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Investigating the biological basis of mucoadhesion, towards developing transmucosal drug delivery systems

   School of Pharmacy (Medway Campus)

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  Dr F Brako, Dr M Casely-Hayford, Dr Elisavet Vasilopoulou  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Biologics (proteins, or nucleic acids, etc. or complex combinations of these substances) are a significant proportion of recently developed drugs. Examples include vaccines, genes, antibodies and hormones. These drugs are currently largely administered as injectables as their fragility limits their delivery via other conventional routes.

Transmucosal drug delivery offers tremendous prospects for expanding the options for administering biologics. As mucoadhesion facilitates some forms of transmucosal drug delivery, understanding mucoadhesion is key to developing more effective transmucosal delivery systems.

While mucoadhesion is increasingly being investigated, most of the research lean towards understanding the material (polymer) behaviour such as its rheology and quantifying its impact on the strength of adhesion. Thus, our understanding of the role and response of the biological elements (epithelial cells and the entire mucosa) in the mucoadhesion process remains very limited.

In this PhD project, we will be developing and studying interactions between 3D mucosa membrane models and mucoadhesive delivery systems for insights into the biological basis of mucoadhesion. Outcomes will be applied to developing transmucosal delivery system whose performance is enhanced by mucoadhesion but with minimal disruption to the physiology of mucosal membranes. This challenging but exciting pursuit should bring us closer to safer, more efficient and less invasive administration of biologicals.
Entry requirements:
Applicants should have or expect to obtain a first or upper second class honours degree (or equivalent) in an appropriate subject and a Masters (at Merit or above) in Pharmaceutical Science or closely related subject.
How to Apply:
To apply please go to https://msp.ac.uk/postgraduate/?course_id=784&course_level=postgraduate

You will need to apply through the online application form on the main University website. Please note that you will be expected to provide personal details, education and employment history and supporting documentation (curriculum vitae, transcript of results, two academic references). You are not required to submit a research proposal.

We welcome applications from people with disabilities and Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds.

Funding Notes

This project is a self-funded opportunity available to both Home/EU and International students.

Applicant must have access to funding to cover tuition fees, living costs and any related project costs (i.e. bench fees).


Brako, F., Thorogate, R., Mahalingam, S., Raimi-Abraham, B., Craig, D. Q., & Edirisinghe, M. (2018). Mucoadhesion of progesterone-loaded drug delivery nanofibre constructs. ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces. 10 (16), 13381-13389
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