The effect of clinical application protocols for topical medicines on treatment efficacy and safety PhD opportunity

Applications are invited for a funded PhD studentship within the School of Life and Medical Sciences. The successful candidate will undertake the collaborative research project within the Research Centre in Topical Drug Delivery and Toxicology (TDDT). The candidate will also join fellow Doctoral students in undertaking training through the Doctoral College Researcher Development Programme.


Qualification type: PhD

Location: Hatfield, United Kingdom

Funding for: UK/EU and international applicants

Funding amount: An annual stipend at UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) recommended rates (£15,285 for 2020/21), subject to eligibility.

Duration: Three years

Closing application date: 31st July 2020

Expected start: Autumn 2020

Project outline

Adherence to topical therapy is paramount for treatment success. For many topical products, such as corticosteroids for atopic dermatitis or fluorouracil for malignant skin lesions, successful treatment requires patients, or carers, to consistently apply products according to clinical guidance whilst modulating the treatment in response to changes in the skin condition. However, variations in product application, potentially arising from inconsistent patient education and training, may lead to treatment failure or overexposure to topical products and an increase in side effects. There is currently a gap in clinical knowledge of the optimum application protocols to maximise treatment success and alleviate safety concerns (including cross contamination) for topical products.

This study will employ in vitro and in vivo models to evaluate the potential impact of application variables (e.g. application pressure, application of multiple products, cross contamination of products) on the treatment and safety aspects of topical products. The successful candidate will gain experience in a range of experimental methodologies, including the design of in vivo clinical studies, the conduct of biophysical and pharmacokinetic assessments and mechanistic evaluations of pharmaceutical formulation design. Ultimately, this study seeks to inform the development of conclusive clinical guidance for healthcare bodies, patients and carers on the application of topical medicinal products.


  • Miss Mubinah Beebeejaun
  • Dr William McAuley
  • Dr Michael Cook
  • Prof. Robert Chilcott


Applicants must hold, or be about to attain, a first class or upper second-class (2:1) Honours degree or equivalent from a recognised institution, in the area of biological or chemical science, a related subject such as pharmacy or pharmaceutical science, or Master’s degree in a relevant subject.

Candidates with an enthusiasm for collaborative research and excellent critical analysis skills are encouraged to apply.

Application process

Informal enquiries are welcome and should be addressed to Mubinah Beebeejaun (

To apply for the studentship please complete the application form (PDF - 0.25 Mb) and email it with supporting evidence and a copy of your CV to: You should provide the title of the PhD project in the subject line of the email.

The closing date for applications is 31st July 2020. Shortlisted applicants will be invited to an online interview in early/ mid-August 2020. If you have not received a reply within three weeks of the closing date, unfortunately your application has been unsuccessful on this occasion.