New course in aerosol physics offered at UH Hilo College of Pharmacy

The class will focus on inhaled drug therapy, an important aspect of modern medicine.

By Kara Nelson.

Jolyon Mitchell
Jolyon Mitchell

University of Hawai‘i at Hilo pharmacy students have the opportunity to take a new course offered this semester on advanced aerosol physics in medicine. The class will focus on inhaled drug therapy, an important aspect of modern medicine.

The course will be co-taught by Jolyon Mitchell, affiliate professor, and Mahavir Chougule, assistant professor of pharmaceutical sciences, both faculty at UH Hilo’s Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy.

Mahavir Chougule
Mahavir Chougule

“The College of Pharmacy currently has no formal class in connection with the inhaled drug class of medication,” explains Mitchell, a private consultant who specializes in laboratory evaluation of orally inhaled products. “This is an important treatment modality for a variety of diseases including asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cystic fibrosis, lung cancer, diabetes and other diseases where systemic delivery via the lungs is attractive because of the high surface area available for gas and drug exchange to the bloodstream.”

Mitchell is an expert in the physical properties of aerosols, formulation and development of aerosol products, aerosol device manufacturing, and clinical application of aerosol products.

Mitchell says it is important that future pharmacist leaders in Hawai‘i understand how the various classes of inhaled therapeutics function, since their delivery is relatively complex compared with swallowing a pill or taking an injection. This is especially relevant to members of the Hawai‘i community.

“Hawai‘i not only has significant numbers of smokers and ex-smokers with chronic lung diseases in the community, it happens to have some of the worst local air quality due to volcanic emissions on the Big Island,” says Mitchell, further explaining that just because the volcanic emissions are natural, that doesn’t make them any less harmful than man-made pollution from sources such as vehicle emissions.

Inhaled drug therapy also has value beyond Hawai‘i. Training pharmacy professionals to understand how inhalers work, and how to coach patients in the correct use of inhaler products will be critical, given the evidence from many peer-reviewed sources that poor inhaler technique is at epidemic proportions at the present time.

Students also will learn more about one of the body’s most important functions.

“I expect that students will become more aware of how intricately beautiful and at the same time functional the human respiratory tract has evolved to become,” says Mitchell. “Our ability to maintain gas exchange is nothing short of a miracle, and students will hopefully learn to look after their lungs throughout life. In addition, they will learn about development and use of inhalation products.”

Mitchell says the class will round out students’ professional and personal lives, as well as train them in a vital field with rich possibilities, both in Hawai‘i and the rest of the world.

The Course

Aerosol Physics in Meds
Mondays and Thursdays
12:00-12:50 p.m.
PHPS 798
1 Credit
CRN 13221
Restrictions: May not be a non-degree student and must be a clinical psychopharmacology, pharmaceutical sciences, or pharmacy major.

For more information, contact Mahavir Chougule.


About the author of this story: Kara Nelson is a senior at UH Hilo double majoring in English and Communication. She is an intern in the Office of the Chancellor.

-UH Hilo Stories