Dr Marisa Van Der Merwe
I graduated with a BPharm (Cum Laude) from the University of Potchefstroom, Republic of South Africa (RSA) in 1998. I then went on to complete an MSc in Pharmaceutics (Cum Laude) which was awarded in 2000 from the University of Potchefstroom, RSA and also registered as a pharmacist with the South African Pharmacy Council. The research for my MSc focused on investigating the in vitro toxicity profile of N-trimethyl chitosan chloride (TMC), a mucosal absorption enhancer used in the delivery of peptide drugs.
Upon completion of my MSc, I was awarded a prestigious Nelson Mandela Scholarship from the University of Leiden in the Netherlands allowing me to do my PhD research in the group of Prof Dr. Hans Junginger in Pharmaceutics at Leiden Amsterdam Center for Drug Research. Prof. Junginger’s laboratory was world renowned for the work done in the delivery of peptide drugs with various mucosal absorption enhancers as well as mucosal vaccination. Work during my studies in Leiden focused on developing solid oral dosage forms for the oral delivery peptide drugs with TMC. I was awarded a PhD from the University of Potchefstroom, RSA, in 2003.
I was appointed in 2003 as a postdoctoral fellow at North West University, South Africa, in collaboration with MeyerZall Laboratories Pty. Ltd. (RSA), to investigate EmzaloidTM Technology as a mucosal vaccine delivery system.
In September 2004 I was appointed as a Lecturer in Pharmaceutics at the University of Portsmouth, followed by promotions to Senior Lecturer in Pharmaceutics in September 2005 and to Principal Lecturer in Pharmaceutics and Course Leader of the MPharm (Hons) Pharmacy programme in August 2016 and Assocaite Head (Education/Academic) in 2019. I was promoted to Reader in Clinial Pharmaceutics in 2021.
Apart from my responsibilities as Associate Head (Academic) and other teaching related activities, I am also involved in several postgraduate research projects either as principal investigator (supported by external funding), first supervisor or co-supervisor of postgraduate research students. I have a strong record of serving on University and Departmental committees including contributing to the successful award of an Athena SWAN Bronze Departmental award in 2016. My current research and innovation activities are mainly focused in the area of Clinical Pharmaceutics supported by strong collaborations with colleagues working in the NHS and/or other Schools of Pharmacy.
I have a broad research interest which includes:
- Clinical Pharmaceutics: a strong collaboration has been established with Southampton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (UHS) and more specifically Southampton Pharmacy Research Centre (SPRC) with a focus on chemical and physical compatibility and stability of IV administered medicines.
- The use of carbon nanotubes in drug delivery and clinical assays.
- The application of electro-spraying and –spinning in drug delivery.
- Chitosan derivatives as absorption enhancers for peptide drug delivery
- Mucosal vaccine delivery.