Institute of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
Our current laboratory research
For further details and publication history please see my staff profile
Nanoparticulate drug transporters aimed at delivery across the blood-brain barrier
The blood-brain barrier (BBB) exerts its neuroprotective role by controlling the transport of endogenous and exogenous compounds between microvasculature and the extracellular fluid in brain tissue, and in doing so it prevents the entry of many central nervous system-active drugs that consequently cannot therefore reach their intended site of action. This work focuses on the development of drug-targeting technologies that can provide controlled, safe and non-invasive access for neuropharmaceuticals and aims to investigate a range of formulations prepared from polymeric nano-carriers that were designed to overcome the reticulo-endothelial system phagocytosis and facilitate drug delivery through the blood-brain barrier (BBB).
Chemically modified polysaccharides as biomaterials with pharmaceutical applications
The use of natural polymers for drug delivery and tissue engineering is attractive because these materials are readily available, non-toxic, potentially biodegradable and, in most cases, also biocompatible. Polysaccharides have unique physico-chemical properties, are relatively low cost and have well-defined chemical structures that can be modified relatively easy. This work employs synthetic routes developed for specific chemical modifications of selected natural polymers (such as chitosan, dextran, pullulan, pectin, guar or gellan gum), with the aim of promoting new biological activities and modifying the final properties of biomaterials to suit specific needs; the potential of the modified polysaccharides for a range of drug delivery applications is also being investigated.
Design and fabrication of peptide delivery systems using electrohydrodynamic atomisation (EHDA)
Electrohydrodynamic atomisation (EHDA) techniques employ high-voltage electrostatic forces that are applied to electrically-charged fluids to produce micro- or nano-sized particulates or fiber-like constructs with various sizes and morphologies. We are looking to improve the delivery efficiency of macromolecular therapeutic agents and, by careful selection of polymeric materials and processing conditions, we aim to take advantage of the versatile nature of the process to maximise the encapsulation and to improve the stability of a range of neuropharmaceutically active peptides.
Hybrid hydrogel systems for ophthalmic applications
The use of hydrogel-based materials in ophthalmology is now well established and the number of drug-device combination products reaching clinical stages is becoming increasingly significant. For ophthalmic drug delivery applications, the use of hybrid hydrogels - in various forms - can assist with the circumvention of natural protective barriers (such as drainage, blinking and lacrimation) and can provide increased ocular bioavailability, better comfort and patient compliance, as well as increased stability and therapeutic performance of the delivered actives. This project aims to investigate hybrid systems comprising of a combination of both natural and synthetic hydrogels and their applicative potential as medicated ocular lenses or subconjunctival inserts.