Solid State Pharmaceutical Cluster


UL (Lead PI: Prof. B. K. Hodnett), UCC, UCD, NUIG, TCD


We all take medicines from time to time, but what are they made of? Tablets are made up of compacted powders which when viewed under the microscope look like beautiful crystalline materials just like salt and sugar. The exact crystalline form of the powder is very important in determining how a particular medicine works. Many of the active ingredients in tablets are capable of taking up a number of different crystalline forms called polymorphs. These look different to one another under the microscope but more importantly they behave differently in the human body, so great care must be taken in manufacture to ensure that the correct polymorph is formed. A huge part of the Irish pharmaceutical industry involves producing the active ingredients for tablets in powder form, and the research of this cluster by academic and industrial scientists and engineers focusses on how best to do this. The cluster will be led by Prof. Kieran Hodnett of the University of Limerick, and will involve scientists from UCC, UCD, NUIG and TCD working in collaboration with leading pharmaceutical companies. The UCC scientists involved are Dr. Humphrey Moynihan, Prof. Anita Maguire, Dr. Simon Lawrence and Dr. Abina Crean. These are based in the Analytical and Biological Chemistry Research Facility and the School of Pharmacy, and will work on the study of pharmaceutical materials at the molecular level.