Top conference award for ground-breaking drug analysis technique

A company has been formed to commercialise the new nano-scale chemical imaging technique

Atomic Force Microscope

Research on a new technique for drug analysis has earned University of Huddersfield scientist Muhammad Usman Ghori the top award at an international conference.

Ghori has been working on the use of an ultra-high resolution atomic force microscope (AFM) to carry out nano-scale chemical imaging of material surfaces.

The technique, now patented, achieves greater accuracy and analytical power than existing methods of chemical mapping.

“Understanding the surface topography of materials is vital, especially in the design, development and optimisation of pharmaceutical products,” said Ghori.

Understanding the surface topography of materials is vital in design, development and optimisation.

“Using this technology, we were able to construct a 3D chemical map of the distribution of a drug in a tablet at a nanometer size range,” said Professor Barbara Conway, Ghori's supervisor.

Recently, a company named N-Cyte Ltd has been formed to commercialise this new technique, which is based at the University’s 3M Buckley Innovation Centre.

When Ghori attended the Atomic Force Microscope conference and User Meeting, held at the University of Cambridge, he presented a paper describing the nano-scale imaging technique.

The conference had 200 participants from around the world and all were invited to vote for the best presentation.

Ghori came top of the poll and received a Platinum Award from conference organisers, Bruker Nano-surfaces UK. Researchers at the universities of Cambridge and Oxford took second and third places.

Dr Ghori

In 2015, Ghori was declared Vice-Chancellor’s Research Student of the Year at the University of Huddersfield.

This was in recognition of his recently-completed doctoral thesis plus a sequence of articles covering issues that include oral-controlled drug delivery systems and various aspects of drug release behaviour.

Before he relocated to the UK and embarked on research at the University of Huddersfield, Ghori had already been awarded a Doctor of Pharmacy degree in his native Pakistan. He was awarded a scholarship to carry out PhD research at the University of Huddersfield.

After completing his PhD, Ghori was appointed as a Research Fellow on a project to develop 3D nano-scale chemical imaging using AFM, working with Professor Conway and Professor Mike Reading, a renowned scientist in thermal analysis.

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