The lifecycle of a pill or tablet is affected by light

Understanding the interaction of different types of light with pharmaceutical dosages provides crucial insights for drug development.

What are your research topics?

My group develops the use of light to better understand the structure and changes of pharmaceutical dosage forms (e.g., tablets, capsules) during their ‘life’, including production in the factory, storage in people’s homes, and after the patient has taken the medicine.

The interaction of different types of light with the dosage form in these environments provides crucial dosage form insights, such as how stable the dosage form is during storage and how the drug molecules are released from the dosage form in the patient. These insights allow the design of safe and effective medicines and prevent drug development failures.

Where and how does the topic of your research have an impact?

Although potential new drug molecules for different diseases are continually being discovered, they increasingly fail during drug development because the dosage forms are not designed well enough to allow the drug molecules to dissolve sufficiently in the body to be therapeutically effective.

The developing new dosage form analyses using light will allow this dosage form design problem to be better understood and avoided. This will reduce drug development failures and costs, and benefit future patients suffering from diseases as diverse as high blood pressure, depression and cancer.

What is particularly inspiring in your field right now?

Developing the use of light for dosage form analysis is a field at the intersection of several scientific disciplines: pharmacy, chemistry, physics and biology.

I collaborate with experts in all these disciplines and it feels magical when we collectively make scientific breakthroughs that none of us could make alone. Knowing that these breakthroughs will benefit future patients suffering from diverse diseases is inspiring.

Clare Strachan is a professor of pharmaceutical analysis at the Faculty of Pharmacy.

Watch Clare Strachan's inaugural lecture as a new professor on the 10th of September on YouTube.

Read about the other newly appointed professors here.