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SSPC’s EPSRC-SFI CDT in Transformative Pharmaceutical Technologies wins at the Pharma Awards
November 13, 2022

SSPC’s EPSRC-SFI Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Transformative Pharmaceutical Technologies has won the Pharma Education & Training Award category at the Irish Pharma Industry Awards 2022.

The CDT is funded through a partnership between the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) in the UK, and SFI in Ireland. The CDT comprises three academic partners: the University of Nottingham (UoN; lead), University College London (UCL), and SSPC  at Trinity College Dublin (TCD), University College Dublin (UCD) and University College Cork (UCC) in Ireland, led by CDT Co-Director Prof. Anne Marie Healy. https://www.transpharmtech-dtc.ac.uk/

The CDT equips doctoral scientists in Ireland and the UK to drive innovation in the pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors. Through an integrated academia-industry partnership and training programme, our CDT trains students in a unique cross-disciplinary interface between engineering, computational, pharmaceutical, and medical sciences under 4 core science themes: (i) predictive pharmaceutical sciences, (ii) advanced product design, (iii) pharmaceutical process engineering, and (iv) complex product characterisation.

CDT students from the 2019 cohort completing Research Training Module 6 in Trinity College Dublin in May 2022. Pictured with CDT Co-Director, Professor Anne Marie Healy (TCD) and Professor Abina Crean (UCC).

SSPC students undertake an industrial partner training project as part of their industry placement in the second or third year of the programme. Through these projects the students not only develop laboratory and experimental skills in new scientific areas but also develop and demonstrate other key skills required for both research and industry: independent and team working, experimental design and data management, resilience, and problem solving.

The research training modules are scheduled throughout the 4 years of the PhD programme and provide a threshold level of scientific knowledge across the CDT core science themes (Figure 2). These seven modules also integrate the subject specific knowledge with transferable skills development and are delivered by UoN, UCL and SSPC. Each module involves approximately 30 hours of contact time, with teaching delivered through seminars, workshops, team exercises and laboratory practicals.

All three SSPC HEIs (TCD, UCC and UCD) have world class state of the art research facilities. All standard synthetic and characterisation techniques (e.g. diffraction, calorimetry, microscopy, IR/Raman spectroscopy, NMR) are widely available. The three SSPC HEIs have complementary infrastructural resources which are available to all CDT students. These include an advanced pharmaceutical processing and characterisation facility in TCD, a biopharmaceutical processing and formulation suite in UCC, and a pharmaceutical and bioprocess engineering facility in UCD. Additionally, UCD Chemical and Bioprocess Engineering has a strategic partnership with the National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training (NIBRT) and most of the PIs at NIBRT hold joint or adjunct appointments with UCD, enabling them to supervise/co-supervise CDT students.

Building on this strategic partnership with NIBRT, SSPC has embedded 2 full days of practical training at NIBRT’s biopharmaceutical manufacturing facility into Training Module 6 (Pharmaceutical processes and manufacture), where our CDT students participate in hands-on practical sessions that include the use of disposable technologies, column packing operations and fill finish processes. This module also includes a Leadership Training workshop which combines theory with interactive leadership exercises that encourage open communication and sharing of ideas. This training is delivered by a leadership expert in conjunction with Tangent, Trinity’s Ideas Workspace (https://www.tcd.ie/tangent/).

The CDT will support students in Year 4 in securing jobs in the pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors, using ‘capability reviews’, and ‘CV Clinics’ with industry partners and their HR professionals. Furthermore, the CDT works with professional and learned societies to expand students training and networking, including e.g., the APS New Scientists Focus group (https://www.apsgb.org/).

Selection of CDT PhD student publications, in 2020-2022 (from a total of 15 total publications to date)

  • Januskaite P, Xu X, Ranmal SR, Gaisford S, Basit AW, Tuleu C, Goyanes A. ‘I Spy with My Little Eye: A Paediatric Visual Preferences Survey of 3D Printed Tablets’, Pharmaceutics, 2020. https://10.3390/pharmaceutics12111100
  • Khaled K, Krishnakumar C, Michael MA, Sonja V, Abina C. ‘Fluorescence spectroscopy for the determination of reconstitution time of an in-vial lyophilised product’, European Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics, 2021. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpharm.2021.120368
  • Tsolaki E, Stocker M, Healy AM, Ferguson S. ‘Formulation of ionic liquid APIs via spray drying processes to enable conversion into single and two-phase solid forms’, International Journal of Pharmaceutics, 2021. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpharm.2021.120669
  • Boniatti J, Januskaite P, da Fonseca LB, Viçosa AL, Amendoeira FC, Tuleu C, Basit AW, Goyanes A, and Ré MI. ‘Direct Powder Extrusion 3D Printing of Praziquantel to Overcome Neglected Disease Formulation Challenges in Paediatric Populations’, Pharmaceutics, 2021. https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics13081114
  • Awad, A. Madla, C. M. McCoubrey, L. E. Ferraro, F. Gavins, F. K. H. Buanz, A. Gaisford, S. Orlu, M. Siepmann, F. Siepmann, J. Basit, A. W. ‘Clinical translation of advanced colonic drug delivery technologies’, Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews, 2021. https://10.1016/j.addr.2021.114076
  • McCoubrey, Laura E. Batchelor, Hannah Basit, Abdul W. Gaisford, Simon Orlu, Mine. ‘Impact of the Microbiome on Oral Biopharmaceutics’, Book chapter: title Biopharmaceutics, 2022. https://doi.org/10.1002/9781119678366.ch17
  • Kramarczyk, D., Knapik-Kowalczuk, J., Smolka, W., Monteiro, M. F., Tajber, L., & Paluch, M. ‘Inhibition of celecoxib crystallization by mesoporous silica – Molecular dynamics studies leading to the discovery of the stabilization origin’, European Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 2022. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ejps.2022.106132
  • Trenfield SJ, Januskaite P, Goyanes A, Wilsdon D, Rowland M, Gaisford S, Basit AW. ‘Prediction of Solid-State Form of SLS 3D Printed Medicines Using NIR and Raman Spectroscopy’, Pharmaceutics, 2022. https://10.3390/pharmaceutics14030589
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