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Stability of dry powder formulations used in drug delivery to the lungs studied one particle at a time


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  Prof J P Reid  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Applications are invited for a 4 year PhD studentship starting in Autumn 2023 as part of the EPSRC CDT in Aerosol Science


PhD Project Description  

Aerosols are used to deliver drugs to the lungs to treat asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and systemic diseases using metered dose inhalers, dry powder inhalers and nebulisers. Dry powder inhalers, which use dry powder formulations of active pharmaceutical ingredients and carrier particles, can exhibit aerosol performance changes over their intended shelf-life. This typically means that the measured mass of particles aerodynamically small enough to reach the lung varies over time; indeed, both increasing or decreasing trends are possible. An inability to manage these performance changes can have implications for the shelf-life of the medication or can cause routine issues during commercial manufacture of the product. 

The observed change in product performance suggests an underlying modification of the physical properties of the formulation. Initial instability of the formulation could be linked to the method of manufacture (e.g., electrostatic charge accumulation or induced surface disorder of nominally crystalline material). The rate of change could be influenced by factors such as environmental temperature and moisture. 

In this project, we will investigate the factors that control the stability of dry powder formulations on an individual particle basis, exploring dependencies on initial method of manufacture, surface charge, crystallinity, moisture content (of the particle and gas phase) and temperature.

Professor Jonathan Reid would be pleased to discuss this research project further with interested candidates.

About the Centre for Doctoral training in Aerosol Science

Aerosol science is crucial to disciplines as broad ranging as transmission of disease, drug delivery to the lungs, climate change, energy and combustion science, novel materials, and consumer and agricultural products.

An aerosol is any collection of particles dispersed in a gas. The CDT brings together a multi-disciplinary team of 80 post-graduate students and academics from 7 UK universities spanning the physical, environmental and health sciences, and engineering. Our aim is to tackle the global challenges in which aerosol science is key.

Doctoral Training in Aerosol Science

During your doctorate, you will learn to research in diverse multidisciplinary teams, gain an advanced understanding of the core physical science of aerosols, and collaborate with industrial and public sector partners, equipping you to undertake ground-breaking research in aerosol science.

During the first 7 months of your PhD, you will join the CDT cohort based at the University of Bristol. Core training in aerosol science, research methods, professionalism and translation will be delivered by Team Based Learning. You will then undertake a short research project at your home or partner institution before starting your PhD research. You will gain experience outside academia in a placement with an industrial/public sector partner in Year 2 or 3.

More Information and How to Apply

Candidates who aspire to work in a multidisciplinary field, and hold or will achieve a minimum of an upper second-class undergraduate degree in any of these areas are encouraged to apply: chemistry, physics, biological sciences, life and medical sciences, mathematics and computer science, chemical and mechanical engineering, pharmaceutical and environmental sciences.

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Application Deadline:

Shortlisting for interview will take place after the deadlines below. We encourage early application to ensure the greatest availability of studentships.

Shortlisting deadlines:

9am, Monday 12th December 2022

9am, Monday 9th January 2023

9am, Monday 30th January 2023

9am, Monday 20th February 2023

Shortlisted candidates will be invited to take part in the CDT Interview & recruitment process, where you will have the opportunity to meet with potential PhD supervisors and explore whether the CDT in Aerosol Science is a good fit for you.

Diversity and Inclusion

We are committed to furthering issues of equality, diversity and inclusion and are keen to attract the most highly talented individuals from diverse backgrounds. The needs of individuals will be accommodated during the recruitment process and while studying with the CDT. Further information on our commitment to equality and diversity can be found on our website.

Funding Notes

This project is part of the EPSRC CDT in Aerosol Science. Successful candidates meeting the funding criteria will receive a studentship covering tuition fees, research and training support grant, plus a stipend to cover your living expenses while you train, paid at the standard UKRI rate.
This project is sponsored in partnership with Viatris.


Thorsten Müller, Regina Krehl, Jörg Schiewe, Claudius Weiler, Hartwig Steckel,
Influence of small amorphous amounts in hydrophilic and hydrophobic APIs on storage stability of dry powder inhalation products, European Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics, Volume 92, 2015, Pages 130-138,

Depasquale R, Lee SL, Saluja B, Shur J, Price R.
The influence of secondary processing on the structural relaxation dynamics of fluticasone propionate. AAPS PharmSciTech. 2015 Jun;16(3):589-600.

Patent WO/2012/065056
Dry Powder Inhalation Drug Products Exhibiting Moisture Control Properties and Methods of Administering the Same

Haddrell, A.E., Lewis, D., Church, T., Vehring, R., Murnane, D., and Reid, J.P. Pulmonary aerosol delivery and the importance of growth dynamics. Ther. Deliv. 2017, 8:1051–1061.

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