Dr Defang Ouyang

Defang Ouyang

Lecturer in Pharmaceutics

School of Life & Health Sciences
Aston University, Aston Triangle
Birmingham, B4 7ET, UK

Research Theme

Chronic and Communicable Conditions

Research Centre

Aston Research Centre for Healthy Ageing (ARCHA) 

Teaching Activity on the MPharm Programme

PH1404: Formulation and optimisation of medicines - liquid dosage forms
PH1408 (Module coordinator): Professional development
PH4701: Clinical pharmaceutics

Qualifications & Education

  • 2011 - 2012 Postgraduate Certificate of Professional Practice (PGCPP) in Higher Education, Aston University, UK 
  • 2007 - 2010 PhD, School of Pharmacy, The University of Queensland, Australia (Supervisor: Dr. Harendra S. Parekh and Prof. Sean C. Smith)
  • 2002 - 2005 MSc (Pharmacy), Shenyang Pharmaceutical University, China 
  • 1996 - 2000 BSc (Pharmacy), Shenyang Pharmaceutical University, China


  • 2011 - date Lecturer in Pharmaceutics, Aston University, UK
  • 2005 - 2007 Research scientist, Shenzhen Main Luck Pharmaceutical Inc., China
  • 2000 - 2002 Engineer, Tianjin Huajin Pharmaceutical Company, China

Research interests


Dr Ouyang has pioneered the integration of molecular modeling techniques and experimental approaches in the field of pharmaceutics - 'computational pharmaceutics' -  to discover the fundamental principles of drug delivery at the molecular level and then develop novel drug delivery systems that advance healthcare. Computational pharmaceutics has great potential to shorten the time-consuming process of formulation development and decrease high cost of formulation development by reducing trial-and-error in the conventional experiments. "Today the computer is just as important a tool for chemists as the test tube." (Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2013) 

  • Cyclodextrin formulation. Cyclodextrins are a family of cyclic oligosaccharides, which are widely used for the solubilization of poor-soluble drugs. Molecular modeling techniques are able to screen the optimal formulation. 

  • Solid dispersion formulation. Solid dispersion refers to the dispersion of one or more drug molecules (usually poorly-soluble drugs) in the carriers at the solid state by different preparation methods (e.g. hot melt-extrusion method). Molecular modeling techniques are used to predict the long-term physical stability, and then screen the optimal formulation. 

  • Non-viral gene delivery systems. The key to gene therapy is the development of safe,efficient and biocompatible non-viral vectors for gene delivery. Our novel simulation approaches are able to extend our understanding of key mechanistic aspects of gene-carrier complexation, thereby advancing the rational design of non-viral gene delivery systems. 

External Activities

  • Book editor of <Computational Pharmaceutics - the application of molecular modeling in drug delivery> (John Wiley & Sons Ltd, 2014); 

  • Scientific advisor to the Editors of <Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences>; 

  • Guest editor of Special Issue "Gene Therapy" of <Pharmaceutics>;

  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy;

  • Member of The Academy of Pharmaceutical Sciences (UK), Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) and The Controlled Release Society (CRS);

  • Reviewer of French National Research Agency (ANR) and BBSRC (UK);

  • Reviewer of pharmaceutical journals of <Molecular Pharmaceutics>, <International Journal of Pharmaceutics>, <Journal of Pharmacy Pharmacology>, <Drug Development and Industrial Pharmacy>, <American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education>, <BMC Biotechnology>, <Pharmaceutics>,  <Biomacromolecules> , <Journal of Biomaterial Application>, <Bioconjugate Chemistry>, <Chemical Communications>, <Colloids and Surface B Biointerfaces>, <International Journal of Molecular Sciences>, <Chemical Physics Letter>, <Journal of Liposome Research>, <Journal of Physical Chemistry Letter>, <Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology B Biology> and <Drug Delivery>;

