Pharmaceutics Research Faculty

Dr. Donovan's research interests include novel drug delivery systems in mucosal drug delivery especially via the nasal, gastrointestinal and vaginal epithelia; and mechanisms of drug absorption and disposition.

Dr. Fiegel’s research focuses on the development of novel drug delivery systems for diseases of the lung, with special emphasis on infectious and inflammatory diseases. Through experimental studies and mathematical modeling, the laboratory designs medical aerosols with an improved ability to target the delivery of therapeutics within the lungs and explores the complex physical interactions between these delivery systems and various cells and fluids native to the lungs. The group is also investigating new ways to suppress the transmission of airborne pathogens via local variations in the lung lining fluid.

Dr. Flanagan’s research involves the application of diffusion principles to the analysis of dissolution processes for the development of controlled release formulations using biodegradable polymers or other polymeric delivery systems. He is also interested in the application of thermal analytical methods to the characterization of the kinetics of solid-state reactions.

Dr. Flanagan’s research has led to the development of a unified dissolution model for spherical particulate drug systems which included experimental support for the model. This model unified three other models into one model describing the diffusion layer-controlled dissolution of drug particles. This model has been extended to particles that are normally distributed in size and will be further extended to describing the dissolution behavior of non-spherical particles. These models have further application to a number of controlled release drug systems in which diffusion of drug through or in a polymeric matrix is the controlling factor in the rate of drug release. The polymeric systems involve both biodegradable polymers such as polyesters and non-degradable polymers commonly used in pharmaceutical formulation to control drug release.

Dr. Flanagan has also been recently involved in developing new methods to analyze thermoanalytical data to extract meaningful kinetic parameters for solids that undergo physical or chemical change when they are heated. There are many methods for extracting such data from thermogravimetric or differential scanning calorimetric data on solid systems. Dr. Flanagan’s research has focused on methods to extract kinetic parameters that are independent of the analysis method that can lead to a better understanding of the controlling mechanisms for solid-state reactions. His methodology has been successfully applied to the desolvation kinetics of drug solvates and will be extended to other physical and chemical process in the solid-state.

Dr. Kirsch's research interests include macromolecular peptide prodrugs for targeted drug delivery, the kinetics and mechanisms of the chemical instability of drugs, the kinetics and mechanisms of the physical instability of dispersed and colloidal systems, and pharmaceutical package integrity technologies.

Dr. Kumar’s research interests fall in the following two areas: (i) basic and applied pharmaceutics and (ii) tissue engineering. His research in basic and applied pharmaceutics involves the study of different polymorphic forms of cellulose and their aqueous dispersions as potential pharmaceutical excipients and chemical modifications of cellulose to produce novel functionalized polymers for use as drug carriers. Studies in tissue engineering focus on the use of cellulose, oxidized cellulose, and oxidized cellulose-chitosan scaffolds to develop functional, tissue engineered small diameter blood vessels and heart valves. The major emphasis of this research is the rationale design of small diameter (< 5 mm) tubular and heart valve scaffolds that support and promote cell adhesion and growth, provide the geometric guidance to the proliferating cells, and perform mechanically and hemodynamically similar to the native vessels and valves.

Dr. Salem's research interests are primarily focused on self-assembling systems, the rational design of novel drug and gene delivery systems and on the development of sophisticated scaffolds for tissue-specific regeneration. In tissue engineering, Dr. Salem's laboratory applies microfabrication techniques to novel biomaterials to provide spatial control over tissue formation and to integrate minimally invasive scaffold delivery strategies. In drug/gene delivery, he is currently exploring the synergistic application of degradable particle technology, CpG oligonucleotides and heat shock proteins for generating sustained immunotherapeutic responses against cancer.

Dr. Stevens’ research interests emphasize the influential role of mechanical properties in broad application to biochemistry, drug delivery and physical pharmacy.  Associated with our approach is the development of novel spectroscopic solutions that advance material characterization in (1) nanoparticle elasticity, (2) intelligent hydrogel formation, (3) solid-state polymorphism and (4) biotherapeutic dynamics/aggregation.

Dr. Veng-Pedersen's main research interests include the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics (PK/PD) of erythropoietin in pre-mature, very low birth weight babies, the PK/PD of the insulin-glucose system in diabetic and pre-diabetic subjects, and the kinetic assessment and optimization of drug delivery.

Dr. Wurster's research interests include the physics of tablet compression, adsorption and desorption thermodynamics, solution calorimetry, analytical applications of FT-IR, surface characterization by XPS, and micellar catalysis.