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Research within the ‘Nanomedicine and innovative technologies’ research group focuses on design and development of nanotechnologies and exploiting them to overcome various biological barriers for treatment of a range of human diseases including cancer, parasitic diseases (malaria), infection, dermatological conditions and biotechnological applications.

Nanotechnologies being investigated by team members include polymer micelles, dendrimers, metal, protein, polymeric, lipid and hybrid nanoparticles, nanocrystals, co­crystals, nanosuspensions, biocarriers and self­assembled peptides.

Research within the group also encompasses patient tailored 3D printing of medicine and innovative coating and taste masking technologies. The research spans following areas of development; pre­ formulation; formulation development; physicochemical characterisation; stability assessment and prediction; biophysical assessment, in­vitro and biopharmaceutical performance, cell interaction, transport mechanism; efficacy, pharmacokinetics and bio­distribution.

Our research covers multidisciplinary areas including material science, chemistry, pharmaceutics, biopharmaceutics, drug delivery, nanotechnology, molecular biology, biospectroscopy, biophysics, microbiology, medicine and dentistry with ultimate goal to develop novel, targeted and efficient treatment methods for patient care.

Funded projects:

  • Design and evaluation of targeted nanoparticulate drug delivery system for the treatment of brain tumour by Wockhardt UK (Holdings) | Principal Investigator: Prof. Kamalinder K Singh
  • Development of fabrics with long lasting antimicrobial finish | Principal Investigator: Dr. Marta Krysmann
  • Transforming oils/oily bioactives into free­flowing solid micro particles | Principal Investigator: Professor Kamalinder Singh
  • Two new members join Professor Kamalinder Singh’s research on a prestigious Split site PhD Commonwealth Scholarship, funded by the Department for International development. The amount awarded for the two fellowships for the year-long project is £73,165 (which equates to £ 26,400 student allowance plus £46,765 tuition and bench fees). Karan Razdan will do research into functionalized Nanoantibiotics for chronic wound infections, Komal Saini will investigate nanocarrier mediated formulations of white curcumin for atopic dermatitis.
  • Research paper by Justyna Skowyra, Katarzyna Pietrzaka, Mohamed A. Alhnan ‘’ Fabrication of extended ­release patient­ tailored prednisolone tablets via fused deposition modelling (FDM) 3D printing’’ was chosen as the best research paper in 2015 for European Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • Research paper by Suha Zwayen, Niroshini Nirmalan, Peter Craig Seville, Kamalinder K Singh “Optimising Nanocarrier Drug Delivery System for Antimalarial Chemotherapy” won the 1st prize at Functional Nanomaterials in Industrial application: Academic­Industry Meet 29­31st March, 2016. Symposium Prize sponsored by Hosokawa Micron Ltd

Prof Kamalinder K Singh

Prof Kamalinder Singh’s research interests are in the field of advanced drug delivery and drug targeting with focus on formulation design and development, and evaluation of different biocompatible nanoparticle-based platform technologies including protein, lipid and hybrid nanoparticles and exploiting them to deliver drugs across various biological barriers. Her group designs QbD enabled tailored nanoparticles with predictable morphology, size, drug loading and drug transport properties. While one strand of her research focuses to address the problems of much neglected tropical disease malaria where she has developed functionalized protein nanoparticles for selective targeting to parasitized RBCs showing complete discrimination from normal RBCs; other research strand involves developing delivery vectors for the efficient delivery and targeting of anticancer drugs for brain, breast and colon cancer. She has developed robust and scalable, multifunctional hybrid nanoparticles and lipid nanostructure platforms for enabling CNS negative drugs to cross BBB. As part of her ongoing research these nanocarrier systems are being functionalised with different ligands including Mabs, peptides, Aptamers and bioactive fatty acids for specific targeting to gliomas. Research in the area of topical delivery in her research group includes developing bio-inspired lipid nanostructures for deeper skin layer targeting for various dermatological diseases including atopic dermatitis and psoriasis. She also has interest in applying nanotechnologies to traditional herbal drugs to develop nanophytomedicines.

Dr Enoche Oga

Dr. Enoche Oga’s main research interests involve on evaluation of the biopharmaceutical properties of drugs formulated conventionally as well as nanotechnology-based drug delivery systems. Here the pharmacokinetics including absorption models/modelling and influence of these drug delivery systems on metabolic enzymes are explored. Formulation of fixed dose combinations and drug-excipient/ excipient-excipient interaction is also a key interest. She also has broader research interests in the areas of biomaterials and biophysical chemistry, and works on several related projects including; formulation solutions for poorly-water soluble drugs and investigation of targeted delivery systems which release drugs in response to biological stimuli. Her research is geared towards matching scientific research with clinical needs.