Selected publications


  • A. ElShaer, D. Ouyang, P. Hanson and A. R. Mohammed, Preparation and evaluation of amino acid based salt forms of model zwitterionic drug ciprofloxacin. Journal of Pharmaceutics & Drug Delivery Research. 2013, 2, 1;
  • L. Gan, J. Wang, M. Jiang, H. Bartlett, D. Ouyang, F. Eperjesi, J. Liu, Y. Gan, Recent advances in topical ophthalmic drug delivery with lipid-based nanocarriers. Drug Discovery Today. 2013, 18(5-6), 290-297;
  • D. Ouyang, Investigating the molecular structures of solid dispersions by molecular dynamics simulations with the simulated annealing method, Chem. Phys. Lett., 2012, 554, 177-184;
  • H, Zhang, D. Ouyang, V. Murthy, Y. Wong, Y. Wong, Z. P. Xu and S. C. Smith, Hydrotalcite Intercalated siRNA: Computaional Characterization of the Interlayer Environment. Pharmaceutics, 2012, 4, 296-313; 
  • D. Ouyang, H. Parekh and S.C. Smith, Investigating cationic vector-RNA complexation by all-atomic molecular dynamics simulation. CRS Newsletter, 2012, 29(3), 10–11.
  • Y. Perrie, R. K. Badhana, D.J. Kirby, D. Lowry, A. R. Mohammed and D. Ouyang, The impact of ageing on the barriers to drug delivery. J. Control. Release, 2012, 161,389-398;
  • D. Ouyang, H.Zhang, H. Parekh and S.C. Smith, The Effect of pH on PAMAM Dendrimer-siRNA Complexation – Endosomal Considerations as Determined by Molecular Dynamics Simulation. Biophys. Chem., 2011, 158, 126–133;

  • D. Ouyang, H.Zhang, H. Parekh and S.C. Smith, Structure and Dynamics of multiple polymers-siRNA Complexation by Molecular Dynamics Study. J. Phys. Chem. B., 2010, 114, 9231–9237
  • D. Ouyang, H.Zhang, D.Herten, H. Parekh and S.C. Smith, Structure, Dynamics and Energetics of siRNA-Cationic Vector Complexation: A Molecular Dynamics Study. J. Phys. Chem. B., 2010, 114, 9220–9230.
  • D. Ouyang, H.Zhang, D.Herten, H. Parekh and S.C. Smith, “Flexibility of Short-Strand RNA in Aqueous Solution as Revealed by Molecular Dynamics Simulation: Are A-RNA and A’-RNA Distinct Conformational Structures?” Aust. J. Chem., 2009, 62, 1054-1061.
  • D. Ouyang, N. Shah, H. Zhang, S.C. Smith and H. Parekh, “Reducible Disulphide-Based Non-Viral Gene Delivery Systems”, Mini-Rev. Med. Chem., 2009, 9, 1242-1250.

Invited lectures and oral presentations

  • Computational Pharmaceutics - Virtual screening in formulation development. NanoFormulation 2013. (Manchester, UK, June 18-21, 2013).
  • Computational pharmaceutics. Formulated Products-Meeting the Product and Process Design Challenge' Competition Briefing Event. (London, UK, May 1, 2013).
  • Computational pharmaceutics. Nutrition for Life Birmingham Workshop. (Birmingham, UK, April 10, 2013).
  • Computational Pharmaceutics - How to Apply Molecular Dynamics Simulation in Drug Delivery. School of Chemical Engineering, University of Birmingham. (Birmingham, UK, December 13, 2012).
  • Computational pharmaceutics - the application of molecular modeling in drug delivery. 5th Midlands Biophysics Network Symposium. (Birmingham, UK, April 18, 2012).
  • Computational pharmaceutics. Aston Research Centre for Healthy Ageing (ARCHA) seminar. (Aston University, UK, December 7, 2011).
  • The Effect of pH on PAMAM Dendrimer-siRNA Complexation – Endosomal Considerations as Determined by Molecular Dynamics Simulation. 7th Annual Conference of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Functional Nanomaterials (ARCCFN). (Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia, November 25-26, 2010).
  • Structure, Dynamics and Energetics of siRNA-polymer Complexation: A Molecular Dynamics Study. 6th Annual Conference of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Functional Nanomaterials (ARCCFN). (Coffs Harbor, New South Wales, Australia, November 9-11, 2009).
Cyclodextrin complexes
Beta-cyclodextrin/ibuprofen complexes
Solid dispersion
Solid dispersion
siRNA delivery
siRNA delivery

Employable Graduates; Exploitable Research