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M.Sc./Diploma in Pharmaceutical Sciences

Course Code: DPTPH-PANA-2F09 (full-time), DPTPH-PANA-2P09 (part-time)
Duration: One year full-time, two years part-time
Closing Date: 31 July annually
Application: Applications for this course should be made online through this link
Course Coordinators: Drs. John F. Gilmer, Lidia Tajber and Carlos Medina
Email: John Gilmer, Lidia Tajber, Carlos Medina
Telephone: +353 1 896 2795 (Dr. John Gilmer), +353 1 896 2787 (Dr. Lidia Tajber), +353 1 896 2823 (Dr. Carlos Medina)
Fax: +353 1 896 2810
Graduate Studies Homepage: Graduate Studies Office

The School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at TCD is the leading research School of Pharmacy in Ireland. The TCD M.Sc. in Pharmaceutical Sciences is the only such degree offered in Ireland by a specialist School of Pharmacy centre.

Contributing Principal Investigators in the School have outstanding track records in basic pharmaceutical sciences but they are also widely involved in industrial and commercial activities, in consultancy and in product development. Successful university spin outs from the School include Solvotrin Therapeutics Ltd. ( and Trino Therapeutics Ltd. ( They also actively contribute to the recently established and Science Foundation Ireland co-funded Synthesis and Solid State Pharmaceuticals Centre (

The M.Sc. in Pharmaceutical Sciences is an integrated multidisciplinary addressing fundamental and applied aspects of drug and drug product discovery, development, production and analysis. The program will prepare candidates for research careers in academia and industry in pharmaceutical R&D as well as creating an awareness of issues and approaches relevant to the key pharmaceutical manufacturing sector in Ireland.

Excellence in Teaching and Learning

The M.Sc./Diploma in Pharmaceutical Sciences is delivered by highly experienced academics from the leading School of Pharmacy in Ireland and is supported by a panel of visiting lecturers from other academic institutions, pharmaceutical industry and regulatory bodies. The programme consists of 10 compulsory taught modules and, for the M.Sc. degree, a research dissertation.

Regulatory aspects and industrial pharmacy - Prof. John Gilmer
This module deals with the drug approval process, drug stability testing, clinical trials, principles of pharmaceutical manufacturing and pharmaceutical quality systems.

Chromatographic and other separative methods of analysis - Assoc. Prof. John Walsh
This module is concerned with chromatographic methods of analysis- theory and practice including method development and troubleshooting and related tandem methods.

Spectroscopic methods for drug analysis - Assoc. Prof. Astrid Sasse
This module is concerned with the theory and applications of spectroscopic methods to pharmaceutical analysis including drug product qualification and drug discovery and development.

Molecular pharmaceutics and advanced drug delivery - Assoc. Prof. Lidia Tajber
This module is concerned with advanced drug delivery, with factors influencing drug absorption and distribution and related in vitro methods for predicting and explaining drug absorption from the intestinal tract.

Analysis of low level drug analytes - Prof. Mary Meegan
This module introduces sensitive methods for measuring trace analytes and their regulation in the context of ICHQ3.

Pharmaceutical and medical nanotechnology - Asst. Prof. Maria Jose Santos-Martinez
This module introduces the world of nano-medicine and relevant techniques for characterising and producing nano-particles.

Pharmacological and related methods - Assoc. Prof. Martin Henman/Asst. Prof. Carlos Medina/Assoc. Prof. Andrew Harkin
This module introduces principles of pre or non-clinical drug evaluation (toxicity etc), biological methods of drug analysis and with advanced assay methods in drug discovery and development.

Analysis of biotech products - Prof. Lorraine O’Driscoll
This module covers the basic principles of cell culture, the production of biotechnology products, their properties, uses, formulation and stability, characterisation and release testing.

Formulation development and evaluation - Assoc. Prof. Lidia Tajber
This module is concerned with physicochemical basis of formulations (preformulation), formulation design, composition, manufacuring and testing.

