Presidents Blog Ruth Schmid
Interfaces – breeding ground for life


Yellowstone Park, Wyoming, USA

Sitting at a lake, fjord, or hot spring and studying the surface layer of water or bacterial mats, makes me reflect on the wealth of life ongoing at interfaces in nature. Such interfaces are the origin of bacterial life, producing many active compounds, e.g., drugs and nutrients. Bioprospecting results in continuous new discoveries. Interfaces and the life they contain need to be used wisely while being protected from outside disturbances. An imbalance can kill parts of the interfacial environment and reduce the life within it.

Interfaces are of high interest and importance in delivery science as well. Interfaces protect the active on one side from the environment on the other side. They are tailor-made barriers that control permeation from one side to the other. There is a lot of life at the interfaces in a body. Cells, proteins, lipids, and carbohydrates invade the surface of delivery systems and create communities of life that may be used for controlled and targeted delivery of actives. Interfaces also present challenges for delivery scientists, precisely because of the life found at interface. It makes the interface unpredictable, inhomogeneous, and variable, but also interesting for any creative and curious scientist.

CRS as an organization also has interfaces that can be sources of life—interfaces that we can nurture and leverage much more than we have done thus far. Members from different application areas - pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, food and beverages, etc., come together in this society. CRS is unique in having members from widely different industrial segments in one organization and thus can offer networking and sessions of interest at their interfaces. Examples include oral delivery of drugs and food additives, flavours, and nutrients and transdermal delivery of drugs and cosmetic additives and fragrances. Learning from each other by discussing and sharing experiences is possible at the interfaces in our organization. Scientists from one industrial segment may not find these interfaces in other market-specific organizations and conferences, e.g., AAPS, SCC, and IFT. CRS needs to exploit this diversity more and offer year-round opportunities for interactions amongst these different groups, by creating discussion fora and year-round member activities. Communities of Practice, replacing the focus groups, may be such an instrument, as well as other discussion fora, social media groups, etc. Another unique interface for CRS is that between our academic and industrial members. Few conferences and events have a mix from both the basic science community and the applied science and product-based community. This is another opportunity that we need to explore and utilize more in the future. I would like to challenge all members to tell us their ideas on how to exploit these interfaces more intensely in the future and through this create a more lively membership experience in CRS. Let our scientific and organizational interfaces be a breeding ground for life, use them wisely, and protect them.

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