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Improving the pharmaceutical properties of drugs with Deep Eutectic Solvents: API-DES (DELSOI_U23SF)

   School of Pharmacy

About the Project

Applications are invited from students with independent funding for a PhD in the field of Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectroscopy applied to Drug Delivery. In the recent years, Deep Eutectic Solvents (DES) have attracted much attention for their application in enhance the solubility and availability of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API).

DES are eutectic mixtures which present thermodynamical properties that differ from the ideal eutectic mixtures, specially characterised by a strong depression in the melting point. They can be designed to be 100% biocompatible, to be liquids at room or corporal body temperatures with the desired mechanical properties or to enhance the solubility of an API by several orders of magnitude respect to water. The highest levels of solubility are reached when the API is a main component in the DES.[i]

However, very little is known about the supramolecular structure of DES in the liquid state that can justify for their thermodynamical behaviour or the molecular basis for the solubility enhancement of APIs and other organic compounds. Very recently NMR has emerged as a powerful technique able to study the intermolecular interactions inside de DES at atomic level, giving the key knowledge to design better mixtures for specific applications or to solubilise a specific API. [ii-iv]

In this context, this PhD project focuses on the application of NMR to the study of several API-DES and APIs solved in DES, to understand the nature of the dynamic structure and intermolecular interactions that give rise to their unique properties. The NMR study will be complemented with computational molecular simulations (fundamentally Molecular Dynamics simulations) and other physical techniques. 

Funding Notes

This PhD project is offered on a self-funding basis. It is open to applicants with funding or those applying to funding sources. Details of tuition fees can be found at View Website
A bench fee is also payable on top of the tuition fee to cover specialist equipment or laboratory costs required for the research. Applicants should contact the primary supervisor for further information about the fee associated with the project.


i) Pedro, S.N.; Freire, C.S.R.; Silvestre, A.J.D.; Freire, M.G. “Deep Eutectic Solvents and Pharmaceuticals.” Encyclopedia 2021, 1, 942–963.
ii) Delso, I.; Lafuente C.; Muñoz-Embid J.; Artal, M. “NMR study of choline chloride-based deep eutectic solvents.” Journal of Molecular Liquids, 2019, 209, art. 111236
iii) Lopez, N.; Delso, I.; Matute, D.; Lafuente C.; Artal, M. “Characterization of xylitol or citric acid:choline chloride:water mixtures: Structure, thermophysical properties, and quercetin solubility .” Food Chemistry, 2029, 306, 125610
iv) Bergua, F.; Delso, I.; Lafuente C.; Muñoz-Embid J.; Artal, M. “Structure and properties of two glucose-based deep eutectic systems.” Food Chemistry, 2021, 336, 127717

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