Research Strategy of the Analytical & Biological Chemistry Research Facility

The research strategy of the centre is focused on bringing together interdisciplinary teams of researchers working in areas of Chemistry and Biochemistry relevant to the pharmaceutical sciences; strategic partnership with the researchers in the School of Pharmacy especially teams with expertise in formulation, drug delivery and mode of action provides the full range of research expertise to ensure effective multidisciplinary research in all aspects of pharmaceutical sciences.

Drug discovery and development is a very exciting area of research critically dependent on effective interdisciplinary teams bringing together expertise in target discovery, mode of action, medicinal and synthetic chemistry, analysis, drug formulation and delivery. The regulatory hurdles posed for new therapeutic agents in terms of safety and efficacy are very high and accordingly the global pipeline of new drugs is currently very limited even among the major pharma companies. Accordingly partnerships between companies and teams of academic researchers have become increasingly important as a mechanism to bring new approaches and discoveries to address this challenge.

The Cavanagh Building grouping brings together research teams with expertise spanning most of the key disciplines required for drug discovery and development, and therefore, UCC is ideally suited to develop meaningful and effective collaborations with companies as the industry evolves, as the traditional disciplinary barriers have already been reduced. It is clear that PhD graduates from the ABCRF as they develop careers in the pharmaceutical industry in Ireland and internationally will be involved in an industry which is developing new therapeutic agents based on both small molecule and biologics. Traditional graduate education in chemistry tends to produce experts in the small molecule arena but with little insight into biologics, while in biosciences PhD graduates who are adept with biomolecules often have limited insight into small molecules. Success in the dynamic global pharmaceutical sector will depend on a flexible and adaptable workforce who can respond to the technical aspects of new therapeutic agents.

One of the objectives of the ABCRF is to ensure that PhD graduates are trained in a flexible interdisciplinary environment providing them with the skills necessary to ensure they can adapt to work on both small and large molecule therapeutic agents as their career in the pharmaceutical industry develops. To achieve this, the ABCRF has been established around three basic themes - Synthesis, Separation and Detection / Characterisation - each encompassing the full range from small molecule to biomolecule to ensure that while the expertise of the researchers is focused in one area they are at least familiar with the other areas through seminars etc.

As many of the PI's have been involved in development of undergraduate programmes in Chemistry with Forensic Science, Chemistry of Pharmaceutical Compounds, Pharmacy, MSc programmes in Biotechnology, Analysis of Pharmaceutical Compounds, Pharmaceutical Technology and Quality Systems (QP course), MEngSc in Pharmaceutical Engineering, a comprehensive learning environment to support multidisciplinary education is in place, with access to up to date modules ranging from topics focused on the full range of small molecules to biomolecules.

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