About the Project
Retinal diseases that originate at the back of the eye, such as Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) and Diabetic Macular Edema (DME), represent the leading causes of vision loss in the Western world. Unlike diseases of the front of the eye, where drugs can be delivered in eye drops and other conventional ophthalmic formulations, retinal diseases require a more site-specific approach. Despite the emergence of new drugs for treating retinal diseases, current standard of care requires direct injection of drugs into the vitreous, or back of the eye. Because of the relatively short intraocular half-life of these drugs, these injections must be repeated every 4 to 6 weeks. This method is invasive and uncomfortable and can lead to injection-related infections, require frequent hospital visits, high drug dosage related toxicities, and higher costs. For example, the cost of each vial of Lucentis®, a commonly used biological, is around £740 per injection. Therefore, this project aims to develop a novel biodegradable intraocular controlled release implant to improve ocular drug delivery.
This research project involves microfabricated engineered long-acting ocular drug delivery systems (micro/nano-particles & micro-sized implants) encapsulated with small molecules and biologics, evaluation of the implants for physico-chemical and mechanical properties, investigation of biodegradation kinetics of the implant, developing 3D printed in vitro models for testing implants performance, conducting drug distribution studies and evaluating ex vivo/in vivo performance of the implants in suitable preclinical model of disease.
Applicants should have a 1st or 2.1 honours degree (or equivalent) in a relevant subject. Relevant subjects include Pharmacy, Pharmaceutical Sciences, polymer science, 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