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Electrospun Nanofibers for the Delivery of Biopharmaceuticals


   School of Pharmacy


About the Project

The aim of this project is to investigate the use of both solution and melt based electrospinning methods for the manufacture of oral films and scaffolds for wound healing by incorporating biologic drugs (e.g. SiRNA).

Biopharmaceutical formulations are more stable in the solid state than in liquid form. Currently, the pharmaceutical industry is typically applying freeze-drying and spray-drying processes in order to obtain solid biopharmaceuticals, however, both technologies have disadvantages.

Electrospinning is a unique and versatile technique that depends on the electrostatic repulsion between surface charges to constantly draw nanofibers from viscoelastic fluids and has been used to manufacture nanofibers for various applications. Advantages of this novel technique include extremely rapid drying speeds, ease of implementation, compatibility with a wide range of active ingredients (including those which are thermally labile), and the generation of nanofibrous products with large surface areas and high porosity, well controlled spatial distribution of components and concomitantly improved/programmable drug release profiles. The manufacturing of nanofibers for a variety of drug delivery and tissue engineering applications includes oral films, mesh implants, and scaffolds for wound healing. There are two models of electrospinning, melt and fluid/solution.

To our knowledge, however, comparisons between solution/fluid and melt modes of electrospinning technology as a means of formulating biopharmaceuticals has not been well explored. Our facility in QUB hosts four electrospinning systems, covering both solution and melt approaches. Hence, the proposed project will systemically compare these two methods through investigating a range of electrospun parameters and biodegradable polymers with a model biopharmaceutical system.

Funding Notes

Applicants should have a 1st or 2.1 honours degree (or equivalent) in a relevant subject. Relevant subjects include Pharmacy, Molecular Biology, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Biochemistry, Biological/Biomedical Sciences, Chemistry, Engineering, or a closely related discipline. Students who have a 2.2 honours degree and a Master’s degree may also be considered, but the School reserves the right to shortlist for interview only those applicants who have demonstrated high academic attainment to date.

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