Postgraduate research opportunities

Multimodal in-situ monitoring and modelling of particle dissolution

Advanced manufacturing (D Markl), Drug Delivery (Health and Wellbeing – Z Rattray)

Number of places



27 February 2020


31 July 2020


36 Months


We encourage highly-competitive and motivated students with an interest in the pharmaceutical industry and a background in chemical engineering or pharmaceutical sciences to apply for this project

Project Details

Particles are key components in most drug products ranging from oral solid dosage forms (e.g. tablets and capsules) to controlled release suspension formulations for subcutaneous delivery. Safety and efficacy of these delivery systems are guided by the physical and chemical properties of the particles composing the drug product. The link between the particle properties and its dissolution characteristics is currently poorly understood due to the lack of measurement techniques and models that can capture the fundamental processes involved in the dissolution of particles used for drug delivery. These processes include the absorption of the body fluid which initiates the swelling or erosion of the particle and eventually causes the release of the drug from the particle matrix.


In this project you will be developing mechanistic models of the liquid uptake, swelling/erosion and dissolution of pharmaceutical particles including polymer-based microspheres, granules and agglomerates. The models will be optimised and validated using experimental methods that are capable of in-situ monitoring particle dissolution and its underlying mechanisms such as liquid uptake and swelling/erosion.


Techniques used:

Mechanistic modelling, data-driven modelling, in situ monitoring techniques

Funding Details

  • The University student fees and stipend need to be covered from the student’s own Scholarship
  • A bench fee of £10K per annum (to be agreed with the funding body) to cover research costs and student conference travels needs to paid as well.

Further information

D. Markl, S. Yassin, D. I. Wilson, D. J. Goodwin, A. Anderson, J. A. Zeitler, Mathematical modelling of liquid transport in swelling pharmaceutical immediate release tablets, Int J Pharm 526, 1–10 (2017).

D. Wilson, S. Wren, G. Reynolds, Linking Dissolution to Disintegration in Immediate Release Tablets Using Image Analysis and a Population Balance Modelling Approach, Pharm Res 29, 198–208 (2011).

N. Zaborenko, Z. Shi, C. C. Corredor, B. M. Smith-Goettler, L. Zhang, A. Hermans, C. M. Neu, M. A. Alam, M. J. Cohen, X. Lu, L. Xiong, B. M. Zacour, First-Principles and Empirical Approaches to Predicting In Vitro Dissolution for Pharmaceutical Formulation and Process Development and for Product Release Testing, AAPS J 21, 32 (2019).

How to apply

Applicants can apply using the University PEGASUS Application System 


This project is also suitable for PhD Plus 

This project is also suitable for Joint PhD