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  Exploration of Amorphous solid dispersion systems with multiple APIs

   School of Pharmacy

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  Prof Dimitrios Lamprou  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Several formulation strategies have been developed to improve the delivery of Biopharmaceutical Classification System (BCS) II and IV class drugs. These are based on techniques that increase the dissolution rate or to achieve sustained solubilization of the drug. One of the strategies involves the formation of solid dispersions. The term solid dispersions describe a family of dosage forms whereby one or more active ingredients are finely dispersed in a biologically inert solid-state carrier or matrix. Solid dispersions are mostly prepared by melting or the addition of a solvent. The fusion method consists of melting the carrier and drug, whereby the solid dispersion is formed upon cooling of the melt. With the solvent method, the drug and carrier are dissolved in a common organic solvent, followed by removal of the solvent via evaporation. Evidently, there is great interest to produce these (amorphous) solid dispersions via 3D Printing (3DP) techniques. In addition, 3DP could have potential to manufacture different concepts to study long-term stability, or to optimize dosing during clinical studies, or tablet shape during the development phase as it is a fast and flexible method. Our aim is to develop concepts employing multiple active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) in the same drug product resulting in novel treatments with controlled release patterns, e.g., combining slow and long-acting drugs.

The PhD student would be encouraged to engage in a variety of impact activities, disseminate the research project findings through public talks, and participate in QUB showcase events. Examples of impact activities includes: Blogs or web articles, Magazine articles, Public lectures, School visits, oral & poster Presentations (at local, national and international conferences), and Publication of scientific papers in peer reviewed journals.

Applicants should have a 1st or 2.1 honours degree (or equivalent) in a relevant subject. Relevant subjects include Pharmacy, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Biomedical Sciences, Chemistry, Chemical 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.

The successful applicant will be integrated into QUB research groups of experienced researchers with access to world-leading facilities and will work in close collaboration with the industrial partner. The successful candidate will also spend time to the industrial sponsor and being exposed to industrial view on drug development, attend conferences, mini courses & workshops for further development. The techniques that will be used during the project cover a wide-range and include: 3D Printers, Single Screw & Twin Screw hot-melt extruders (HMEs), Atomic force microscopy (AFM), Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC), Thermal Gravimetric Analysis (TGA), Fourier-transform Infrared (FTIR) Spectroscopy, Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM), Contact Angle Goniometry (CAG), Raman Microscopy, Mechanical Characterization, X-ray Diffraction (XRD), Hot stage microscopy (HSM), Rheology, Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR), and In Vitro Release Studies. Transferrable skill training will also include research management, personal effectiveness, communication skills, networking, team working and career management.

Applicants should apply through the University's Direct Application Portal:

Chemistry (6) Engineering (12) Materials Science (24) Medicine (26)

Funding Notes

The successful ROI/UK/EU Settlement Scheme citizen candidate will receive a fully-funded scholarship, which covers all university tuition fees and an annual stipend for 3 years, and budget to attend conferences, mini courses & workshops for further development.
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