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3D printing applications for transdermal delivery

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  • Full or part time
    Dr Dimitios Lamprou
    Prof K I Cumming
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round

Project Description

Microneedle (MN)-mediated drug delivery systems (DDS) and transdermal patch systems have been developed to enable patients to painlessly administer therapeutic micro- and macromolecule drugs for local delivery. A wide range of designs including solid metal or polymeric or hallow microneedles, and reservoir or matrix patches.

DDS display diverse pharmacokinetic profiles with variations in size, shape, chemical composition and surface characteristics. There are a number of different applications within medicine that require materials to be developed with the optimal characteristics, such as their strength, rate of degradation, porosity, and microstructure, as well as their shapes and sizes. 3D printing process was patented in 1986, however only in the last decade has been used for medical application, and has been utilized in the fields of prosthetics, bio-fabrication, and pharmaceutical printing.

The aim of this project is to develop 3D printed systems of various designs with high drug payloads using advanced additive technologies. The printing capabilities of suitable polymer grades will assess in terms of flexibility, mechanical strength and drug efficiency. Furthermore, printed patches will be evaluated both in vitro and in vivo to investigate release patterns, drug loading, stability and clinical effectiveness.

The project, based at Medway School of Pharmacy (University of Kent, Medway Campus) but may use other facilities/equipment, will offer the student a unique opportunity to be involved in a cross-disciplinary project and to develop key skills across a range of engineering and scientific disciplines.

Techniques to be used include: Rheology, Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM), Atomic Force Microscope (AFM), X-Ray Powder Diffraction (XRPD), Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC), In Vitro Release Studies, Cell Culture, Polymer characterisation, 3D Printing equipment and software.

Funding Notes

Candidates for this 3 year PhD Studentship must hold a first or upper second class degree in Pharmacy, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Chemistry, or related. The studentship is open to UK/EU students and will support the student’s tuition fees (UK/EU) and stipend at current RCUK rates for 3 years. The successful candidate will start the PhD in March/April 2017.

To find out more about the project, you are encouraged to contact Dr Lamprou (D.lamprou at For applications, you must include: (i) full CV, (ii) example of written coursework, and (iii) two references. Minimum IELTS 6.5 is required for all non-English speakers.


[1] Ross S. Inkjet printing of insulin microneedles for transdermal delivery. Drug Delivery and Translational Research, 2015, 5 (4), 451-461.
[2] Uddin M.J. Inkjet printing of transdermal microneedles for the delivery of anticancer agents, 2015, 494(2), 593-602.
[3] Lu, Y. Microstereolithography and characterization of poly(propylene fumarate)-based drug-loaded microneedle arrays. Biofabrication, 2015, 7 (4), 045001.
[4] Daly R. Inkjet printing for pharmaceutics – A review of research and manufacturing, Int J Pharm. 2015, 494(2):554-6.7
[5] Larraneta Landa, E. Microneedles: A New Frontier in Nanomedicine Delivery, Pharmaceutical Research, 2016, 33(5), 1055-1073.

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