Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate Scholarship: Saniya Alwani

The College of Pharmacy and Nutrition is pleased to announce that PhD student Saniya Alwani has been awarded an Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate Scholarship-Doctoral to undertake her research project, Engineering amino acid functionalized nanodiamonds for gene delivery, under the supervision of Dr. Ildiko Badea.

By Dr. Erin Smith-Windsor

This national scholarship is one of the most prestigious doctoral awards available in Canada and is offered to the highest ranked applicants to Tri-Agency doctoral competitions.  Saniya was ranked fifth out of 160 applicants considered by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council's Chemical, Biomedical and Materials Science Engineering committee. 

Saniya previously completed her MSc under the supervision of Dr. Ildiko Badea in 2015, for which she was awarded the University of Saskatchewan Master’s Thesis Award for Life Sciences. Her PhD research is the continuation of her MSc work and focuses on creating delivery nanoparticles to target medicines for diseases without cure, such as cancer. She is working to design a nanocarrier, capable of binding with treatment molecules and delivering them to the diseased site without deteriorating or causing harm to healthy tissues. 

Of her numerous conference awards, notable are the Antoine A. Noujaim Award of Excellence from the Canadian Society of Pharmaceutical Sciences (selected from over 100 submissions) and the Gold Young Scholar Award at the Diamond and Carbon Nanomaterials conference, organized by Elsevier with over 1200 scientific contributions. To date, Saniya has co-authored a patent, an invited textbook chapter in Carbon Nanomaterials Sourcebook published by Taylor & Francis, and three peer-reviewed articles. 

Saniya is the past-treasurer and current president of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Sciences Student Chapter at the University of Saskatchewan (the second largest chapter in Canada) and past Vice President Finance, College of Pharmacy and Nutrition Student Council. Nationally, she serves as a Student Board Member of the Canadian Chapter of the Controlled release Society. Apart from her career at the university, Saniya has also worked as a community pharmacist since 2016. 

Saniya hopes to hold an academic position in future that will allow her to follow her passion for pharmaceutical research.