Research methods in pharmaceutical analysis, analytical method, validation and statistics - Asst. Prof. John Quigley
This module is concerned with practical statistical approaches used in pharmaceutical manufacturing and in R&D. The module also addresses validation of methods in the context of ICH.

Entry Requirements and International Students

Applications will be accepted, subject to places being available, from those holding an honors degree (II-1 or better) in a relevant science discipline e.g. Pharmacy, Chemistry, Microbiology, Biochemistry, Pharmacology and other appropriate primary degrees e.g. I.T., Medicine or Veterinary. Other qualifications equivalent to a II-1 honors degree with relevant professional experience will be considered, after an interview with the course director and consultation with the Dean of Graduate Studies.

We welcome applications from International Students. This course was established in 1999 in consultation with stakeholders in the pharmaceutical industry. Its graduates have enjoyed successful careers in manufacturing, in R&D and in regulatory affairs.

The Class of 2013.

Fees and Applications

Applicants should consult the current Postgraduate Prospectus of Trinity College Dublin for information on fees.
Prospective applicants are invited to discuss their intentions with the course coordinators: Drs. John F. Gilmer, Lidia Tajber or Carlos Medina before submitting their application, further details can be supplied at this time.

Contributor Biographies

John Gilmer is a professor in pharmaceutical chemistry in the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. John completed his PhD in molecular recognition in 1995. He moved into commercial pharmaceutical R&D and from there in 1998 to a lectureship position in TCD. John has a wide range of interests in drug development including drug targeting and bile acid medicinal chemistry. John has numerous patent filings and has published widely in pharmaceutical sciences. He is a cofounder of Solvotrin Therapeutics which is developing new prodrug and related delivery technologies. John leads the module on regulatory affairs and industrial pharmacy.

Mary J. Meegan is a professor in pharmaceutical chemistry in the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. Marys research interests are focussed on the areas of design and synthesis of new anticancer drugs resulting in the discovery of novel bioactive molecules, such as nuclear receptor antagonists, tubulin targeting agents and multidrug resistance modulators. Marys teaching areas are: pharmaceutical and medicinal chemistry, pharmaceutical analysis and regulatory affairs for biotechnology products.

Prof. Lorraine O’Driscoll, holds a B.Sc.(Hons.), Pharmacology; M.Sc., Clinical Pharmacology; Ph.D., Biotechnology. Lorraine gained postdoctoral experience in the University of Miami and Harvard University and managed biotechnology/biomedical research studies for industry (incl MedaNova Ltd.; Berlex, San Francisco; Archport Ltd./Diosynth, the Netherlands) before returning to academia. Lorraine is P.I. on 4 cancer clinical trials; holds a number of patents & disclosures and has developing and delivering tailored lecture & practical courses for academia (e.g. FEBS), semi-state bodies (e.g. IDA) and industry (e.g. Wyeth, Warner-Lambert, Elan, Roche). She also sits on the Scientific Advisory Board of Midatech, Oxford, UK.

Assoc. Prof. Lidia Tajber is a pharmacist by qualification and holds a PhD degree in Pharmaceutics from TCD. Prior to her appointment as lecturer in Pharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Technology in 2007, she completed postdoctoral studies on the use of spray drying in the production of nanoporpus microparticles. She is currently involved in the Synthesis and Solid State Pharmaceuticals Centre and her research topics include preformulation studies with a focus on characterisation of amorphous, polymorphic, salt and cocrystalline forms, supersaturable drug forms e.g. salts/cocrystals and amorphous materials and micro- and nano-particulate drug delivery systems containing small and large molecules (e.g. peptides).

Assoc. Prof. Martin Henman, BPharm, MA, PhD, MPSI., is Associate Professor of the Practice of Pharmacy and co-ordinator of the Centre for the Practice of Pharmacy in the School. He is examining medication use in TILDA - The Irish Longitudinal Study of Ageing and also medicines use and standards in people with intellectual disability. In 2006, he received a Provost’s Teaching Award for the excellence of his teaching and contribution to learning in Trinity College. Dr Henman is a founder member of the research group, Pharmaceutical Care Network Europe and is a consultant to the Council of Europe, identifying and developing indicators of pharmaceutical practice.

