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Dr Blair Johnston

Senior Lecturer

Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences


Enabling precision manufacturing of active pharmaceutical ingredients : workflow for seeded cooling continuous crystallisation
Brown Cameron J., McGlone Thomas, Yerdelen Stephanie, Srirambhatla Vijay, Mabbott Fraser, Gurung Rajesh, Briuglia Maria L., Ahmed Bilal, Polyzois Hector, McGinty John, Perciballi Francesca, Fysikopoulos Dimitris, Macfhionnghaile Pól, Siddique Humera, Raval Vishal, Harrington Tomás S., Vassileiou Antony, Robertson Murray, Prasad Elke, Johnston Andrea, Johnston Blair, Nordon Alison, Srai Jagjit, Halbert Gavin, Ter Horst Joop H., Price Chris J., Rielly Chris D., Sefcik Jan, Florence Alastair J.
Molecular Systems Design & Engineering, (2018)
Degradation behavior of silk nanoparticles – enzyme responsiveness
Wongpinyochit Thidarat, Johnston Blair F., Seib F. Philipp
ACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering Vol 4, pp. 942-951, (2018)
Regioselective reaction of heterocyclic N-oxides, an acyl chloride and cyclic thioethers
Frei Przemysslaw, Jones D. Heulyn, Kay Steven T., McLellan Jayde A., Johnston Blair F., Kennedy Alan R., Tomkinson Nicholas C. O.
Journal of Organic Chemistry, (2018)
Aqueous solubility of organic salts. Investigating trends in a systematic series of 51 crystalline salt forms of methylephedrine
S. de Moraes Lygia, Edwards Darren, Florence Alastair J., Johnston Andrea, Johnston Blair F., Morrison Catriona A., Kennedy Alan R.
Crystal Growth and Design Vol 17, pp. 3277-3286, (2017)
Metabolic reprogramming of macrophages exposed to silk, poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) and silica nanoparticles
Saborano Raquel, Wongpinyochit Thidarat, Totten John D., Johnston Blair F., Seib Philipp, Duarte Iola F.
Advanced Healthcare Materials, (2017)
A factorial approach to understanding the effect of inner geometry of baffled meso-scale tubes on solids suspension and axial dispersion in continuous, oscillatory liquid-solid plug flows
Ejim Louisa N., Yerdelen Stephanie, McGlone Thomas, Onyemelukwe I, Johnston Blair, Florence Alastair J., Reis Nuno M.
Chemical Engineering Journal Vol 308, pp. 669–682, (2017)

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Research interests

Dr Blair Johnston is a Senior Lecturer in Computational Modelling at the Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences. He teaches on the Masters of Pharmacy, Pharmaceutical Analysis, Clinical Pharmacy and Chemistry with Drug Discovery degrees.

My group has research interests in five broad areas: drug discovery, molecular structure simulation, machine learning and prediction, data analysis, and web-enabled science and collaboration tools. In the vast majority of our research, we work closely with experimental scientists in the design and execution of collaborative research to realise the full potential of their laboratory data. This combination of experiment and theory often provides unique insight into the systems being studied.

