Evaluation of factors influencing the solid-state behaviour of pharmaceuticals
Crystal polymorphism, i.e. the ability of a compound to crystallise in more than one crystal lattice, is a real world and financial problem for the pharmaceutical industries. During the development of a new drug compound, solid-state investigations play a crucial part and begin as early as the identification of a lead structure. However, due to a lack of fundamental knowledge as to why a specific molecule crystallises in different crystal forms or with inclusion of solvent molecules, such early process studies depend on screening methods, which are expensive, ineffective and time-consuming. It is thus crucial to probe into the early stages of crystallisation leading to polymorphism with a systematic approach.
Most pharmaceutical drug compounds contain a variety of hydrogen bond donor and acceptor groups, which are vital for the compound’s interaction with receptors. However, in the crystalline state, these groups can interact with each other in different ways influencing the resulting crystal packing. In order to understand such complicated systems in the future, easier model systems have to be investigated and their solid-state behaviour understood.
This research project in the newly established group of Dr Katharina Edkins is trying to understand pre-aggregation in the amorphous state as step before crystallisation of pharmaceutical drug compounds. The methods of choice are X-ray and neutron total scattering as well as 1D and 2D NMR along with other solid-state analytical techniques.
This project is highly multi-disciplinary and spans between pharmaceutics, chemistry, material sciences, physics and computational modelling. Ideally, applicants would have training in one or more of these areas. In addition, students will have access to a vast number of training resources available at Durham University including those geared toward improving presentation skills at various national and international conferences, optimization of time-management and project organization, leadership and personnel management, and other various related training modules.
Please note that this project is self-funded. For information about fees and funding (and about entry requirements) please visit our webpages at https://www.dur.ac.uk/school.health/research/degrees/