School of Life & Health SciencesAston University, Aston Triangle
Birmingham, B4 7ET, UK
Applied Health Research Group
Aston Research Centre for Healthy Ageing (ARCHA)
Two PhD positions available for (non-funded)
(1) Blood-brain barrier drug delivery (cellular/molecular biology)
(2) CNS physiologically-based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) modelling
Please see link below
PH1403: Pharmaceutical Calculations.PH2503: Medicines Optimisation.PH3603: Pharmacokinetics and Biopharmaceutics.
I joined Aston University in June 2010 as Lecturer in Pharmacokinetics following over 3 years of extensive pharmacokinetics training with the world-renowned Centre for Applied Pharmacokinetics Research as a post-doctorate research associate, within the School of Pharmacy at the University of Manchester. I have a broad background and interest in identifying and modulating cellular mechanisms impacting upon drug/chemical biodistribution and pharmacokinetics. Key to this approach has been the merging of bioinformatics and pharmacokinetics in-silico approaches to provide mechanisms that may yielding predictions of human drug biodistribution during early preclinical development phases.
As a pharmacokineticist and practicing pharmacist, I have a singular vision of developing tools and approaches which provide clear end-user/clinical benefits. This approach has driven successes in developing preclinical research tools to predict oral drug absorption and central nervous system drug biodistribution.
The research carried out within our group is highly diverse and we actively encourage the amalgamation of cellular and molecular biology techniques with in silico mathematical approaches to drive the mechanistic prediction and optimisation of in-vivo pharmacokinetics for drugs and novel dosage forms targeting the central nervous system via routes such as the blood-brain barrier, olfactory and otic approaches.
American Pharmacists Association (APhA) - Ebert Prize 2010 (Washington DC, USA)
Established in 1873, the Ebert Prize is the oldest pharmacy award in the United States. The award, administered by the APhA Academy of Pharmaceutical Research and Science, consists of a silver medallion bearing the likeness of Albert Ethelbert Ebert, former APhA president. I received the award at the APhA Annual Meeting and Exposition in Washington, DC, for the paper entitled “Methodology for Development of a Physiological Model Incorporating CYP3A and P-Glycoprotein for the Prediction of Intestinal Drug Absorption,” published in the June 2009 issue of the Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences.
MSc Pharmacokinetics (Programme Director)
Pharmacokinetics plays a vital component in the drug discovery and development process, and provides critical and quantitative knowledge on how a drug enters and is processed by the body. Pharmacokinetics aims to quantify and improve prediction at all steps between drug discovery and use with mechanism-based modelling methodologies.
Our goal is to provide guidance in the development, evaluation and implementation of in vitro and in silico approaches for predicting and improving human clinical pharmacokinetics to optimise dosing and pharmacodynamic response.
Whole Body Physiologically-Based Pharmacokinetic Modelling
We are developing, assessing and evaluating the use of whole body physiologically-based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) models to the prediction of drug pharmacokinetic behaviour, utilising drug specific physicochemical, in vitro and nonclinical data along with extensive physiological data. Key to this approach is the development of modular organ/tissue specific models.
Key successes have developed human predictive pharmacokinetics models to assess the extent of oral drug absorption and central nervous systems drug disposition (brain parenchyma cells and cerebrospinal fluid) using a limited set of pre-clinical drug specific parameters. These approaches are currently being applied to the development of predictive pharmacokinetics models of other human tissues/organs including the placenta, breast tissue, nasal cavity, bone and eye. Current projects include:
Systems biology and bioinformatics: Drug transporter modelling
To ensure successful drug-based treatment strategies, favourable pharmacokinetic characteristics of drug absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion are essential. By modulating these processes we are able to influence the efficacy of disease treatments. Drug-efflux transporters located within the plasma membrane, which actively extrude agents out of cells, have recently been identified as key mechanisms which have the potential to alter pharmacokinetic properties and are involved in the phenomenon of cancer multidrug resistance.
Research within the group aims to apply bioinformatics approaches to predicting the structure (homology modelling) of pharmacokinetically relevant drug transporter proteins such as P-glycoprotein (P-gp), Breast Cancer Resistance Protein (BCRP) and Multidrug Resistance Protein-1 (MRP-1), and suitable candidate modulators (ligand-docking) of drug-transporters proteins.
CNS targeting and drug delivery
We are developing, assessing and evaluating the use of in-vitro organtypic cell culture models to assess both blood-brain barrier (BBB) and blood-CSF-barrier (BCSFB) drug targeting and delivery to the brain. We are actively working with immortalised and primary cell culture systems to characterise the disposition of drugs across the brain and CSF and the factors that influence this. Current projects include:
Nasal targeting and by-passing the blood-brain barrier
In parallel to approaches to deliver drug across the BBB, we are actively engaged in exploiting the olfactory pathways to allow direct ‘nose-to-brain’ drug delivery. Our research is focussed on the design of appropriate nasal delivery systems which will increase nasal residency but also provide an element of olfactory mucosa targeting. Our work focusses on both intelligent biopolymer systems and exploiting existing pMDI inhaler technologies for olfactory targeting. Current projects include:
Otic (ear) drug delivery systems
In a cross-discipline initiative, we are working closely with our colleagues in the Audiology to develop patient-appropriate drug delivery system which will non-invasively deliver appropriate small and large molecular weight therapeutics to patients in a controlled manner using existing cochlear technologies. Current project include:
I have two PhD projects in CNS drug delivery available to applicants who are INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS (based in the UK or overseas) or to any SELF-FUNDED students ONLY. No funding is available for these except for a discount on your tuition fees as detailed on the Post-graduate application webpage (only for international students).
Optimising CNS Drug Delivery: Development of a Physiologically-Based Pharmacokinetic & Systems-Biology Based Model of the Human Blood-Brain Barrier
Enhancing the delivery of drugs across the blood-brain barrier: a molecular and formulation approach