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Development of the next generation instrumented dissolution apparatus

Project Description

These are exciting times in the pharmaceutical industry and sciences community to introduce new innovations and advanced technologies that improve patient care and quality of life. This PhD will enable you to start making your contribution to this exciting field. You will use cutting-edge measurement technologies to develop the next level of understanding in the disintegration and dissolution of pharmaceutical drug products. This will ultimately improve the quality of the next generation of medicines. The project is funded by AstraZeneca and the EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council), and this PhD will act as the perfect platform for you to have a career in industry or academia.

This project aims to develop an innovative instrumented dissolution USP Apparatus 2 to resolve the fundamental mechanisms driving tablet dissolution. It will deliver transformative outcomes to reach the next level of understanding in tablet dissolution. The specific aims are i) to produce the first dissolution tester that simultaneously measures the dynamic processes involved in tablet disintegration. In addition, in-situ Raman spectroscopy will be used to analyse if and when a solid-state transformation takes place during the dissolution testing; ii) to gain next level of understanding of how formulation and tablet microstructure impacts tablet dissolution: The instrumented dissolution apparatus will be used to gain fundamental insights into the relationship between the formulation, microstructure and tablet dissolution. High-end techniques (X-ray computed tomography, terahertz time-domain spectroscopy, optical coherence tomography, focused beam reflectance measurements) will be used in this work.

Environment: This is an exciting opportunity for the successful candidate to join the world-leading EPSRC Future Continuous Manufacturing and Advanced Crystallisation Centre (CMAC, ) within the University of Strathclyde (Glasgow, UK). You will be fully integrated into CMAC and will be based in the £89M Technology Innovation Centre. This will give you access to a dedicated national network of world-class, state-of-the-art facilities, including the £34M UK-RPIF funded CMAC National Facility. Your training will be aligned with the manufacturing research vision of CMAC that is informed by the needs of CMAC’s pharmaceutical industry partners GSK, AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Roche, Novartis, Lilly, Bayer & Takeda and technology partners. The project will thus proceed in close collaboration with academic and industrial partners. You will engage with the wider research team on a daily basis and will also have opportunities to interact with and present your research to CMAC’s industrial partners and the wider research community. There will also be the opportunity for a secondment at one of CMAC’s industry partners.

Academic supervisors and collaborators:
- Dr Daniel Markl (University of Strathclyde) is an expert in the monitoring of tablet disintegration and studying the microstructure of pharmaceutical drug products. Dr Markl will do the day-to-day supervision and will oversee the project progress.
- Dr James Mann (AstraZeneca) is an expert in dissolution testing.
- Dr Ric Barker (AstraZeneca) is an expert in advanced in-vitro studies.
- Dr Ibrahim Khadra (University of Strathclyde) is an expert in dissolution testing and biopharmaceutics.

This PhD position presents a unique and exciting opportunity for the successful candidate to deliver innovative solutions for the pharmaceutical industry with opportunities for publication in peer reviewed journals and conferences as well as delivering real industrial impact through research.

This project is fully funded by AstraZeneca and EPSRC. The supervisors will support her/his development, coordinate outputs and deliver the required outcomes over 4 years. CMAC will provide targeted training in pharmaceutical manufacturing in addition to the Strathclyde’s postgraduate training (PGCert)

Funding Notes

Applicants must have obtained, or expect to obtain, a first or 2.1 UK honours degree, or equivalent for degrees obtained outside the UK, in physics, chemistry, or electrical/chemical engineering.
Applicants should send a CV, the contact details of 2 references (including email addresses) and a covering letter, explaining why the applicant wishes to carry out this project, all in one pdf document by email (Dr Daniel Markl).
Subject line: PhD applicant for Dissolution Testing
Email address:


D. Markl, J. A. Zeitler, A Review of Disintegration Mechanisms and Measurement Techniques, Pharm Res 34, 890–917 (2017).

D. Markl, A. Strobel, R. Schlossnikl, J. Bøtker, P. Bawuah, C. Ridgway, J. Rantanen, T. Rades, P. Gane, K.-E. Peiponen, J. A. Zeitler, Characterisation of pore structures of pharmaceutical tablets: A review, Int J Pharm 538, 188–214 (2018).

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