Shaakila Nordien

Shaakila Nordien

Formulation Scientist
Master of Science with First Class Honours
Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Science
Diploma in Applied Science
Certificate in Applied Science

Topical applications such as cosmetic emulsions with anti-ageing actives have long been used as drug delivery vehicles, says Shaakila Nordien who developed an anti-ageing cosmetic range for her Master of Science specialising in biomedical science.

“Skin undergoes ageing because of genetic and environmental factors. To combat the effects of ageing, I developed a skincare range to which a Pāua extract may be suspended. The skincare range includes an exfoliating crème cleanser, anti-ageing serum, day crème with SPF and an anti-ageing night crème. These formulas have undergone characterisation testing to determine pH, viscosity and spreadability. My research also included designing a clinical trial protocol to inform future research on the anti-ageing efficacy of the formulations.

“Because the Pāua extract has strong antioxidant activity, this research will also provide a foundation for future research to explore the benefits that emulsions containing Pāua may have on more serious skin ailments. Until now Pāua have mainly been used for their meat and shell, but they could also be beneficial for the cosmetics industry, which would ultimately also benefit New Zealand’s economy.”

Shaakila’s master’s degree research was supervised by Associate Professor Ali Seyfoddin from AUT’s School of Science.

Returning to study
Deciding to come to AUT for postgraduate study was easy for Shaakila who took up her master’s degree after a few years of working in quality control and assurance in the cosmetic industry.

“I’ve always enjoyed the idea of drug development, and was interested in the development of ideas and the commercialisation of these ideas into products. I felt AUT was the university where I could best explore these interests of mine.”

While returning to study wasn’t always easy, she is grateful for the support available.

“The biggest challenge I faced was coming from the workforce back into university, but fortunately I had a very patient academic supervisor and belonged to a research group where there were always people around that I could ask questions.”

An inspiring research environment
For Shaakila, one of the highlights of her time at AUT was being part of the Drug Delivery Research Group, which specialises in optimising the delivery of drugs and bioactive compounds through pharmaceutical formulation and the application of new technologies and systems.

“As a member of the Drug Delivery Research Group, I was able to learn from and be involved in the projects of the other research group members, which equipped me with knowledge in various fields.”

She would highly recommend postgraduate study in biomedical science, says Shaakila, who graduated from AUT in July and plans to work in the cosmetic industry and develop topical skincare applications.

“I would definitely recommend this programme because biomedical science brings together many different research fields, including chemistry, genetics, drug development and aquaculture to name a few.”

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