Dr Abdullah Isreb

Dr. Abdullah Isreb works on the optimisation and manipulation of the crystal structure of the active ingredients to optimise the stability, solubility and bioavailability of the API. These co-crystals were used in transdermal and oral drug delivery systems. Co-crystals are defined as a combination of two or more crystals using weak bonding that will not interfere with the chemical properties and yet it can improve the solubility and enhance the bioavailability of the parent drug. Similarly, changing the crystalline structure to a drug may result in improving its solubility and bioavailability as well. These two principles have been utilised in optimising the drug delivery through the oral and transdermal route. Abdulah has previously worked in Lena Nanoceutics in preparing nanosuspensions by milling. He also has experience with overseas companies to improve the bioavailability of their medications and improve their oral availability.

Dr Mohamed Elsawy

Molecular self-assembly has been exploited in Nature to develop the complex higher macromolecular structures of both the genome and proteome. Dr Elsawy’s research interests focus on understanding the fundamentals behind peptide self-assembly into bio-inspired structures for the design of novel stable, responsive and functional bionanomaterials with potential various pharmaceutical, biomedical and biotechnological applications.

The main advantage of these systems is the physicochemical tunability of the formed nanofibers by simply playing with the composition of the amino acid building blocks of the primary peptide sequence. Also, these peptide-based systems are biocompatible, biodegradable, non-toxic and non-immunogenic and thus are safe for use in pharmaceuticals and for tissue engineering applications. Together with his collaborators at University of Manchester, Dr Elsawy has developed β-sheet forming peptide nanofibers that can form hydrogels, microcapsules and nanoparticles. Recently, he has started exploring the interfacial activity of those self-assembled structures with the potential applications as emulsifiers and as stabilising agents in biopharmaceuticals. Another recent area of interest is using self-assembled peptide microcapsules for encapsulation of stem cells as safe vehicles for cell therapy application.

Dr Sarah Dennison

Sarah Dennison’s research interests involve pursuing a number of questions concerning the mechanism of action of antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) and anticancer peptides (ACPs). The research is divided into two areas involving theoretical and practical based research. The theoretical approach investigates the structure / function relationships of AMPs and ACPs and has established that architectural features of α-ACPs such as amphiphilicty levels and hydrophobic arc size are of major importance to the ability of these peptides to invade microbial and/or cancer cell membranes cells. The practical side of the research investigates peptide lipid interactions using a variety of techniques. The main technique involves the use of Langmuir Blodgett troughs, which is a powerful technique used for studying peptide interactions with lipid membranes. Langmuir Blodgett troughs are used to investigate the surface activity, peptide structure at an air/water interface, the ability of the peptide to interact with various lipids and lipid systems mimetic of bacterial /tumour membranes. Circular dichroism is used to investigate the structure of the peptide in the presence of lipid systems mimetic of bacterial/tumour membranes. Fluorescence spectroscopy is technique also used to investigate the mechanism of peptide membrane interaction providing information of peptide vesicle leakage and peptide binding.

Dr Shalini Kanagasingam

Recently, nanoparticles have been developed as potential antimicrobial agents for root canal disinfection. They have greater bioadhesive properties, have the potential for targeted release therapy and are efficacious at lower concentrations when compared to current treatments. This may infer decreased cytotoxicity of the antimicrobial agent, ultimately enhancing opportunistic killing of bacteria whilst leaving healthy pulpal cells within the root canal unharmed. Nanoparticles have the potential to aid in a more predictable root canal treatment prognosis for clinicians and patients. There are also potential applications in revascularization and regenerative endodontics.

By working with interdisciplinary collaborators at UCLAN, Dr. Kanagasingam seeks to explore the potential application of nanotechnology-based intervention in improving the antimicrobial strategies to treat endodontic problems related to root canal infection. This will help dental clinicians to predictably manage infected teeth and improve the overall endodontic prognosis.

Dr Kanagasingam is an invited guest speaker at the Malaysia International Dental Exhibition and Conference (MIDEC) in July 2018. Her first presentation is at the Multi-disciplinary Symposium, and her second presentation is at the EndoMolar Workshop.

Dr Zhengyuan Zhou

Dr Zhengyuan research interest is to design and develop novel polymeric nanocarriers for drug solubilisation and delivery. The nanocarriers include polymer micelles, crosslinked nanoparticles, dendrimers, linear-dendritic hybrid copolymers etc. The properties of the nanocarriers can be tailored by modifying the functionality or conjugating with various ligands to facilitate targeted delivery. Drug molecules are incorporated within the nanocarriers via physical encapsulation or covalently attached to the carriers via a proper linker. The nanocarriers demonstrate the abilities to improve the stability of drugs, increase their solubility and also enhance the permeability to overcome cellular barriers.

Distinguished Visitor

Dr Eliana Souto Assistant Professor at Department of Pharmaceutical Technology, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal visited UCLan under Distinguished Visitor Programme from 6th -8th December, 2016. She delivered research Seminar on “Lipid Nanoparticles: Perspectives, Challenges and Therapeutic Strategies”

Prof Kamalinder Singh will be visiting University of Coimbra under Erasmus Staff mobility program from 1 to 5 May, 2017

Chahinez Houacine is presenting her research on Nanoresvertrol in the forthcoming conference FIP, PSWC, 6th World Pharmaceutical Congress, 21 to 24 May, 2017

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