PhD Studentship: Development of sustained release micro-particulates for children – medicines need not be a bitter pill to swallow.



Full-Time PhD Studentship (3 years):

Applications are invited for a Full-Time Three Year Research Studentship under the supervision of Professor Yvonne Perrie, Dr Daniel Kirby and Dr Kirsten Gräser. The project will contribute to the research activities of the Medicines Research Unit in the School of Life and Health Sciences and the Aston Research Centre for Children and Young People’s Health (ARCHY) at Aston University, Birmingham, UK.

The Project:

Background: Due to their pharmaceutical design, most sustained release tablets should not be split/cut/crushed, which inhibits the ability for age-appropriate dose titration and can present issues for younger people who may have difficulty swallowing such dosage forms.  Therefore, the aim of this project is to address the need for easy to swallow formulations, which offer sustained drug release and dose titration, thereby reducing dosing frequency and stable plasma concentrations.

Microsphere-based formulations, incorporating a range of Class I to IV drugs, will be developed using a blend of high-melting point lipids and/or polymers that can offer a sustained release profile, whilst also being desinged to avoid rapid transit through the gastro-intestinal track, thus offering gastric retention.  Physico-chemical factors will be evaluated and optimised, with particular consideration of morphology design and release profile optimisation, employing techniques such as drug loading studies, particle size analysis, differential scanning calorimetry, thermogravimetric analysis, cryo-transmission electron microscopy, and in-vitro release studies using USP Apparatus 2,4 and 5. The academic training programme being offered by this project will provide a range of skills to the student working on the programme, including formulation, product development and regulatory considerations.

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Financial Support:  Due to funding restrictions this studentship is funded by Aston University for Home/EU applicants; it provides a tax-free stipend of approximately £13,590 per annum and payment of Home/EU tuition fees only. Please note: This studentship does not cover the tuition fees for overseas (non-EU) applicants. The studentship is available for three years, subject to satisfactory progress review at the end of the first year, with an anticipated start date of 1st January 2014 for Registration.

Application Requirements:

● Eligible Applicants should have, or expect to receive, a good Bachelor Honours degree (either First Class or Upper Second Class) or to hold a Masters Degree in a relevant discipline.

  • You should be enthusiastic and have a strong interest in science.
  • If you are an EU Applicant, you will need to demonstrate adequate proficiency in English Language skills, with a minimum score of 620 (260 minimum in computer test) in TOEFL or IELTS with minimum marks of 6.5 in each section and an overall band of 7.0.
  • To apply, please complete the on-line application form by clicking the Apply link below and please quote the Reference ‘Pharmacy-Yvonne/Dan’ on all applications.
  • Applicants should provide a clear indication of their specific research interests.
  • The Closing Date for applications is: Friday, 6th September 2013

    Reference number: R130271

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