Since 2011, Professor Daniel Lepek has been a faculty advisor for The Cooper Union's Summer Research Internship Program.  In 2011, Dr. Lepek led and supervised a project entitled "Drug Dissolution Testing."  His teaching assistants for this project were Charmain Wu and Ryan Poling-Skutvik.


The design, development, and engineering of drugs provide chemical engineers with many opportunities and challenges in the pharmaceutical industry. In an effort to engage the surrounding communities, New York City public high school students were introduced to the field of pharmaceutical engineering over the course of six weeks. Through the use of lectures, teamwork activities, and laboratory experiments, students learned about the fundamentals of oral solid dosage forms, drug dissolution, and experimental design. Examples of experiments performed include building their own “in-house” drug dissolution devices, studying the effect of impeller geometry and velocity on dissolution rates, and obtaining drug dissolution profiles for various oral solid dosage forms containing Ibuprofen using UV-Vis spectroscopy. Students were also trained in communication skills, such as writing a technical report and giving an oral presentation.


Students built their own "in-house" drug dissolution tester:












Students studied the effect of using different impellers on the dissolution rate of Ibuprofen.  Different impeller geometry can have a major effect on the hydrodynamic behavior, and thus the convective mass transfer properties.








Students studied the drug dissolution behavior of Ibuprofen, which exists as a solid dosage form, common purchased as Advil or as a generic form.  Students also learned how coating can affect the drug dissolution profile.







The following is an example of the drug release profiles obtained for coated and uncoated dosage forms.














This K-12 outreach activity will be presented at the 2012 AIChE Annual Meeting.