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The Ferris Foundation Exceptional Merit Grant Award: Particle Size Analyzer

by Adam Jason,
Student Marketing and Communication Assistant,
The Ferris Foundation

Dr. Namita Giri

Dr. Namita Giri

Worldwide, the ratio of HIV-positive women to men is steadily increasing. Dr. Namita Giri, an assistant professor in Pharmaceutics at Ferris State University wants to change that. Being awarded The Ferris Foundation’s Excellence in Merit Grant, is just the beginning. 

While earning her Ph.D., Giri researched anti-HIV drug delivery and the difference between the infection rate of female and male patients. According to the grant proposal, “Women are more susceptible due to substantial mucosal exposure during unprotected sexual intercourse.” During this research process, she discovered that nanotechnology and antiviral drugs had great success treating for these diseases.

As faculty at Ferris State University, Giri looked to further develop this nanotechnology and to find a feasible way to administer this preventative treatment. The lack of equipment to analyze these nanoparticles posed a significant barrier to moving forward with Giri’s research. The funding provided by the Foundation Merit Grant will support buying a Zetasizer, a particle size analyzer used in applications where particle size and zeta potential analysis are needed.

With this new equipment, Giri hopes to develop a “mucoadhesive, fast-dissolving, biodegradable film” as an aid


The Zetasizer Lab

in the delivery of preventative medications to women.  "This instrument could save more people from getting infections even when they've been exposed,” she says, “It is like how vaccines work: they protect you from getting that disease."

This equipment has made the lab more functional. "With everything housed in this building, the lab can work every day," Giri says, "We can save time in getting the lab started so we can come up with exciting results. We can bring this research initiative into the spotlight for Ferris State University."

As an assistant professor, Giri teaches Phar 524-Dosage forms, Biopharmaceutics, Pharmacokinetics, and an elective titled Nanotechnology-based Advances in Drug Delivery. The purchase of the particle analyzer has had an impact on the student experience in the classroom as well.

 "I am able to teach my students how to make nanoparticles and how to check if they are safe or not,” Giri explains, “After you make the nanoparticles, you must know the size of the particle. That's where you use the Zetasizer tool."

"I am grateful for the Ferris Foundation’s support,” Giri says, “This award gives students the opportunity to experience research.”