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Application of a novel particle coating technology for paediatric formulation development


   College of Health and Life Sciences

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  Prof AR Mohammed  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Applications are invited for a three-year Postgraduate studentship, supported by the College of Health and Life Sciences, to be undertaken within the Pharmaceutical Sciences and Clinical Pharmacy Research Group at Aston University. The successful applicant will join an established experimental group working on particle engineering and formulation development.

The position is available to start in October 2022.

Background to the Project

The lack of suitable medicines for the paediatric population means that unlicensed formulations are often prepared and administered by healthcare professionals, which entails exposing this vulnerable population to risks in terms of safety and clinical efficacy. The multitude of challenges restricting progress in paediatric medicine development include lack of understanding of dosage forms that offer dose flexibility, safety and commercial feasibility. The translation of paediatric formulations has been limited, due to the limited availability of technologies to formulate commercially viable products that would be applicable for a wide range of high dose drugs. Pharmaceutics research group in collaboration with Mathematics will be working on this interdisciplinary project to address some of the challenges in medicine development by developing predictive models capable of minimising product failure together with robust decision-making tools.

The overarching hypothesis of the proposal is that application of machine learning, will produce predictive tools for the manufacture of high dose paediatric dosage forms. More specifically, formulation development will involve the study of particle surface characteristics to formulate interactive mix of coarse and fine powder particles. Coarse particles will be layered with cohesive material using a novel dry particle coating technology developed at Aston. Process optimisation will be central to understanding the effect on de aggregation of fine particles and subsequent deposition/layering on coarse carrier particles. Analytical method development using HPLC and characterisation studies such as surface charge, particle size and polydispersity, SEM and confocal microscopy will be employed to study coating efficiency and particle morphology.

Person Specification

The successful applicant should have been awarded, or expect to achieve, a Masters degree in a relevant subject with a 60% or higher weighted average, and/or a First or Upper Second Class Honours degree in Pharmacy/Pharmaceutical Sciences or a related discipline.

Preferred skill requirements include knowledge/experience of:

-      Basic understanding of particle properties – cohesive and adhesive forces

-      Good laboratory skills

-      Experience of analytical method development using HPLC would be desirable

-      Willingness to work on an interdisciplinary project

-      Basic knowledge of machine learning is an advantage – although full training will be provided

Contact information

For formal enquiries about this project contact Prof Afzal Mohammed by email at [Email Address Removed]

If you require further information about the application process, please contact the Postgraduate Admissions team at [Email Address Removed]

Submitting an application

As part of the application, you will need to supply:

•              A copy of your current CV

•              Copies of your academic qualifications for your Bachelor degree, and Masters degree (if studied); this should include both certificates and transcripts

•              A research proposal statement is NOT required

•              Two academic references

•              Proof of your English Language proficiency (if applicable)

Details of how to submit your application, and the necessary supporting documents can be found here

Please select “Research Health Sciences” when making your application. 


Funding Notes

This studentship includes a fee bursary to cover the home fees rate, plus a maintenance allowance of £16,062 in 2022/3. This application is only available to Home students.
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