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Master student Nicole ter Laak wins third “Dr. Saal van Zwanenberg research price” 

Nicole ter Laak (Master student Biopharmaceutical sciences) has won the third price of the “Dr Saal van Zwanenberg research price”. The award ceremony is on 14 November.

During my research project (RP1) at the Systems Pharmacology and Pharmacy division at LACDR, I studied the impact of being born Small for Gestational Age (SGA) on gentamicin clearance in neonates. My research was supervised by Dr. Anne van Rongen en Prof. Dr. Catherijne Knibbe. It was part of a larger project studying eight different drugs in SGA neonates. This project is carried out in collaboration with the Neonatology Department of Erasmus MC, Sophia Children’s Hospital and is funded by STIMAG. 

SGA neonates are neonates that have a very low birth bodyweight for their gestational age, i.e. a bodyweight under the 10th percentile of a growth chart. This is a highly vulnerable patient group, that is often treated with multiple drugs. Although from recent research efforts we have learned much about dosing of drugs in neonates, we know very little about the dosing of drugs in SGA neonates. My project aimed to determine the influence of being born SGA on the pharmacokinetics of the renally cleared antibiotic gentamicin. For this purpose, I developed a pharmacokinetic model, which showed that in SGA neonates, gentamicin clearance matures rapidly, resulting in a higher gentamicin clearance in SGA neonates compared to their Appropriate for Gestational Age (AGA) counterparts from five days of life onwards. These findings emphasise the need to include SGA neonates in the dosing guidelines for gentamicin and other renally cleared drugs in neonates.

The award is provided by the Royal Holland Society of Sciences and Humanities

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