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Dr Simon Gaisford
Room 304
UCL School of Pharmacy
29-39 Brunswick Square
  • Head of Department
  • Pharmaceutics
  • UCL School of Pharmacy
  • Faculty of Life Sciences

Dr Gaisford is a Reader in Pharmaceutics and Head of the Department of Pharmaceutics. He joined the School in 2003, having previously been a Lecturer in Pharmaceutical Science at the University of Huddersfield. He undertook his PhD at the University of Kent at Canterbury, under Professor AE Beezer and then held Postdoctoral Research Assistant posts at the School with Profs DQM Craig and G Buckton. Dr Gaisford is an Honorary Teaching Fellow at the University of Manchester, Honorary Treasurer (and Past Chair) of the Thermal Methods Group and Committee Member of the ICSC (both Royal Society of Chemistry). He has published 62 papers, 6 book chapters and 2 authored books and received the 2006 Stig Sunner award from the US Calorimetry Conference. He is Chairman of Kuecept Ltd, a specialist Pharmaceutical CRO (www.kuecept.com).

Research Themes
Research Summary
Modern medicines are complex and contain multiple components. The physicochemical properties of the components and any interactions between them will determine product performance. It follows that understanding these characteristics will drive formulation design and result, ultimately, in better performing medicines. This philosophy underpins the research group. Examples of current research projects include;

Application of thermal ink-jet technology:

Thermal ink-jet (TIJ) technology is commonly encountered in desk-top printers. A TIJ system comprises a reservoir of liquid to be jetted mounted above a printhead.  The printhead, usually produced with photolithography, consists of a number of small chambers, filled with liquid from the reservoir, each in contact with a resistive element. Pulsing a current through the element results in a rapid rise in temperature, causing vapourisation of some of the liquid, nucleation and then expansion of a vapour bubble. As the bubble expands, some liquid is ejected from the chamber, forming a droplet. Such fine control of liquid deposition lends itself  to pharmaceutical applications. For our work, the ink is removed from the print cartridge and is replaced with a drug solution. We then use the system in a number of ways to prepare pharmaceutical forms;

Engineering inhalable particles: Mounting the print cartridge over a reservoir of liquid nitrogen allows rapid freezing of aqueous droplets. The droplets are collected and freeze-dried, resulting in porous, excipient-free inhalable particles (in this case of salbutamol sulphate). These porous particles have similar in-vitro performance to commercial dry-powder inhaler devices but contain nothing but drug (DOI 10.1016/j.ejpb.2011.09.016)

Preparing personalised-dose oral films: Replacing the paper in the printer with a sheet of polymer film allows drug to be jetted onto the surface. The film strips can then be cut out and administered to the tongue. Varying the concentration of drug solution, area printed or number of print passes allows control of dose (DOI 10.1007/s11095-011-0450-5).

Crystal engineering: We have shown that the rapid evaporation rates of the droplets upon contact with a substrate favours crystallisation of metastable forms including, for example, co-crystals (DOI 10.1039/C2CE26519B). Together with our colleagues at UCL Chemistry and the University of Strathclyde, we have been awarded £1.24m by EPSRC (EP/K03929/1) to explore the potential role of ink-jet printing for crystal templating.

Advanced thermal characterisation:

Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) is one of the most widely used analytical tools in pharmaceutical development. The recent development of instruments capable of attaining very fast heating rates allows new insights into the physical forms of pharmaceuticals. Our laboratory has been selected as a test site for project RHC, a new instrument from TA Instruments LLC that can heat samples up to 2000 C/min.  Using this technology we are beginning to isolate and characterise new, metastable polymorphic forms. For example, we have isolated the metastable form III of paracetamol and reported its melting temperature (DOI:10.1016/j.jpba.2010.04.017) and we have demonstrated that carbamazepine-nicatinamide cocrystals exhibit polymorphism (DOI 10.1021/cg101377u). Please contact me if you would like to try RHC to characterise your samples

Amorphous content quantification:

Quantification of small amorphous contents in processed materials is often a critical factor in determining final product performance and/or batch release specifications. Many techniques can be used for amorphous content quantification but perhaps the best is isothermal gas perfusion calorimetry. Careful experimental design typically results in a detection limit of ca. 0.2% w/v (DOI 10.1016/j.addr.2011.11.001).

Teaching Summary

Dr Gaisford teaches in all years of the MPharm degree, delivering lectures on basic pharmaceutics. He also runs a fourth year elective option called Intelligent Design of Medicines, in which basic and advanced methods of physicochemical characterisation are introduced. The correlation of physicochemical parameters with drug product performance is then explored with a series of case studies.

Dr Gaisford was Programme Director of the MSc in Drug Delivery from 2004-2013, a successful postgraduate course that provides transferable skills and knowledge to allow students to progress their careers in either the pharmaceutical industry or in academia. He is now Deputy Programme Director of the MSc in Drug Delivery and has been involved in the development of two new MSc programmes for 2015 entry (MSc in Pharmaceutics and MSc in Drug Formulation and Entrepreneurship). In 2013 he was selected as Lead Academic of the Drug Delivery and Formulation Research Cluster and took over as Head of the Department of Pharmaceutics.

Dr Gaisford also teaches on MSc courses at King's College London, the University of Manchester and the University of Bradford and acts as External Examiner for Cardiff University (MPharm) and Brighton University (MSc).

He recently published his first undergraduate textbook,  Essentials of Pharmaceutical Preformulation (www.wiley.com/buy/978-0-470-97636-4) and has a chapter in the successful  undergraduate text, Aulton's Pharmaceutics.

14-MAR-2012 Reader in Pharmaceutics Pharmaceutics UCL School of Pharmacy, United Kingdom
01-AUG-2007 Senior Lecturer in Pharmaceutics Pharmaceutics School of Pharmacy, United Kingdom
23-APR-2003 Lecturer in Pharmaceutics Pharmaceutics School of Pharmacy, United Kingdom
01-NOV-1999 Lecturer in Pharmaceutical Science School of Life Sciences University of Huddersfield, United Kingdom
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