Professional activities

Accelrys European UGM 09, Barcelona, Spain
Keynote/plenary speaker

more professional activities


Predicting the Propensity of Solvate and Hydrate Formation in Small Molecule Crystal Structures
Johnston, Blair (Principal Investigator)
Period 01-Jan-2018 - 30-Jun-2021
Tracing the fate of nanomedicines in the tumour microenvironment (MC Career Integration) | Totten, John
Seib, Philipp (Principal Investigator) Johnston, Blair (Co-investigator) Totten, John (Research Co-investigator)
Period 01-Oct-2015 - 01-Apr-2019
Generating and Interrogating Crystallographic Data to Predict Solid-State Properties
Kennedy, Alan (Principal Investigator) Silva De Moraes, Lygia (Post Grad Student) Johnston, Blair (Co-investigator)
Period 11-May-2015 - 01-May-2019
Future Continuous Manufacturing and Advanced Crystallisation Research Hub (CMAC Hub)
Florence, Alastair (Principal Investigator) Halbert, Gavin (Co-investigator) Johnston, Blair (Co-investigator) Nordon, Alison (Co-investigator) Price, Chris John (Co-investigator) Sefcik, Jan (Co-investigator) Ter Horst, Joop (Co-investigator)
"Our Hub research is driven by the societal need to produce medicines and materials for modern living through novel manufacturing processes. The enormous value of the industries manufacturing these high value products is estimated to generate £50 billion p.a. in the UK economy. To ensure international competitiveness for this huge UK industry we must urgently create new approaches for the rapid design of these systems, controlling how molecules self-assemble into small crystals, in order to best formulate and deliver these for patient and customer. We must also develop the engineering tools, process operations and control methods to manufacture these products in a resource-efficient way, while delivering the highest quality materials. Changing the way in which these materials are made, from what is called batch crystallisation (using large volume tanks) to continuous crystallisation (a more dynamic, flowing process), gives many advantages, including smaller facilities, more efficient use of expensive ingredients such as solvents, reducing energy requirements, capital investment, working capital, minimising risk and variation and, crucially, improving control over the quality and performance of the particles making them more suitable for formulation into final products. The vision is to quickly and reliably design a process to manufacture a given material into the ideal particle using an efficient continuous process, and ensure its effective delivery to the consumer. This will bring precision medicines and other highly customisable projects to market more quickly. An exemplar is the hubs exciting innovation partnership with Cancer Research UK. Our research will develop robust design procedures for rapid development of new particulate products and innovative processes, integrate crystallisation and formulation to eliminate processing steps and develop reconfiguration strategies for flexible production. This will accelerate innovation towards redistributed anufacturing, more personalisation of products, and manufacturing closer to the patient/customer. We will develop a modular MicroFactory for integrated particle engineering, coupled with a fully integrated, computer-modelling approach to guide the design of processes and materials at molecule, particle and formulation levels. This will help optimise what we call the patient-centric supply chain and provide customisable products. We will make greater use of targeted experimental design, prediction and advanced computer simulation of new formulated materials, to control and optimise the processes to manufacture them. Our talented team of scientists will use the outstanding capabilities in the award winning £34m CMAC National Facility at Strathclyde and across our 6 leading university spokes (Bath, Cambridge, Imperial, Leeds, Loughborough, Sheffield). This builds on existing foundations independently recognised by global industry as 'exemplary collaboration between industry, academia and government which represents the future of pharmaceutical manufacturing and supply chain framework'. Our vision will be translated from research into industry through partnership and co-investment of £31m. This includes 10 of world's largest pharmaceutical companies (eg AstraZeneca, GSK), chemicals and food companies (Syngenta, Croda, Mars) and 19 key technology companies (Siemens, 15 SMEs) Together, with innovation spokes eg Catapult (CPI) we aim to provide the UK with the most advanced, integrated capabilities to deliver continuous manufacture, leading to better materials, better value, more sustainable and flexible processes and better health and well-being for the people of the UK and worldwide. CMAC will create future competitive advantage for the UK in medicines manufacturing and chemicals sector and is strongly supported by industry / government bodies, positioning the UK as the investment location choice for future investments in research and manufacturing."
Period 01-Jan-2017 - 31-Dec-2023
Doctoral Training Centre In Continuous Manufacturing And Crystallisation | Gurung, Rajesh
Florence, Alastair (Principal Investigator) Johnston, Blair (Co-investigator) Gurung, Rajesh (Research Co-investigator)
Period 01-Oct-2013 - 01-Oct-2017
Doctoral Training Centre In Continuous Manufacturing And Crystallisation | Turner, Alice
Halbert, Gavin (Principal Investigator) Oswald, Iain (Principal Investigator) Florence, Alastair (Co-investigator) Johnston, Blair (Co-investigator) Turner, Alice (Research Co-investigator)
Oral drug delivery is currently the preferred method of administration, making up 50% of the market, as it is relatively inexpensive and often has higher patient compliance than other methods. However, not all drugs are ideally suited to this method of administration, as many exhibit poor solubility or poor permeability, as observed in Class II and IV, and, III and IV of the Biopharmaceutical Classification System (BCS) respectively. Drugs with poor solubility are of particular concern as they often fail to fully dissolve in the gastrointestinal fluid and thus their absorption into the systemic circulation can be intermittant and insufficient leading to a greater risk of underdosing, poor bioavailability and diminished therapeutic effect. This can result in poor patient compliance as a result of breakthrough symptoms. However, for BCS Class II drugs it has been found that increased solubility exerted by a solid state modification or formulation can often result in bioavailability similar to that of the more soluble Class I drugs. Although a number of methods to increase solubility already exist there is a need for dosage forms which reduce the damage to the drug and are more flexible to the needs of the patient. Also in terms of the work of CMAC, there is a growing need for continuous methods of dosage form manufacture to reduce costs to the pharma and increase the overall quality of the final product. As such the current study aims to find an innovative formulation method to increase the solubility of pooly soluble drugs. This may be achieved by dramatically changing the way many oral dosage forms are manufactured currently. With a view to reducing the risk of polymorphic changes and degradation, the conventional steps of granulation, drying and compression will be replaced. Dosage forms will be produced by inkjet printing using an aerosol jet printer which has never been used in the pharma field before. It is hoped this will give production a degree of precision with regards to drug distribution, and thus release and overall performance, unrivaled by conventional techniques. It is hoped this will allow the resultant dosage forms to be tailored to the needs of the patient in terms of release time and dose. Due to the reduced number of processing steps and the fact the system can be used in an entirely continuous manner it is hoped this will result in less damage to the drug and a better quality of product. Previous studies have found inkjet printing to be very effective in solibilising class II drugs so it is hoped that the current study will follow this trend.
Period 01-Oct-2014 - 01-Oct-2018

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Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences
Technology Innovation Centre

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