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Novel poly(acrylic acid) complexes for enantioselective drug delivery and chiral separation

   School of Pharmacy

  Prof Karl Malcolm,  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Poly(acrylic acid)s (PAA) are widely used as emulsifiers, suspending agents and viscosity enhancers within the pharmaceutical, cosmetic and food industries owing to their low cost and excellent safety profile when administered orally or applied topically. They are generally used in the form of viscous colloidal dispersions (gels) prepared by neutralising a 0.1 to 5% w/w aqueous solution with an alkali. In principle, amines having a suitable pKa value are also capable of neutralising these systems (Scheme 1); in practice, only a relatively small number of achiral amines – such as stearyl amine and triethanolamine – have been investigated. PAA systems neutralised with chiral amines have yet to be investigated. Chiral PAA gel formulations prepared in this fashion have potential applications in various aspects of drug delivery (e.g., for selective administration of one enantiomeric form of a drug from a racemic mixture) and development of new low-cost chiral separation strategies.

This project – involving a partnership between leading researchers in the School of Pharmacy and the School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at the Queen's University Belfast – will expose the successful applicant to a diverse range of skills and techniques across the disciplines of chemistry, polymer science, analytical chemistry, drug delivery and the pharmaceutical sciences. For example, techniques such solid state nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (SS-NMR), high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), oscillatory rheology and circular dichroism spectroscopy will be used extensively to characterise the chiral gels and assess enantioselective drug release.

Home applicants must meet the following academic criteria:

1st or 2.1 honours degree in a relevant subject. Relevant subjects include Pharmacy, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Biochemistry, Biological/Biomedical Sciences, Chemistry, Engineering, or a closely related discipline.

International applicants must meet the following academic criteria:

IELTS (or equivalent) of 7.0, a 2.1 honours degree (or equivalent) and a master’s degree in a relevant subject.

Please apply at the following link:

Funding Notes

Department for the Economy studentships are open for applications to Home and International applicants for October 2023 entry. Eligibility and funding information is available here: View Website

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