AIT to Host 43rd Institute of Chemistry of Ireland Congress

Athlone Institute of Technology is delighted to host the 43rd Institute of Chemistry of Ireland Congress entitled ‘Congress on Drug Development, Delivery and Manufacturing’ this Thursday, 24th May 2018.

The conference, which convenes on an annual basis, will feature a range of oral and poster presentations, as well as a trade exhibition. Academics and researchers from across the country will speak at the event highlighting the breadth of the research taking place in Ireland in the Pharmaceutical and Medical Device industry.

Topical subject matters such as Green Chemistry-the design of chemical products and processes that reduce or eliminate the use or generation of hazardous substances-will be discussed as will issues relating to contamination and purity. Speakers will also detail the challenges surrounding commercialisation and current and future legislation issues.

Dr Luke Geever and Dr Michael Nugent, both of AIT, will be in attendance to deliver a talk on Hydrogel Drug delivery from an academic and industrial perspective. Dr Geever, a Principal Investigator for the Applied Polymer Technologies (APT) Gateway, is a Fullbright Scholar who has collaborated with Harvard Medical School and the Mayo Clinic on research relating to the Clinical Applications of Novel Drug Eluting Biomedical Polymer Composites.

His colleague, Dr Nugent is a Lecturer in Engineering with over 22 years’ experience in material processing, material selection and material characterisation. He has been successful in grant applications totalling €3.25 million on topics ranging from novel hydrogel to drug delivery systems for pharmaceutical companies. Their presentation concerns the use of Hydrogels in biomedical and pharmaceutical applications over the last 35 years. Hydrogels based on both natural and synthetic polymers have continued to be of interest for encapsulation of cells. More recently, such hydrogels have become especially attractive to the new field of ‘tissue engineering’ as matrices for repairing and regenerating a wide variety of tissues and organs.

Dr Chris Forsdyke, Executive Director at PPD Laboratories GMP Lab in Athlone, will also be speaking at the event delivering a presentation on the ‘planning and operational considerations of a multi-disciplinary GMP contract analytical laboratory’. He will be discussing the growth of contract GMP labs both through the advantages of a central CMC analytical lab together with efficiencies of design and layout, balancing the regulatory considerations and controls with new ‘QC tools’ emerging from the needs of biologics and other developing drug product types. As a contract laboratory, the challenges of supporting the needs of the client programmes combined with meeting ever-evolving regulatory requirements across an increasingly broad portfolio of drug product types provides the backdrop to the industry.

Dr Andrea Erxleben, Senior Lecturer in the School of Chemistry, NUI Galway will deliver a presentation on Multiple-threat Platinum (Pt) Anticancer Drugs and the serendipitous discovery of cisplatin, a chemotherapy medication used to treat a wide range of cancers, in the late 1960s. This was the beginning of modern medicinal inorganic chemistry and much research effort has been devoted to the study and design of metal-based therapeutics ever since. Dr Erxleben will give an overview of her recent work on the development of complexes with bioactive redox modulators and histone deacetylase inhibitors focusing particularly on a combination of DNA platination with the induction of oxidative stress as a promising strategy for achieving high selectivity and cytotoxicity in cisplatin-resistant cancer cell lines.

Professor Celine Marmion from the Department of Chemistry, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) will be delivering a talk on ‘Exploiting Metallo-Prodrug Strategies to Generate Multi-Targeted Cancer Therapeutics’. Her research details why cancer remains a major global health burden despite significant advances in treatment regimens and extensive medical oncology research. Current drug treatments have drawbacks including dose-limiting toxic side effects and drug resistance and that the development of safer and more effective drug treatments remains a major research focus. Professor Marmion argues that the exploitation of nanotechnologies for the selective delivery of cancer drugs to tumours can enhance the safety profile of drugs. An alternative strategy, she says, is to utilise a multi-targeted approach and, in doing so, address both toxicity and resistance issues.

Other speakers include Professor Clem Higginbotham, Lecturer in Chemistry, Polymer and Biomedical Materials at AIT, Dr Sean Lyons, Acting Head of Engineering and Informatics at AIT, Professor Tom Moody, ALMAC (Arran) Craigavon, Catherine Neary, HPRA, Professor John Gilmer, TCD School of Pharmacy, Dr Ann O Malley, Matt Moran, IBEC, and Professor John Cassidy, DIT.

As part of the Congress, Athlone Institute of Technology will be running a sponsored postgrad research poster competition featuring work from neighbouring third levels institutes and universities. This award will be sponsored by Perkin Elmer.

Athlone Institute of Technology is a modern and dynamic HEI distinguished by outstanding learner experience, international focus and applied research and innovation. Awarded Sunday Times Institute of Technology of the Year, AIT is ranked 8th nationally of all HEIs nationally in the league table comprising of Universities and IoT’s. AIT is leading the IoT sector in the areas of innovation, applied teaching and student welfare. We are also ranked 2nd nationally in the number of innovation vouchers completed with industry partners which demonstrates how our applied research is aligned to regional and industry partners. AIT is sitting in joint 4th position, tried with DCU in the national league table of innovation partnership projects. The top 5 are UCD, TCD, UL, AIT/ DCU (joint) and WIT.

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