Amin Thawabteh, pharmaceutical institute director, awarded $3,000 for pioneering research

Amin Thawabteh, the acting director of the Samih Darwazah Institute for Pharmaceutical Industries at Birzeit University, has recently won the Mohammed Masrouji Award for Applied Research and Creative Ideas for his research on masking the bitter taste of guaifenesin, a medication used to treat coughs and congestion. 

The study, which the awarding panel deemed the second-best research paper submitted in the competition, details a method by which guaifenesin is joined with other chemicals − such as glutarate, succinate, and dimethyl succinate − to create a prodrug that does not bind to TAS2R14, a broadly tuned bitter-taste receptor that responds to guaifenesin. After ingestion, the prodrug is metabolized into guaifenesin. 

“Bitter taste is one of the significant reasons why patients, especially young children and seniors, refuse to take their medications,” said Thawabteh, noting that the method he developed aims to produce sweet or tasteless drugs that patients can take without any problems. 

The award, granted by the Higher Council for Innovation and Excellence, focuses on innovative breakthroughs in the Palestinian healthcare sector and includes $15,000, given to the authors of the three highest-rated studies to support the continuation of their research efforts.