New Research Studentship in Nanoparticle Drug Delivery

The Department of Engineering Science has appointed Dr Phillip Alexander to the new position of DPhil Student in nanoparticle drug delivery at the Department’s Institute of Biomedical Engineering (IBME). This has been made possible with generous support from Mr Nigel Jones and Mrs Françoise Valat-Jones.

Dr Phillip Alexander and Dr Heiko Schiffter
Dr Phillip Alexander (left) and Dr Heiko Schiffter (right)

Under the supervision of Dr Heiko Schiffter, Lecturer in Engineering Science and Head of the Drug and Vaccine Delivery Group at the IBME, Phillip will be conducting experimental research into the design and manufacture of micro and nanoparticle drug delivery systems for the treatment of neurologic disorders.  His research will focus on biopharmaceutical drug substances such as therapeutic proteins, viruses, and nucleic acids.

Dr Alexander holds a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), studied as a medical doctor and was a Fellow in Neuroscience in Japan.

Phillip said: “I grew up with a father and a grandfather who were clinicians and an uncle who was a mechanical engineer – It was only natural for me to pursue a career direction that integrated aspects of both patient care and engineering science.

Having trained in clinical medicine Phillip said he is ‘looking forward to working on something that is clinically transferrable.’  He added: “I’m interested in the clinical neurosciences, neuroradiology and neurosurgery to be specific, which are both amenable to innovation from micro and nanotechnologies.  Our aim is to develop novel drug delivery systems for the brain that minimize systemic exposure and toxicity.  It is incredibly exciting to be working at the cutting edge of engineering and medicine, and working with brilliant scientists like Dr Schiffter.  Oxford’s IBME is one of a surprisingly few places in the world where such synergy exists between scientists, engineers, and physicians.  I am truly grateful to Mr Jones and Mrs Valat-Jones for their generosity, vision, and their desire to better human health through technology.

Dr Heiko Schiffter commented: “Phillip’s experience with patients coupled with his knowledge of medical sciences will help him to see what developments can be made in both hospital and research environments – he has experience of the real world.

Much of the Department’s research is multi-disciplinary and collaborative, e.g. with medical and surgical faculty, and other departments at Oxford.  The link between research and application is the primary motivation for engineers, staff and students alike.

The Department of Engineering Science wishes to thank Mr Nigel Jones and Mrs Françoise Valat-Jones, and Brasenose College for supporting this new research role in biomedical engineering.