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Coatings to provide taste masking for paediatric formulations: what parameters are important in manufacture and patient acceptability?

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  • Full or part time
    Dr H Batchelor
    Dr J Mason
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Many medicines used in paediatric populations are unacceptable due to their taste.

There are several techniques that have been used to mask the taste of medicines; these include forming a physical barrier (coating) around the unpleasant tasting drug or mixing the medicine with food to mask the taste.

There has not been a robust evaluation on the most appropriate coatings to use for paediatric medicines.

Paediatric taste masking coatings used need to: mask the taste from the taste buds; be pharmaceutically acceptable in terms of excipient load; be appropriate to use in manufacturing of a range of products (mini tablets; sprinkles etc); withstand degradation in contact with food where medicines may be mixed; have an acceptable mouthfeel and taste to patients and be used within liquid formulated products.

This project will evaluate a range of coating materials including pharmaceutically available commercial coatings as well as bespoke products to identify the most appropriate product to use for a range of drugs. Both manufacturability and patient acceptability will be evaluated within this project. Particular emphasis will be placed on the design of a liquid formulation that contains coated API with a suitable shelf-life.

This project will require an individual with knowledge about formulated medicinal products, specifically those designed for children. The individual will be required to manufacture granules and tablets and to coat these within the laboratory. Analysis of taste masking potential will be conducted using a specifically designed dissolution test. Analysis of drug content will be via HPLC and UV analysis therefore analytical skills are required.

All the equipment required is available within the pharmacy department at the University of Birmingham. Full training will be provided on this equipment.

Applications are invited for a 3-year fully-funded PhD Studentship starting between April and October 2016.

Person Specification
The ideal candidate will have a strong interest in patient centered research; be enthusiastic about the development of age-appropriate medicines for children; be confident in working with children and possess clear communication skills. Applicants should have a strong background in pharmaceutical formulation or science. They should have a commitment to paediatric research and hold or realistically expect to obtain at least an Upper Second Class Honours Degree in a relevant subject (preferably in Pharmacy, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Chemistry or Engineering). Relevant and recent experience of working with children is desirable.

This appointment is subject to a satisfactory disclosure clearance from the Criminal record Bureau.

The studentship will cover the University tuition fees and stipend for up to three years for British/EU citizens. Applications will be accepted until the 31st January 2016; however, the post will be filled as soon as a suitable candidate is found. The starting date can be between April and October 2016.

How to apply

Informal enquiries should be directed to Dr Hannah Batchelor ([Email Address Removed])

Applications should be directed to Viktorija Ziabliceva ([Email Address Removed]). To apply, please send:
• A detailed CV, including your nationality and country of birth;
• Names and addresses of two referees;
• A covering letter highlighting your research experience/capabilities;
• Copies of your degree certificates with transcripts;
• Evidence of your proficiency in the English language, if applicable.

Funding Notes

British and EU nationality applicants are eligible for both the cost of tuition fees and a yearly stipend (at RCUK rate) over the course of the PhD programme.


1. H K Batchelor. (2015) Influence of food on paediatric gastrointestinal drug absorption following oral administration: a review. Children (2015) 2:244-271 doi:10.3390/children2020244
2. H K Batchelor, S Salunke and C Tuleu. (2015) Formulating better medicines for children—reflections. International Journal of Pharmaceutics. Published online 7th May 2015. DOI: 10.1016/j.ijpharm.2015.05.017

3. H K Batchelor and J F Marriott. (2015). Formulations for children: problems and solutions. British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology. 79(3):405-418 DOI: 10.1111/bcp.12268

4. H K Batchelor, R H Venables, J F Marriott, T Mills. (2015) The application of tribology in assessing texture perception of oral liquid medicines, International Journal of Pharmaceutics, Volume 479, Issue 2, 20 February 2015, Pages 277-281

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