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Personal profile

Overview

Research Areas
I am a pharmaceutical technologist with a particular interest in drug delivery to the airways including the lung, nose and the mouth-throat cavities. My academic interests lie in using chemical engineering, physical and analytical chemistry to understand the link between patient physiology and drug targetting. This extends to developing formulation analysis tools to aid identification of medicines and formulation performance.

The focus of my research in recent years has been in achieving improvments in specificity of localised respiratory and topical drug delivery. This has extended to investigations into patient use of inhaled therapies and has led to a number of collaborations with clinicians and pharmaceutical companies in the last 5 years on PhD and post-doctoral projects as well as collaborative commercially-funded research.

 

External Positions
I am President of the Aerosol Society (since April 2013) and represent the UK and Ireland at the European Aerosol Assembly.

I am also a member of the inhalation focus group of the Academy of Pharmaceutical Sciences and the scientific review panel for the annual Drug Delivery to the Lungs conference, Europe's largest annual inhalation conference. 

 

Collaboration
In the last five years, I have successfully collaborated in academic and industrial research projects and in developing industrial pharmaceutical education programmes. Recent collaborations include:

Dr Ben Forbes, Prof Gary Martin (King's College London) and Dr Elizabeth Collins (Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, Sandwich) - investigating the properties and aerosolization behaviour of combination inhaled products.

Prof Jonathan Reid (University of Bristol) and Dr Lea Ann Dailey (King's College London) we are investigating hygroscopic aerosol growth with a particular focus on controlling the response of inhaled aerosols to lung humidity to optimize drug delivery and potential toxicity.

Dr Omar Usmani (Imperial College London, National Heart and Lung Institute) on the impact of lung disease severity on the inspiratory forces achieved by patients through inhalers to predict respirable fractions and potential disease progression.

Dr Digby Symons (University of Cambridge Engineering Design Centre) on the development, design and functional testing of cyclone-type spacer device to minimize patient variability in drug delivery from dry powder inhalers.

Mark Hammond (Intertek Melbourn), David Yates (GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Health) and Susannah Clements (GlaxoSmithKline) to develop a post-graduate industrial regulatory affairs training programme. The course (MSc Pharmaceutical Sciences) was a finalist in the Inaugural Cogent Life Sciences Skills Awards 2013.

 

Translational and industrial applied research
Pharmaceutical technology and drug delivery was one of the very first translational research disciplines developing products and manufacturing solutions for the pharmaceutical industry. Some of the ongoing projects include:

  • DM-MAP - Drug and Metabolite Microsampling Analytical Platform for Preclinical Medicines Development. A 3-year project with Dr Ute Gerhard (University of Hertfordshire),Dr Neil Spooner, Paul Scott-Stevens, Sheelan Ahmad (GlaxoSmithKline) funded by the NC3Rs.
  • Assessment of alveolar macrophage responses to inhaled particulate medicine with Dr Vicky Hutter (University of Hertfordshire), Prof Richard Aspinall (Cranfield University), Dr Martin Bootman (Open University) funded under the CRACK IT (2013) Challenge 14: Inhalation Translation.
  • Clement Clarke International Ltd - application of formulation analytical methods developed at the University of Hertfordshire are being applied to aid in the development of the Flo-Tone inhalation training device.
  • TEMAG Pharma - application of formulation analytical techniques to achieve scale-up of product manafacture with a view to reducing solvent waste and energy consumption. Funded by LowCarbon KEEP (2013) with Dr Viral Patel (University of Hertfordshire).

 

Background

  • Degree in Pharmacy from Trinity College Dublin.
  • PhD in Pharmaceutical Technology from the University of London (King's College London). 
  • Teaching Fellow in Pharmaceutics (2005-2008) (King's College London)
  • Lecturer in Pharmaceutics (2008-2010) at King's College London.
  • Principal Lecturer in Airways Pharmaceutics University of Hertfordshire (2010)

Research interests

  • Inhaled drug delivery
  • In vitro product testing and modelling
  • Physical chemistry
  • Crystallization
  • Particle technology and control of the solid state
  • Industrial pharmaceutical development
  • Pharmaceutical analytical chemistry

Teaching specialisms

I have a keen interest in the teaching of science in the undergraduate pharmacy curriculum, particularly the physical pharmaceutics underpinning drug delivery. I am also interested in the development of post-graduate and vocational education for the pharmaceutical industry and have developed MSc programmes and short courses in pharmaceutics, pharmaceutical analysis and regulatory affairs. My teaching specialisms are:

  • Physical pharmaceutics
  • Manufacturing technology
  • Industrial pharmaceutics
  • Respiratory therapies
  • Drug delivery

Commercial and public engagement

Since beginning my academic career I have developed relations with a number of UK and international companies supporting internal research projects and full consultancy. I have been a member of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society Academic-Industrial Liaison Committee (2008-2010) and currently I am academic member of the Watford Chamber of Commerce Pharmaceutical Interest Network Group - a leading representation forum for the pharmaceutical industry in Hertfordshire and North London.

I currently supervise two industrially-funded research projects (Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline). In the recent past I have cosupervised a post-doctoral fellowship funded by TEVA Pharmaceutical Industries and several short research projects with GSK, Pfizer and Melbourn Scientific. One project on which I consulted was MedPharm Ltd.'s platform technology using temperature-enhanced dermal drug delivery.

I am President of The Aerosol Society, the UK and Ireland's premier learned society for aerosol research. Working with the Past President and Education Officer, we have established a research grant scheme for young scientists with an annual fund of £15,000; increased the number of annual PhD studentships and increased our travel sponsorship. As President I play a leading role in developing a forum for knowledge exchange between academia and industry. The Society has an annual turnover of approximately £300,000 and organizes international and national conferences, including one of Europe's leading conferences, Drug Delivery to the Lungs.

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