Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Coláiste Ríoga na Máinleá in Éirinn

Pharmacy, Pharmaceutical Sciences & Chemistry

The process of drug discovery and development involves the identification of drug candidates, their synthesis, characterization, testing for in vitro affinity and selectivity for a therapeutic target, formulation and delivery.

The drug candidates investigated in the Department of Pharmaceutical & Medicinal Chemistry, RCSI encompass bioorganic and bioinorganic molecules, from synthetic or natural origin and ranging from small molecules to macromolecules. The Department has significant expertise in the following areas:

  • Synthesis of metal complexes as potential antitumour drugs
  • Peptide synthesis for the identification of novel drug candidates or targets
  • Design and synthesis of low molecular weight families of bioactive compounds using diversity oriented synthetic strategies
  • Development of MRI contrast agents; enantioselective synthesis and development of Multi Component Reactions
  • Design of novel anti-parasitic agents
  • Design and synthesis of hydroxamic acids as enzyme inhibitors and as bioligands.

The School of Pharmacy at RCSI has facilities and experience to support a number of key steps in the novel drug development process. The Drug Delivery Core has particular expertise in:

  • Pre-formulation drug analysis, formulation of conventional, advanced, controlled and targeted dose forms as well as their chemical and pharmaceutical characterisation including stability testing, in vitro biopharmaceutical assessment in cell culture models, toxicity screening and preparation for pre-clinical testing and clinical trials
  • Preparation and characterisation of conventional dosage forms for parenterals, solid oral dosage forms, dosage forms for inhalation and for topical administration of small molecule drugs and biopharmaceuticals
  • Drug delivery platforms to overcome the delivery barriers associated with new and existing drugs such as biotherapeutics and vaccines, including proprietary fast-melt tablets, targeted, micro- and nanoparticulate drug delivery systems, nanotechnologies, lipid based delivery systems including liposomes and microbubbles, bioresponsive drug delivery platforms and non-viral gene delivery vectors, novel engineered nanoparticles for solubility and permeability enhancement, polymer-based nanoparticles for siRNAs.

Other research areas of the School of Pharmacy include:

  • Molecular mechanisms involved in recognition of and targeted drug delivery of Microbial Host Infection within the Cardiovascular and Skeletal Systems
  • Pharmacoepidemiology, perinatal epidemiology and teratology, notably with projects investigating the use of medication in pregnancy in an Irish obstetric cohort
  • Pharmacy education, focussing on curriculum design and quality assurance, development of novel teaching technologies, integrated and inter-professional learning.