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Development of a water soluble formulations of fatty acids

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  • Full or part time
    Dr S Pin Tan
    Dr L Fitzhenry
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About This PhD Project

Project Description

Post summary

Antimicrobial resistance is a global problem, with an increasing number of bacteria being resistant to current antibiotics. Studies in WIT have demonstrated that an essential fatty acids, has potent antimicrobial activities against a range of multi-drug resistant bacteria, such as MRSA, vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus and fungi, making it a suitable candidate for the next antimicrobial treatment. In addition to this, the FA is found to prevent and disrupt biofilm formation, contain antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, while being non-toxic both orally and for external use. Coupled with this, it has wound healing properties and can relieve dry eye disease. Therefore, this FA could be used in a wide range of applications such as use as an antimicrobial agent for wound dressing, as antibiotics or as preservatives in eye drops or contact lens solutions. However, this FA is not stable on its own, inhibiting its usefulness. Therefore, the PhD project aims to develop a formulation to stabilize the FA in solution, targeting cyclodextrins (CDs), lipid nanoparticles and microemulsion formation. It is important to have a stable FA in aqueous solution to allow its usage in different applications, such as incorporating them into a number of biocompatible polymers such as chitosan or alginate hydrogels, for wound dressing applications.
Project aims:
1) To develop a water-soluble FA formulation using cyclodextrin, lipid nanoparticles or microemulsion
2) To ensure that the FA-formulation developed is stable and still active
3) To test the antimicrobial capability of the FA formulation against multi-drug resistant pathogens
4) To study the toxicity profile of the developed FA-formulation
5) Incorporate the FA-formulation into wound dressing
The position requires student who would be in multi-disciplinary, having knowledge both in formulation and in microbiology, in addition to competency in working in sterile environment.

Standard duties and responsibilities of the scholarship

With regard to the duties for the academic development of the scholarship student some examples are but not restricted to:
• Teaching
• Tutorials and outreach programmes
• Laboratory supervision
• Undergraduate mentoring
• Student retention
• Promotional activities and open day events
• Conference and networking organisation

Person specification
Applicants should hold or expect to attain, as a minimum a 2:1 Honours degree, or equivalent, in
Pharmaceutical Science or Biopharmaceutical Science

Master in Science by research in chemistry, formulation or a closely related subject
Research or industrial experience in microbiology and/or cell culture area

Knowledge & Experience


Knowledge in formulation, microbiology and cell culture would be essential in addition to competency in using analytical instrument such as LC, GC, NMR, IR and MS


Ability to work in aseptic environment, knowledge in material characterisation techniques such as
particle size, DVS, thermal analysis

Skills & Competencies


• Applicants whose first language is not English must submit evidence of competency in English, please see WIT’s English Language Requirements for details.
• A good level of generic skills such as literature review skills, use of on-line databases, report writing would also be essential.


• Competent in using Microsoft office, referencing software, statistical analysis

Further information

For any informal queries, please contact Shiau Pin Tan (Graece), +353 (0)51834121 or by email on [Email Address Removed]
For queries relating to the application and admission process please contact the Postgraduate Admissions Office via email [Email Address Removed] or telephone +353 (0)51 302883.

Application procedure

Please download the Research Postgraduate Application Form from the WIT Website and return completed applications to [Email Address Removed] quoting WIT_2019_36 in the email subject line. Please note that paper submissions will not be accepted.
Any queries relating to the application process should be emailed to [Email Address Removed].

Funding Notes

This is a 4 year full-time structured PhD programme.

The value of the scholarship is as follows:

Stipend: €12,000 p/a
Fees: €4,500 p/a
Research costs: €2,000 p/a

Teaching requirements: Two hours of academic development activities per week during the academic year in line with scholarship requirements

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