Assoc. Prof. Astrid Sasse is a certified pharmacist who obtained her PhD in Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Analysis from the Free University Berlin, Germany. She conducted post-doctoral studies funded by a Marie-Curie Fellowship (FP5) at INSERM in Paris, France on the identification of a human histamine H3 receptor subtype and genetic linkage of SNPs on histamine H3 and H4 receptors to schizophrenia. As a senior staff scientist at the Max-Planck Institute for Experimental Medicine in Goettingen, Germany she determined corticotropin-releasing factor receptor binding by ex vivo autoradiography, before joining the International Centre for Neurotherapeutics (ICNT) at DCU in 2004 where she was involved in the development of neurotoxins derived from botulinum toxin by protein engineering methods. In October 2008, she was appointed as Lecturer in Pharmaceutical Chemistry at the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at TCD. Dr. Sasse’s background provides her with expertise in many areas of Pharmaceutical Sciences, such as a vast knowledge of Organic Chemistry, Pharmaceutical Analysis, Spectroscopy (UV-VIS, FT-IT, NMR, EI-MS), Molecular Biology, Receptor Binding Studies, Functional Assays as well as Protein Engineering and Analysis.

Assoc. Prof. John J. Walsh has particular expertise in the areas of natural product biosynthesis, isolation and analysis of herbal medicinal preparations. He is also actively engaged in the design, synthesis, characterisation and evaluation of potential novel therapies for the treatment of malaria, cancer and allergic conditions. Funding for his research has been secured from Enterprise Ireland, Cancer Research Ireland, the Irish Research Council for Science Engineering and Technology and the Higher Education Authority. He has supervised multiple PhD and MSc students to completion and employs a multidisciplinary approach to his research and teaching straddling both the chemical and biological sciences.

Asst. Prof. Carlos Medina is a gastroenterologist and his research interest is focused on molecular biology of different gastrointestinal disorders, particularly inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). His primary research objective is the identification and characterisation of different molecular targets involved in IBD. The secondary research objective is to design new effective therapeutic strategies for IBD. He is also interested in novel nanoparticle-based drug delivery systems relevant to the therapy of IBD.

Assoc. Prof. Carsten Ehrhardt graduated with a degree in Pharmacy from the University of Hamburg, and he received his Ph.D. in Biopharmaceutics from Saarland University. He holds visiting professorships at the University of Southern California and the University Claude Bernard Lyon. His research investigates transport mechanisms at the respiratory epithelial barrier and also includes the development of advanced drug delivery systems for pulmonary administration.

Asst. Prof. Maria Santos-Martinez is a Spanish medical doctor, specialist in Respiratory Medicine. She started her training as basic researcher in Houston-Texas (USA) in 2004. In 2006 she moved to TCD and defended her PhD in 2009. She has been an Assistant Professor (Ussher) in Nanopharmaceutical Drug Discovery from 2010. Her research interests are focused on platelet biology, cancer, nanotoxicology (particularly on nanoparticle-cell and nanoparticle-platelet interactions) and applications of nanotechnology to study the interactions of nanoparticles developed for drug delivery with their targets and the potential barriers that they have to overcome to exert their action.

John Quigley BSc MA PhD DipCarmSp MICI, is an Assistant Professor in Pharmaceutical Chemistry. A Hugh Ryan medallist, he graduated with a BSc in Chemistry from the National University Ireland (NUI) and his doctoral in research involved theoretical studies of point defects in ionic crystals. He lectured in Quantum Mechanics at UCD and is currently teaching in Physical Pharmacy / Pharmaceutical Chemistry in TCD. John was nominated for the Provost Teaching Award in 2006/07. Interests include the derivation of electronic and lipophilic parameters, along with topological indices employed in structure/activity studies.