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Ana Luiza Pinto Queiroz, SSPC Academic Collaboration of the Year
September 9, 2020

Congratulations to Ana Luiza Pinto Queiroz, formerly of University College Cork, on winning SSPC’s Academic Collaboration of the Year, sponsored by IRDG. This award is in recognition of collaborative projects between academics at different institutions within SSPC’s higher education partners, that have yielded outputs that would not have been possible without the involvement of both/more.

The collaboration included support from members at University college Cork (UCC), University of Limerick (UL), University College Dublin (UCD) and Trinity College Dublin (TCD). Abina Crean, Sonja Vucen (UCC), Barbara Schaller (UL), Barbara Wood, (UCD) & APC Ltd., Anne Marie Healy (TCD) and Jayprakash Yadav (TCD).

The project entitled “Investigating relationships between microcrystalline cellulose crystallinity and moisture sorption capacity” was led by the PhD candidate Ana Luiza P. Queiroz, her supervisor Dr Abina Crean, and co-supervisor Dr Sonja Vucen. The aim of this study was to firstly develop an analytical technique to rapidly quantify Microcrystalline cellulose (MCC) crystallinity and to secondly assess the relationship between MCC crystallinity and moisture sorption. Then apply the findings to control granulation and tabletability process parameters and predict tablet dissolution behaviour. MCC is the excipient most widely used in solid dosage forms. It is a semi-crystalline material with inherent crystallinity variability due to raw material source and variable processing conditions. If not well controlled, the variability of this critical material attributes may negatively impact on control of processes (granulation, tabletting) as well as the critical quality attributes of final products.

“The outputs of this project could not have been achieved without the collaborations within the SSPC centre, demonstrating a very positive Centre Effect. The team would like to thank SFI for funding the SSPC Centre, and SSPC Organisation Team for encouraging this collaborative environment between academics and industry partners”. Ana Luiza Pinto Queiroz.

Nature of Collaboration

The initial experimental work was carried out by Ana Luiza at UCC. However, it became apparent that the most suitable analytical instrumentation was not available in UCC. Therefore, Ana Luiza reached out to academic and industry researchers in other partner institutes and companies.

As an Oscillatory ball mill and Raman MR probe were located at UL, additional experimental work was performed at the Bernal Institute with access organized by postdoctoral researcher Barbara Schaller. In addition, Dr Barbara Wood, postdoctoral researcher at UCD at the time, now Research Fellow at APC Ltd., organized access to Ana Luiza to use advanced disintegration and dissolution PAT tools in UCD (Easymax® system with FBRM® and PVM® probes). Barbara also organized access to Ana Luiza to use a Raman PhAT probe at APC Ltd. However, Ana Luiza realized that the Raman PhAT probe in place was not functioning with the required sensitivity and the experimental work involving this technique had to be put in standby.

With follow up, Prof. Anne Marie Healy, TCD, organized access to Ana Luiza to use TCD’s Raman PhAT probe. In turn, Ana Luiza also provided training to TCD researchers on how to operate the system, troubleshoot and analyse the Raman spectroscopy data obtained.

The application called McCrystal was designed based on the research and is now available on the SSPC website (www.sspc.ie). This serves as a guide other SSPC researchers about how modelling research can be disseminated.

Ana Luiza was offered a contract as a Process Development Engineer at APC Ltd, in April 2020. Part of this achievement was due to the expertise gained while Ana Luiza was doing the experimental work mentioned above in UCD and APC Ltd.

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