PhD studentship October 2017 “Solid-State NMR of Amorphous Spray Dried Dispersions”

PhD studentship October 2017
“Solid-State NMR of Amorphous Spray Dried Dispersions”

Supervisor: Dr. Frédéric Blanc, in collaboration with Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharmaceuticals.

Applications are invited for a graduate to join the Department of Chemistry, University of Liverpool, UK for an EPSRC- and Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharmaceuticals-funded 4-years PhD studentship.

Formulated multicomponent materials are of large industrial interest, in particular to the pharmaceutical industries. The increasing proportion of drugs which pose dissolution challenges (and thus potential bioavailability problems) has meant that the industry has turned to amorphous spray dried dispersions (SDD’s) as a key enabling technology. By keeping the drug in the amorphous state, usually in combination with a polymer to raise the glass transition temperature, dissolution enhancement is achieved. Recrystallisation of the drug leads to a loss of this benefit. Solid-state NMR[1] plays an important role in understanding the structure and dynamics of nucleation and recrystallisation of drug within SDD systems [2]. The NMR crystallography approach combining solid-state NMR with computation also permits the identification of structural polymorphs, as the drug recrystallising from the SDD may be of an unknown polymorph.[3]

The work is centred on analytical techniques (solid-state NMR, vibrational spectroscopies), computational studies, and will also involve preparation of pharmaceutical formulations, providing complete student training, skills and development, ensuring strong employability. The student will work in a collaborative, international and multi-disciplinary research team, which includes placement opportunity at Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharmaceuticals (based close to Liverpool), and will have the opportunity to travel and visit other research facilities as part of the research programme.

Further information about research in the Blanc group is available at here and

Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharmaceuticals here

Ref: [1] Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2002, 3096. [2] J. Pharm. Sci. 2009, 3456. [3] Analyst 2006, 351.


The award is available to UK and EU students only and will pay full tuition fees and a maintenance grant for 4 years (£14,553 for 2017/2018 with annual increase). Non UK/EU nationals are not eligible for this position and applications will not be considered.

The successful applicant should have at least a 2:1 Master degree in the UK, or equivalent qualification, in Chemistry, Physics, Chemical Engineering, Materials Science or a closely related subject. The candidate should be highly motivated, curious, have competent English communication skills and be able to work both as part of a team and independently. Project experience in NMR spectroscopy and/or materials chemistry would be an advantage, but is not a prerequisite.

Applications should include a cover letter including the applicant motivation in this PhD studentship, a full CV, and the contact details of two academic referees and should be sent by email to Dr. Frédéric Blanc ( before 12th June 2017 indicating “University of Liverpool Bristol-Myers Squibb PhD studentship” in the subject line.

The position is available from 21st September 2017.

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