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UCD’s expertise in drug delivery naturally dovetails from the pharmaceutic expertise at TCD, which is facilitated through the UCD-TCD innovation alliance.  UCD has know-how in trafficking and pathways as well as capabilities in high content screening which make it uniquely able to facilitate inquiries into drug delivery optimisation and the development of alternative drug delivery vectors.  Selected projects in the area focus on pulmonary and oral interventions as alternatives to intravenous drug delivery, with a focus on inflammation (arthritis), degenerative diseases (e.g. Huntington’s), and diabetes.  Furthermore, UCD’s Medical School and affiliation to two hospitals (the Mater and St. Vincent’s) make it uniquely able to take discoveries from the bench to the bedside.


Irish Drug Delivery Network
Director: Prof. David Brayden
Many peptides such as insulin are destroyed by gastric stomach acid and gut enzymes and do not cross from the gut into the blood very well. Therefore these drugs are typically administered via regular injections. Research within the Irish Drug Delivery Netweork (IDDN) aims to develop novel carrier systems that can provide protection to these bioactive but labile molecules. This will allow oral or pulmonary drug delivery of peptides and siRNA.
The IDDN addresses five main areas of research:
• Oral delivery of siRNA and peptides using novel particulates and permeation enhancers
• Design of novel particle delivery systems for pulmonary delivery
• Development of novel cell penetrating peptide and liposome drug delivery systems for pulmomary delivery
• Intra-articular delivery of novel anti-arthritic nanoparticulates
• Cyclodextrin-based vectors for delivery of siRNA to treat Huntington’s disease


Director: Prof Gil U Lee
The significance of mimicking cell phenotype in mechanical environments typically found in vivo is an emerging theme in stem cell therapy and one that leverages major national research investments, in nanoscience, systems biology and regenerative medicine. Importantly, it has recently been shown that cellular responses to the nanoscale mechanical environment must also be considered alongside biochemical stimuli in order to understand, control functional adaptation and pathological conditions within the human body. Tyhe Nanoremedies programme brings together an interdisciplinary team of scientists who work in the fields of nanomechanics and systems biology to identify the molecular mechanism(s) of nanomechanical transduction in cells. The ain of the programme is to produce functional biological nanostructures to address two main problems facing conventional implants, the use of biotolerable rather than biocompatible materials and the use of materials with mechanical properties poorly matched to their surrounding environment. The target structures will be adaptive, whereby mechanical properties can be tuned in situ via optical, thermal or biochemical stimuli whilst also incorporating drug eluting surfaces or cell implanted scaffolds to improve biocompatibility. Design will be aided by the use of computational modeling and systems biology techniques. This programme promises to produce a new class of biomaterials that will revolutionize the biomedical device industry.